United Airlines Baggage Policy

According to United Airlines baggage policy, your baggage allowance on most fares is 2 cabin baggage items and several checked baggage items—depending on your fare type and destination. 

United Airlines Baggage Allowance—Carry-on Baggage 

Carry-on Bag (1)Personal Item (1)

Max Size 56cm x 35cm x 22cm (22in x 14in x 9in)Max Size 43cm x 25cm x 22 cm                           (17in x 10in x 9in) 

Carry-on Size Restrictions 

The carry-on baggage policy at United Airlines allows most travellers to bring 1 full-sized carry-on bag and 1 personal item for free. However, passengers travelling on a Basic Economy fare can bring only 1 personal item on board for free (except on transatlantic trips). 

The carry-on baggage rules on flights operated by United’s partners and codeshare flights may be different, so do check with the airlines before travelling if your itinerary includes a flight with them.

  •   Carry-on Bag— 1 
    • Max Size (incl. handle, pockets, and wheels): 56cm x 35cm x 22cm
      (22in x 14in x 9in) (height x width x depth) 
    • The bag must fit in the overhead bin
    • Chargeable for Basic Economy passengers except: 
      • On trans-Atlantic flights to/from the United States, Central America, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, and South America.
      • For MileagePlus Premier members and companions travelling on the same booking.
      • Primary cardmembers of qualifying MileagePlus cards and Star Alliance Gold members.
  • Personal Item—1
    • Max Size (incl. handle, pockets, and wheels): 43cm x 25cm x 22 cm
      17in x 10in x 9in (height x width x depth) 
  • The personal item must fit under your front seat.

Other Items You’re Permitted to Carry on Board


In addition to the carry-on items mentioned above, United Airlines baggage policy allows all passengers to bring the following articles free of charge:

  • An umbrella 
  • A jacket
  • Reading material
  • Food or airport purchases 
  • Assistive devices
    (cane, crutches, collapsible wheelchair, prescription medication devices, portable oxygen concentrator, etc.) 
  • Child restraint system/safety seat (FAA-approved)
  • Diaper bag
  • Breast pump
  • Camera
  • Pet carrier (subject to charges)

Important

  • Basic Economy passengers can carry only 1 personal item, except on trans-Atlantic flights.
  • You will have to pay extra if your carry-on bag exceeds the permissible dimensions.

Checked Baggage Allowance

Per United Airlines checked baggage policy, your checked baggage allowance (i.e., the weight and size of your bags) will depend on which class you’re traveling on. Checked bags must not be more than 50lb/23kg for Economy and Premium Economy fares; and not more than 70lb/32kg for Business and First-Class fares. The maximum linear dimensions must not be more than 158cm/62in. 

United Airlines Allowance (Checked Baggage) by Travel Class
Service ClassMax. BagsMax. Weight/BagMax. Size/Bag
(length + width + height)
Economy50lb/23kg 62in/157cm 
Premium Economy50lb/23kg62in/157cm 
Business 70lb/32kg62in/157cm 
First70lbs/32kg62in/157cm 
MileagePlus StatusPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1KStar Alliance Gold70lbs/32kg62in/157cm 

Note

  • Handles and wheels count toward the size of a bag.
  • Oversized and overweight bags will be charged extra.
  • If you’re carrying fragile items, buy a ticket to carry onboard. 
  • Use the free baggage calculator if you aren’t sure. 

United Airlines Baggage Fees 

If you’re flying within North America on an Economy Class fare and you purchase your checked baggage online more than 24 hours prior to departure, you will typically pay USD 30 and USD 40 for your first and second bag respectively. However, if you pay at the airport, the fee goes up by USD 5, which means you will have to pay USD 35 and USD 40 for the first and second bag. If you’re travelling between USA and Mexico, the second bag will cost you USD 55. 

Passengers travelling on Premium Economy, Business, and First-Class fares can check in up to 2 bags for free. The maximum weight limit for Premium Economy fares is 23kg/50lb per bag and 32kg/70lb per bag for in Business and First-Class fares. The details are explained below.

