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Checked baggage

We have revised some of our checked baggage policies for travel worldwide. For the latest checked baggage updates, please review all relevant baggage pages before you travel.
Updated: September 18, 2014

Checked baggage service charges may apply for the first two pieces of checked baggage with a maximum weight of 50 pounds (23 kg) per bag and a maximum exterior linear dimension of 62 inches (158 cm) per bag.* Use our baggage calculator to determine the checked baggage service charges for your itinerary. If your itinerary begins with a codeshare flight or with another airline as the marketing carrier, the allowance and charges may differ.

Additional checked bags or any bags that exceed these allowable weights and dimensions are subject to applicable excess, oversized and/or overweight baggage service charges. If you plan to check additional baggage, or baggage that is over the specified size or weight limits, please review the Excess Baggage policy.

Certain customers are exempt from paying checked baggage service charges for one or more bags within specified size and weight limits. Customers traveling with MileagePlus Premier members or dependents traveling with active U.S. military personnel will have the same exemption as the customer whose status provides for the benefit, as long as they are traveling in the same reservation. This exemption will not apply to group reservations including 10 or more customers or when the flight is not operated by United or United Express®. Select the appropriate cabin and status in our baggage calculator to show the checked baggage service charges for your itinerary.

The following size and weight limits apply to checked baggage, based on the fare purchased or the customer's status:

Cabin or status
Max. weight per bag
(to avoid overweight charges)
Max. size per bag
(to avoid oversized charges)
• United Economy®
50 lbs.
(23 kg)
62 linear inches
(158 linear cm)*
• Premier® Silver
• United Business®
• United BusinessFirst®
• United First®
• United Global FirstSM
70 lbs.
(32 kg)
• Premier Gold
• Premier Platinum
• Premier 1K®
• Global ServicesSM
• Star Alliance Gold (traveling in First, Business or BusinessFirst)**
• Active U.S. military and accompanied dependents on personal travel**
• Active U.S. military personnel on orders, and military personnel/dependents on orders for relocation
115 linear inches
(292 linear cm)*
*linear measurement = length + width + height
**applies only to flights operated by United or United Express

Important information regarding checked baggage

Preparing to check your baggage

  • United recommends that you carry valuable items such as electronic equipment, cameras, film, cash, jewelry, medication, prescriptions and keys with you onboard the aircraft.
  • Place your name and address on the outside of your baggage. Nametags are available at all airport baggage check-in locations. We also recommend that you place your name and address inside the bag.
  • Be aware of items that are restricted from checked baggage. If you are not sure, review the list of permitted and prohibited items shown on the Transportation Security Administration website.
  • All checked baggage is screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Please refrain from locking your checked baggage, or use a TSA Accepted & Recognized Lock. The TSA is mandated by federal law to screen 100% of checked baggage. If the contents of your baggage require closer inspection by TSA agents, unrecognized locks may be broken to gain access. The TSA will not reimburse passengers for unrecognized locks broken as a result of the security screening process. For more information about the TSA, visit www.tsa.gov.
  • Please remove any straps, hangers and protruding objects from each bag before checking it. These could get caught in the baggage system and cause damage to your bag.
  • Bags that are bulging or are not sufficiently constructed to support the weight inside may split during the trip through the system of conveyor belts.
  • Baggage is loaded into the cargo compartment of the aircraft. Due to the size of the compartment, bags may have to be placed flat and stacked on top of each other. Although the baggage compartments are secured with nets or straps, bags can shift during flight due to the plane's angle during take-off. As a result, breakage or damage to fragile items may be unavoidable. We strongly recommend that you do not pack fragile items inside your checked baggage.
  • Allow enough time for your checked baggage to be accepted. See our Airport Processing Times page for details. For flights within the U.S., as well as most international flights, baggage will generally not be accepted for check-in more than four hours before scheduled flight departure, although this policy varies by airport and based on daily check-in counter hours.

At the airport

  • Be sure to inform us of your final destination if you are connecting, so your baggage can be checked through if possible.
  • Baggage will be checked to a customer's final destination or to a permissible stopover for the purchased fare, except at some international destinations. Please see our baggage check-in page for more information. If you are deviating from your ticketed itinerary, please advise the airport agent or skycap before checking your luggage.
  • You will receive a numbered claim check for each bag that is checked. Please make sure that the number of claim checks you are given corresponds to the number of bags you are checking. It is important that you keep the claim check(s) until your trip is completed and you have received all of your checked baggage.
  • Please claim your baggage immediately upon arrival at your destination.