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Check-in and airport processing times

When preparing and packing for your trip, it’s a good idea to think about how much time you’ll need at the airport. Processing times may vary depending on where and when you’re traveling (and may also be affected by things like peak business travel hours, spring break season, winter holidays, major sporting events, etc.), so please plan accordingly. For more typical off-peak travel times, you can use the following general guidelines.

When traveling fully within the U.S., which includes Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands:

  • If you're not checking luggage, plan to arrive at the airport at least 60 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.
  • If you are checking luggage, plan to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.

When traveling internationally:

  • If you're not checking luggage, plan to arrive at the airport at least 180 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.
  • If you are checking luggage, plan to arrive at the airport at least 180 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time.

Also, to prevent delays at the security checkpoint, make sure that your carry-on baggage meets United and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements. Visit the TSA website for details regarding current security measures. When traveling from non-U.S. locations, additional or different security measures may be in place than what is outlined on the TSA website.

Payment transactions at airports

The United check-in counters and kiosks at some of the airports we serve do not accept cash as a form of payment. For more information, visit the Accepted Forms of Payment page.

Check-in guidelines

The times below apply to flights operated by United and United Express®. For flights operated by another carrier, including our codeshare partners, the applicable check-in time limit for that carrier's flight will apply.

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.

United has the right to cancel reservations, deny boarding and refuse the acceptance of checked baggage of any customer who does not meet the applicable check-in time limit, as noted below.

Check-in is available starting 24 hours prior to scheduled departure. Check in now

Minimum check-in and boarding requirements for flights fully within the U.S., which includes Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Without checked baggage:

The minimum check-in time requirement for customers without checked baggage is 30 minutes prior to departure, except for Guam, where the requirement is 60 minutes.

With checked baggage:

For all airports within the U.S. and Puerto Rico, the minimum check-in time requirement for customers with checked baggage is 30 minutes prior to departure, with the exceptions noted in the chart below.

Please note that check-in and baggage check must be completed by the specified number of minutes before scheduled departure, but we recommend allowing additional time.

Check-in and boarding requirements for flights within the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands
Departure Airport Baggage check-in completed
(number of minutes before departure)
Anchorage, AK (ANC) 45 minutes
Atlanta, GA (ATL) 45 minutes
Austin, TX (AUS) 45 minutes
Chicago, IL (ORD) 45 minutes
Cincinnati, OH (CVG) 45 minutes
Cleveland, OH (CLE) 45 minutes
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) 45 minutes
Dallas, TX – Love Field (DAL) 45 minutes
Denver, CO (DEN) 45 minutes
Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) 45 minutes
Greenville-Spartanburg, SC (GSP) 45 minutes
Guam (GUM) 60 minutes
Honolulu, HI (HNL) 45 minutes
Houston, TX (IAH) 45 minutes
Indianapolis, IN (IND) 45 minutes
Jacksonville, FL (JAX) 45 minutes
Kona, HI (KOA) 45 minutes
Las Vegas, NV (LAS) 45 minutes
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) 45 minutes
Maui, HI (OGG) 45 minutes
Miami, FL (MIA) 45 minutes
New York, NY (JFK) 45 minutes
Newark, NJ (EWR) 45 minutes
Orange County, CA (SNA) 45 minutes
Orlando, FL (MCO) 45 minutes
Philadelphia, PA (PHL) 45 minutes
Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 45 minutes
Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) 45 minutes
Reno, NV (RNO) 45 minutes
San Diego, CA (SAN) 45 minutes
San Francisco, CA (SFO) 45 minutes
San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) 45 minutes
Seattle, WA (SEA) 45 minutes
St. Louis, MO (STL) 45 minutes
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT) 60 minutes
Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL (TPA) 45 minutes
Washington, D.C. – Dulles (IAD) 45 minutes
Washington, D.C. – National (DCA) 45 minutes
All other airports within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 30 minutes

Boarding ends 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time for flights within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Boarding ends 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time for flights out of Guam.

Minimum check-in and boarding requirements for international flights

For international flights, customers and their bags must meet the check-in and boarding requirements below. Please note that check-in and baggage check must be completed by the specified number of minutes before scheduled departure, but we recommend allowing additional time.

Check-in and boarding requirements for international flights
Departure airport Baggage check-in completed
(number of minutes before departure)
Boarding ends
(number of minutes before departure)
Caracas, Venezuela (CCS) 90 minutes 60 minutes
Dublin, Ireland (DUB) 75 minutes 30 minutes
Koror, Palau (ROR) 60 minutes 30 minutes
Kosrae, Federated State of Micronesia (KSA) 90 minutes 60 minutes
Kwajalein, Marshall Islands (KWA) 90 minutes 60 minutes
Lagos, Nigeria (LOS) 90 minutes 60 minutes
Lima, Peru (LIM) 75 minutes 30 minutes
Majuro, Marshall Islands (MAJ) 90 minutes 60 minutes
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (PNI) 90 minutes 60 minutes
Truk, Federated States of Micronesia (TKK) 90 minutes 60 minutes
Yap, Federates States of Micronesia (YAP) 90 minutes 60 minutes
All other non-U.S. airports 60 minutes 30 minutes

Processing times

As a result of heightened security measures at airports within the U.S., we suggest that customers arrive at the airport early. Some local airport authorities have instituted additional measures beyond the mandatory security measures specified by the TSA. All vehicles approaching the airports are subject to search on the approaching roadways and within the traffic lanes at the terminals. This may add to your airport processing times, especially at major airports.

The metal detectors at most airports are very sensitive. To ensure a seamless security process, we suggest placing all metal items, including jewelry, in your carry-on luggage before arriving at the security checkpoint. In most cases, shoes should be removed and placed in the bins provided at the checkpoint.

Please allow for additional time if you are departing during peak traffic hours. Heavy travel volumes on Sunday afternoons, Friday afternoons and Monday mornings may require an additional half hour. Peak traffic hours at most airports are:

  • 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

The approximate airport processing time for most cities and regions outside the U.S. is three hours.