About to fly with United Airlines? The airline has a fairly standard baggage allowance policy in general. However, their baggage policy is similar to other top U.S airlines. Each travel class also has its benefits and restrictions on baggage allowance.
This article will guide you through everything about the baggage allowances, costs, limitations, and charges on United Airlines.
Carry-on Baggage on United Airlines
Most passengers can bring a carry-on, a personal item, and other special items on board. However, there are certain exceptions.
The dimensions for each carry-on should not be above 22 x 35 x 56 centimeters (9 x 14 x 22 inches). This measurement includes the bag handles and wheels. Also, the carry-on must enter inside the overhead cabin.
A personal item, like a purse, handbag, or laptop bag, is meant to fit under the seat in your front. Also, the dimensions should not be above 22 x 25 x 43 centimeters (9 x 10 x 17 inches).
Other special items allowed on board include:
- A diaper bag.
- An umbrella.
- A jacket.
- Reading material.
- A camera.
- Devices for mobility (like crutches, foldable wheelchairs, canes, a medical device for prescription medications, or a sizable oxygen concentrator).
- Child safety seat (FAA-approved).
- A breast pump.
- Food/snacks/goods bought at the airport.
- A pet carrier (onboard pets incur charges).
Passengers flying basic economy class are exempted from the above carry-on policy. A basic economy boarding pass allows only one personal item onboard.
If you report at the airport gate with a full-sized carry-on, you must check it. Also, it will incur a $25 gate handling fee with the relevant checked bag price. Credit cards are accepted at the gate to simplify the payment process.
However, travellers flying basic economy class where any of the following applies are not among the exceptions:
- Passengers travelling on trans-Atlantic flights between the United States, Mexico, and Central America, including El Salvador, Panama, and South America, are exempted.
- Passengers travelling on trans-Pacific flights to or from the United States are exempted.
- Guests or Members of MileagePlus® Premier® travelling on the same booking.
Checked Baggage on United Airlines
United Airlines permits two standard checked baggage for each passenger. The total dimensions (Length + Width + Height), plus handles and wheels, of each checked baggage, must not be above 158 cm (62 inches), while the weight limit depends on your travel class and MileagePlus Premier® status.
|Travel Class||Maximum Weight|
|United Economy® (basic, standard)||Fifty pounds (23 kg).|
|Business-class First-class United Polaris® business class||Seventy pounds (32 kg).|
|MileagePlus Status||Maximum Weight|
|Premier Platinum Premier Gold class Premier Silver Premier 1K®||Seventy pounds (32 kg).|
|Star Alliance™ Gold||Seventy pounds (32 kg) for Business class. Fifty pounds (23 kg) for Economy class.|
United Airlines Baggage Fees
The US-based airline has established a user-friendly baggage fee calculator. You can retrieve your booked flight’s checked baggage service charges by entering your MileagePlus sign-in details.
Alternatively, you may enter initial and final flights destinations, travel dates, cabins, and membership statuses to browse various flights’ baggage fees. The calculator also determines the cost of extra, oversized, and overweight baggage depending on your flight route and travel class.
How To Check in Your Baggage
Before you travel on United Airlines, you can pay for your checked bags in two ways. The first option is to pay online for your checked bags at least 24 hours ahead of your flight. This option offers discounts on certain routes.
The second option is to pay for your checked bags while checking in for your flight on united.com. Enter your credit card information during the check-in process to get charged directly from your card for the number of bags you specified when you checked in online.
Note that your checked baggage will be nonrefundable if you pay for them during online check-in.
Prepaid Checked Bags
On United® and United Express® flights, you can conveniently pay for your checked baggage in advance via the website. Additionally, you get discounts on certain destinations when you prepay.
When you arrive at the airport, you can print your bag labels at a United kiosk when you arrive at the airport, attach them to your bags, and then leave them with an official at the bag drop station. This prepayment option makes the check-in procedure easier.
Meanwhile, special items and oversized and overweight checked baggage are unavailable for prepayment. Also, ensure that you pay at least 24 hours ahead of your flight to receive any discount.
Steps to prepay checked baggage:
- Visit united.com and input your confirmation number.
- Choose the “Prepay bags” option.
- Fill in your information and go review all the data.
- Choose “Continue to payment.”
When travelling on United® and United Express® flights, you and up to eight guests travelling on the same booking can individually check up to two bags for free. Starting price of a basic subscription is $349.
However, this subscription does not cover checking more than two standard bags or waiving oversized or overweight baggage costs.
Steps to pay for your baggage subscription:
- Select the number of passengers who will benefit from the subscription.
- Select the number of bags (one standard bag or two for each passenger).
- Select the country/region where your subscription would be valid.
- Purchase your subscription.
Extra, Oversized, And Overweight Checked Baggage
United Airlines charges separately for extra, oversized, and overweight checked baggage. All three charges are summed up in instances where an extra bag is oversized and overweight. For specific applicable fees per flight route, check the baggage fee calculator.
Extra baggage involves three or more bags and incurs extra charges. Extra baggage is only accepted when there is enough accommodation on the plane. However, assistive gadgets are freely accepted.
Checked baggage with linear dimensions between 158 – 292 centimetres (62 – 115 inches) is considered oversized. These bags are charged depending on the travel route. Meanwhile bags with total dimensions (length + width + height) above 292 centimeters (115 inches) are not allowed .