United Airline Baggage Fees by Travel Class
Between Economy
(Basic, Plus, Full)
Premium EconomyBusinessFirst
USA and Canada/Caribbean excl. Cuba/Central America*Bag #1: USD 30
Bag #2: USD 40
Bag #3+: USD 150
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 150
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 150
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 150
USA and MexicoBag #1: USD 30
Bag #2: USD 55
Bag #3+: USD 180
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 180
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 180
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 180
USA and CubaBag #1: USD 30
Bag #2: USD 100
Bag #3+: USD 500
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 500
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 500
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 500
USA and Australia/New Zealand/East AsiaBag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
(New Zealand: USD 100)
Bag #3+: USD 200
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 200
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 200
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 200
USA and South AmericaBag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE (Colombia: USD 100; Ecuador: USD 40)
Bag #3+: USD 150
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 150
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 150
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 150
USA and India/Middle East/EuropeBag #1: FREE (Basic Economy: LUSD 60)
Bag #2: USD 100
Bag #3+: USD 200
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 200
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 200
Bag #1: FREE
Bag #2: FREE
Bag #3+: USD 200
The free baggage allowance for active-duty U.S. military personnel and their dependents is: 5 FREE checked bags (70lb/32kg, 254cm/100in) on official business.3 FREE checked bags (70lb/32kg, 157cm/62in) on personal travel. Dependents are entitled to the same baggage allowance if they’re travelling on the same booking unless the active-duty military personnel are travelling ahead on official orders. If the dependents are travelling for personal business, the standard baggage allowance and fees will apply, depending on the ticket purchased by them. 
* Exception: For Guatemala and El Salvador: Bag #2 will cost USD 100.Bag #3+ will cost USD 300 for Guatemala and USD 500 for El Salvador.

Excess Baggage Fee on United Airlines

Per United Airlines baggage policy, you will be charged for excess baggage on your United Airlines reservation if:

  • You’re carrying more bags than you’re permitted. 
  • Your bags exceed the maximum permissible weight or linear dimensions.

The excess baggage fees will depend on where and how you’re traveling. Typically, the charges are as follows:

  • Overweight Bags
    • For Economy Class passengers, overweight bags weighing between 51 – 70lb (23 – 32kg) will typically cost USD 100 – 400 per bag, depending on your destination.
    • Overweight bags weighing between 70 – 100lb (32 – 45kg) can cost between USD 200 – 600 per bag, depending on your destination.
  • Oversized Bags
    • Oversized bags measuring between 63 – 115in in linear dimensions will be charged USD 200 – 400 per bag, depending on your destination.

To know the exact excess baggage amount, use the baggage calculator. After viewing your results, check the box for ‘Additional and other bag charges’. 

Note
According to United Airlines baggage policy: 

  • Oversized bags, i.e., bags larger than 292cm/115in will not be accepted.
  • Overweight bags, i.e., bags heavier than 100lbs/45kg will not be accepted, except:
    • Musical instruments weighing up to 165lbs/75kg.
    • All assistive devices.

Free Baggage Allowance for MileagePlus Members

United Airlines Baggage Allowance for MileagePlus Members
Travel Class and Route Premier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1K
United BusinessUnited FirstUnited Polaris
3 bags x 70lb/32kg per bag
Economy Class To/from USA and: Continental USAHawaiiAlaskaMexicoCanadaCentral America The Caribbean1 bag x 70lb/32kg per bag2 bags x 70lb/32kg per bag3 bags x 70lb/32kg per bag
Economy Class To/from USA and:South AmericaEuropeAustraliaNew ZealandAsiaAfrica The Middle East2 bags x 70lb/32kg per bag3 bags x 70lb/32kg per bag
Economy Class All other destinations incl. within Micronesia and Asia Standard baggage allowance PLUS 1 bag x 70lb/32kg  
Passengers travelling on the same booking as MileagePlus Premier members are entitled to the same exemptions as the member.
Star Alliance Gold members are entitled to:The first checked bag free (50lb/23kg) on domestic flights.2-3 free checked bags (50lb/23kg) on international flights.

United Airlines Sports Equipment Policy

United Airlines baggage policy for sports equipment allows you to carry your sports equipment:

  • Free
    • As cabin baggage, if it fits in your hand baggage
    • As checked baggage, if it:
      • Fits into your checked baggage
      • Is suitably packed
      • Is not restricted
  • For a Fee
    • If you’ve already used up your allowance

Note. Up to 3 rebreather tanks or 1 dive tank must be checked as special items for a one-way fee of USD 150 between USA, Canada, the U.S.V.I. and Puerto Rico, and USD 200 on international routes. However, kayaks and canoes will not be accepted as checked baggage.

Sports equipment you’re allowed carry—subject to restrictions—include: 

  • Golf equipment
  • Bicycles 
  • Tennis equipment
  • Windsurfing equipment
  • Camping equipment
  • Bowling equipment
  • Baseball equipment
  • Wave ski
  • Surfboards, wakeboards and paddleboards
  • Ski and snowboard equipment
  • Boogie/skim/speed boards
  • Skating equipment
  • Scuba gear
  • Pool cues
  • Pole vaulting equipment
  • Parachutes and parasails
  • Paintball equipment
  • Oars
  • Life jackets
  • Kiteboards
  • Kayaks or canoes
  • Javelins
  • Hockey or lacrosse equipment
  • Hang gliding equipment
  • Gymnastic equipment
  • Fishing equipment
  • Firearms
  • Fencing and kendo equipment
  • Archery equipment

To see the current packing regulations and fees, visit the sports equipment page. 

CPAP Devices

United Airlines baggage policy allows you to carry FAA-compliant CPAP devices, respirators, and ventilators on board with proper documentation. If you’re carrying such a device, you will need to contact United’s accessibility desk at 1-800-228-2744 at least 48 hours before departure. 

As in-seat power may not be available on all aircraft, make sure you’re carrying fully-charged batteries— with at least 3 hours of extra time for delays and disruptions. 

How to Pay Your Baggage Fees on United Airlines

You can prepay your baggage fee:

  • Online—at least 24 hours before the flight (to save money) 
  • At the time of checking in at the airport (by credit card)
  • At the curb side (by credit card)

How to Prepay Your Baggage Fees Online 

To prepay your baggage fees online, you will have to retrieve your flight and follow the prompts to pay your baggage fees as explained.


An illustration of the My trips tab on United Airlines’ website

  1. Go United.com
  2. From the top pane, select My trips 
  3. Enter your confirmation number and last name, and click on Search 
  4. Select your flight, add the bags, and pay
Note. If you’re adding bags during the check-in window, retrieve your flight from the Check-in tab (instead of My trips).

You can also pay purchase your baggage via the mobile app

United Airlines Musical Instruments Policy

United Airlines baggage policy for musical instruments allows you to carry small and large musical instruments—subject to the following conditions:

  • Small musical instruments like violins can be taken as carry-on baggage:
    • In the overhead bin as carry-on baggage. 
    • Under your front seat as a personal item.
  • Large musical instruments weighing up to 165lbs/75kg are allowed as checked baggage—subject to applicable fees.
  • All musical instruments must be properly packed in a hard case.
  • Overweight and oversized musical instruments will be charged extra per baggage rules.

Note. If you’re traveling on a Basic Economy fare, you’ll need to carry your musical instrument in place of the personal item you’re permitted to carry. If it cannot be stored in the cabin, you’ll need to check it for a USD 25 fee (or more if it’s overweight and/or oversized).

What to do if Items are Missing from Your Checked Baggage

You can make a claim for the following items:

  • Damaged checked baggage
  • Damage to checked baggage contents
  • Missing contents from checked baggage
  • Missing baggage for 7 days, or up to 21 days if the luggage was delayed

If you discover any missing items from your checked baggage:

  • For domestic flights
    • Report your missing items to the airport Baggage Service Office immediately after arrival, or 
    • Call the Baggage Service Center at +1-844-902-2949 within 24 hours after arrival
  • For international flights (outside the U.S. and Canada)
    • Report your missing items to the airport Baggage Service Office immediately after arrival, or  
    • Call 1-281-821-3526 
    • Report in writing within 7 days after arrival 

Download the Claim Form

How to Report Damage to a Bag or Contents

  • If you’re at the airport
    • Report to the airport Baggage Service Office (near the baggage claim area).
      A United Airline representative will: 
      • Examine the damage 
      • Provide you with a file number
      • Ask you to complete the damaged baggage claim form (if required)
  • If you’ve left the airport 
    • For flights to/from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To be eligible for repair or replacement, you must report—within 24 hours and in person—your damaged bag to the airport Baggage Service Office.
    • For all international flights. To be eligible for repair or replacement, you must report within 7 days—in writing or in person—your damaged bag to the airport Baggage Service Office.

Helpful Links 

  • File a damaged bag claim
  • Check the status of your damaged bag

Banned and Restricted Items

The following items are banned on all United Airlines reservations:

  • Camping equipment containing fuel 
  • Self-balancing or self-riding bags 
  • Defence sprays (mace, pepper, tear gas, etc.)
  • Explosives (fireworks, flares, gunpowder, etc.)
  • Ready-to-eat meals (MREs) with flameless heaters
  • Smart bags with fixed batteries
  • Shock absorbers 
  • Tasers

Dangerous Items with Some Restrictions 

The following items have some restrictions. They must not exceed 100ml (3.4 ounces), and must be packed in a clear bag. If you’re placing the items in your checked bag, the container size must not exceed 16 ounces— or a total of 70 ounces per passenger.