Bags weighing between 70 to 100 pounds (32 – 45 kg) are considered overweight and incur extra charges. Passengers travelling in United Economy with checked baggage weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kg) will be charged up to $200 each, depending on the destination.
Meanwhile, bags weighing between 70 pounds (32 kg) and 100 pounds (45 kg) incur up to $400 each, depending on the flight route.
The airline does not permit baggage weighing more than 100 pounds (45 kg). On the other hand, musical instruments and assistive gadgets are exceptions. Musical instruments with weights up to 165 lbs (75 kg), while all assistive gadgets will be accepted.
These fees are in addition to any extra or oversized bag fees that may be levied.
Passengers Exempted from United Airlines Baggage Fees
Some passengers are exempt from paying certain service fees for checked baggage. This exception applies only to flights operated by United or United Express® when you check your baggage via United Airlines. If you qualify for multiple exemptions, the larger one will take precedence.
Members and dependents of the U.S. military force
The benefits tabled below apply only to baggage checked via United Airlines on flights operated by United and United Express.
|Type Of Trip||Travel Class||Number Of Complimentary Checked Bags Allowed||Maximum Size||Maximum Weight (for each bag)|
|Military member (Personal travel)||All classes||Three bags||158 cm (62 inches)||32 kg (70 lbs)|
|Military dependent (on travel orders)||All classes||Two bags||158 cm (62 inches)||32 kg (70 lbs)|
|Military member (on official business)||All classes||Five bags||292 cm (115 inches)||45 kg (100 lbs)|
The same exemptions apply to dependents of active U.S. military members as they do to the service member whose status gives the benefit. However, these exceptions apply if they are flying with the booking.
Although, dependents can travel alone when travelling under government orders. Dependents who travel independently without proof of military orders are subject to the standard allowance and fees.
Passengers with MileagePlus Premier membership
Premier members and their travel guests can check bags for free.
|Travel Class and route||Premier Silver||Premier Gold||Premier Platinum||Premier 1K|
|The economy class between the U.S. and: Alaska Canada Continental U.S. Hawaii Mexico Central America Caribbean||One bag of 70 pounds (32 kg)||Two bags Seventy pounds (32 kg) per bag.||Three bags Seventy pounds (32 kg) per bag.||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag.|
|The economy class between the U.S. and: Asia South America New Zealand Australia Europe Africa Middle East||Two bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag.||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag.||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag.||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag.|
|All premium travel class||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag||Three bags 32 kg (70 lbs) per bag|
Note that this baggage allowance is subject to change without notice.
United Airlines Baggage Fee Refund
Baggage fee refunds will be made depending on satisfactory proof of claim. Asides from wheelchairs and other assistive devices, United’s refund for any damage resulting from loss, damage, or late delivery of a customer’s personal property is limited to the fair market value at the time of loss, damage, or delay and will not be above 3,800.00 USD/CAD for each passenger travelling within or between the United States, the U.S Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Also, United’s refund is limited to about 9.07 USD/CAD for each pound up to 640.00 USD/CAD for each checked baggage and 400.00 USD/CAD per passenger for unchecked baggage flying international routes that Warsaw Convention applies (including domestic parts of international routes).
Furthermore, the responsibility of United Airlines for checked and unchecked baggage is restricted to 1,288 SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) per passenger for international travel covered by the Montreal Convention (including domestic sections of international routes).
Visit the refunds page, input, and submit your details to seek a refund.
Other Special Items
Other special items include sports equipment, fragile/perishable goods, wheelchairs, protective bags, electronic devices, dangerous products, children’s items, and remains.
Sports equipment is considered checked baggage as long as you pack them in appropriate containers within your checked bag allowance’s size and weight constraints. Standard costs for oversized and overweight baggage will apply to oversized and overweight sports equipment.
Fragile/perishable goods should be inside carry-on bags.
Various types of wheelchairs like foldable, non-foldable, manual, or powered are permitted on United Airlines for free. However, powered wheelchairs require a notice of 48 hours, and passengers should be at the airport earlier than the scheduled flight time.
Some goods are considered harmful at 35,000 ft. These include:
- Containers with fuels
- Defensive sprays
Visit the airline’s webpage for more details on dangerous products.
Commonly Asked Questions
- What limits apply for carry-on baggage on United international flights?
International flights have the same carry-on baggage policy as domestic flights. Passengers are permitted a carry-on, a personal item, and a special item except for passengers flying basic economy class, where only one personal item is allowed.
- Who is exempted from United baggage charges?
Dependents and members of the U.S military travelling in any class are permitted up to 5 complimentary bags while travelling on United/ United Express. Also, passengers with MileagePlus Premier membership are allowed up to 3 bags.
- Are medical syringes allowed on United Airlines?
Yes. Medical syringes are considered special items and can be brought on board. Ensure you seek the assistance of a flight attendant for proper disposal after usage.
- What is limited for checked baggage on United Airlines?
Checked baggage should not be above 58 cm (62 inches) in linear dimension (length + width + height), while the weight limit depends on your travel class and MileagePlus Premier membership.
However, baggage weighing over 45 kg (100 pounds) is not permitted on United Airlines.