  • Hairspray
  • Deodorants
  • Nail polish
  • Perfumes
  • Certain medicines

Other items with restrictions include:

  • Stun guns
  • Smart bags
  • Scuba tanks
  • Self-propelled recreational vehicles, riding suitcases, and hoverboards
  • Mobility devices
  • Lighters, matches and e-cigarettes
  • Life jackets
  • Household items
  • Gasoline-powered tools and equipment
  • Firearms
  • Dry shippers and liquid nitrogen
  • Dry ice
  • Batteries
  • Avalanche packs

Liquids, Creams, Aerosols, and Powders

If you’re traveling with liquids, creams, aerosols, and powders, remember the following:

  • If you’re departing from U.S. airports, the individual container size of toiletries with liquids, creams, or aerosols must not exceed 3.4 ounces.
  • Hand sanitizers up to 12 ounces are permitted in carry-on bags—but will need to be screened separately (and takes additional time).
  • Toiletries must be in transparent and sealable quart-sized bags.
  • Toiletries and beverages purchased after airport security checkpoints will be permitted onboard in most cases. 
  • Items like baby foods, juice, milk, and medications beyond 3.4 ounces may be permitted but must be declared to the TSA at the checkpoint. 

For more information, visit this page. 

Frequently Asked Questions on United Airlines Baggage Policy 

United Airlines baggage policy allows all passengers to carry 1 personal item onboard free of charge, provided it fits under your front seat. Personal items can include small backpacks, briefcases, and purses that are not more than 43cm x 25cm x 22cm (17in x 10in x 9in) in size.

Other than Basic Economy passengers, all passengers can bring 1 carry-on bag onboard free of charge. Carry-on bags must fit in the overhead bin, and must not be larger than 56cm x 35cm x 22cm (22in x 14in x 9in). 

If you’re travelling on a Basic Economy fare and bring a carry-on bag, you’ll be charged the applicable checked baggage fee plus a service fee of USD 25. However, this will not apply on trans-Atlantic flights, provided that they are operated by United Airlines or United Express. On such flights, your baggage allowance is the same as that for Standard Economy fares, so you’re allowed to bring a personal item and a carry-on bag like others. 

If you’re a MileagePlus member, a Star Alliance Gold member, or a primary cardmember of a credit card that qualifies for MileagePlus credit, you’re allowed to bring a personal item and a carry-on bag even if you’re holding a Basic Economy ticket. 

United Airlines baggage policy for Economy Class (normal) fares allows you to carry the following items free of cost: 

  • 1 FREE carry-on bag (except Basic Economy) 
  • 1 FREE personal item
  • Checked baggage (subject to applicable fee) 

Overweight and oversized bags will incur extra charges, depending on your route. Some sports equipment can be carried free, while others will incur additional charges. 

United Airlines checked baggage policy allows you to carry:

  • 2 standard checked bags, subject to a fee for Economy Class fares (on select routes).
  • The maximum weight for Economy Class fares must not exceed 50lb/23kg per bag, and 70lb/32kg per bag for Business and First-Class fares. 
  • The maximum dimensions of a checked bag must not exceed 157cm/62in in combined linear dimensions. 

United Airlines international baggage policy for flights to/from the United States are typically USD 0 for the first bag and USD 100 for the second bag. The checked baggage fee for Basic Economy tickets is USD 60 for the first bag and USD 100 USD for the second bag on transatlantic flights. On some routes, you’re allowed 2 checked bags as standard baggage allowance. To know the exact baggage fee, check out the free Baggage Calculator on United’s website. 

United Airlines domestic baggage policy for standard checked baggage for flights within the United States is USD 30 for the first bag, USD 40 for the second bag, and USD 150 for the third bag—if you pay online at least 24 hours before departure. However, if you pay at the airport, it will cost you USD 5 extra per bag.

United Airlines military baggage policy applies to active-duty U.S. military personnel and their dependents (if they’re travelling on the same booking). 

The free baggage allowance for eligible members is 5 FREE checked bags (70lb/32kg, 254cm/100in) on official business travel, and 3 FREE checked bags (70lb/32kg, 157cm/62in) on personal travel

Dependents travelling on personal work are not entitled any extra baggage allowance. Their baggage allowance will depend on the ticket purchased by them.

United Airlines hand baggage policy allows all passengers (except Basic Economy) to bring 1 personal item (small backpack, laptop bag, briefcase, or purse) and 1 carry-on bag free of cost. 

The size of your carry-on bag must not be more than 56cm x 36cm x 23cm (22in x 14in x 9in), incl. wheels and handles, and it must fit in the overhead bin or under your front seat. 

The size of your personal item must not exceed 41cm x 28cm x 20cm (16in x 11in x 8in), incl. wheels and handles, and it must fit under your front seat or in the overhead bin. The following items do not count toward your hand baggage allowance: an umbrella, jacket, diaper bag, and assistive devices. 

Under United Airlines Basic Economy baggage policy, passengers travelling on a Basic Economy fare are allowed to bring only 1 personal item on board, such as a purse, small backpack, or small briefcase. The checked baggage allowance is free on select routes but subject to a fee on other routes. 

For example, United Airlines baggage policy for Basic Economy fares entitles you to a free checked baggage allowance on select routes, such as those between: 

  • USA and Australia/New Zealand/East Asia—2 FREE checked bags
    • Exception: Second checked bag—USD 100 for New Zealand
  • USA and South America—2 FREE checked bags
    • Exception: Second checked bag—USD 100 for Colombia, USD 40 for Ecuador

On other routes, United Airlines baggage policy for Basic Economy fares requires you to pay a fee of USD 30 – 60 for the first checked bag and USD 40 – 100 for the second checked bag. 

United Airlines First Class baggage policy entitles First Class passengers to a free baggage allowance of: 

  • 1 free personal carry-on item measuring up to 43cm x 25cm x 22 cm
  • 1 free carry-on bag measuring up to 56cm x 35cm x 22cm
  • 2 free checked bags weighing up to 70lb/32kg each and measuring up to 157cm/62in

The baggage size allowed on United Airlines is as follows:

  • The maximum size of the personal carry-on item must not exceed 43cm x 25cm x 22cm.
  • The maximum size of the free carry-on bag must not exceed 56cm x 35cm x 22cm.
  • The maximum linear dimensions of the checked bag must not exceed 157cm/62in.

United Airlines does not specify a weight limit for carry-on baggage. However, the size limits must be adhered to.  

United Airlines international Economy baggage allowance is as follows:

  • USA and Canada/Caribbean (excl. Cuba)/Central America Nil, must be purchased
  • USA and Mexico Nil, must be purchased
  • USA and Cuba Nil, must be purchased
  • USA and Australia/New Zealand/East Asia 2 FREE bags x 50lb/23kg each
    Exception: New Zealand: USD 100 for the second bag
  • USA and South America 2 FREE bags x 50lb/23kg each
    Exception: Columbia: USD 100 for the second bag; Ecuador: USD 40 for the second bag.
  • USA and India/Middle East/Europe 1 FREE bag x 50lb/23kg
    Exception: Basic Economy: USD 60

United Airlines standard baggage allowance is as follows:

  • Standard carry-on baggage allowance 
    • All classes 1 FREE personal carry-on item (43cm x 25cm x 22cm)
      1 FREE carry-on bag (56cm x 35cm x 22cm)
  • Standard checked baggage allowance
    • Economy 1 bag x 50lb/23kg
    • Premium Economy 2 bags x 50lb/23kg 
    • Business 2 bags x 70lb/32kg
    • First 2 bags x 70lb/32kg
    • MileagePlus Status 2 bags x 70lb/32kg
    • Premier Silver 2 bags x 70lb/32kg
    • Premier Gold 2 bags x 70lb/32kg
    • Premier Platinum 2 bags x 70lb/32kg
    • Premier 1K 2 bags x 70lb/32kg
    • Star Alliance Gold 2 bags x 70lb/32kg

If your baggage or its contents have been damaged, you should do the following.

  • If you’re at the airport
    • Report to the airport Baggage Service Office (near the baggage claim area).
      A United Airline representative will: 
      • Examine the damage 
      • Provide you with a file number
      • Ask you to complete damaged baggage claim form (if required)
  • If you’ve left the airport 
    • For flights to/from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To be eligible repair or replacement, you must report your damaged bag in person at the airport Baggage Service Office within 24 hours after your flight arrives.
    • For all international flights. To be eligible for repair or replacement, you must report your damaged bag in writing or in person at the airport Baggage Service Office within 7 days after your flight arrives.

You should also consider filing a  damaged bag claim.

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