United AirlinesA Star Alliance Member
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Travel information > Baggage information > Carry-on baggage

Carry-on baggage

As your departure date approaches, you may be thinking about what to pack and whether or not to check a bag. Take a minute to review our carry-on guidelines so you know before you go, and your trip gets off to a smooth start. Please note that there are additional carry-on guidelines for United Express® flights.

Each traveler can bring on board one carry-on bag plus one personal item free of charge. To ensure a smooth boarding experience, it's important to make sure that these items will fit into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

Carry-on bag

The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels.

Personal item

The maximum dimensions for your personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item, are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm).


To determine if a bag will fit onboard, bag sizers will be available in the airport lobby. Once at the gate, any item in excess of the carry-on baggage size or allowance requirements will be checked to your final destination and may be subject to applicable service charges.

Carry-on items that are acceptable to transport in the cabin but are fragile or bulky will be considered cabin-seat baggage. Customers can purchase a ticket for a cabin-seat baggage item so that it may be carried on board and transported in a seat.

The following items are allowed and do not count toward your one bag and one personal item limit:

  • Jacket or umbrella
  • Reading material
  • Pet carrier (service charges apply)
  • FAA-approved child restraint seat
  • Diaper bag
  • Food or merchandise purchased in the airport
  • Assistive devices (collapsible wheelchair, cane, one set of crutches, medical devices needed to administer prescription medications, portable oxygen concentrator, etc.)

Musical instruments as carry-on

As part of the allowance of one carry-on plus one personal item, a passenger may carry a violin, guitar or other small musical instrument onboard the aircraft as carry-on baggage if:

  • The instrument can be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of the passenger; and
  • There is space for stowage at the time when the passenger boards the aircraft


Musical instruments transported onboard United and United Express aircraft must be in hard-shell cases.

Liquids, gels and aerosols

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows each traveler to carry on liquids, gels and aerosols in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 mL) or less, inside a single quart-size (liter-size) clear, sealable bag.​

As of January 31, 2014, passengers traveling internationally into the U.S. and connecting to another flight are allowed to have in their carry-on baggage liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces (100 mL) that were purchased as duty-free merchandise. This only applies to products purchased in duty-free stores, placed in an intact designated secure, tamper-evident bag, and successfully screened and cleared by TSA officers. Scanning may not be effective for liquids in opaque, ceramic, or metallic bottles, or other containers. Liquids that cannot be screened and cleared will not be allowed to remain in carry-on baggage. Customers may choose to place these items into checked baggage or throw them away.

For more details about liquids in carry-on and for other carry-on baggage rules relating to TSA screenings, visit our TSA Security Checkpoint Guidelines page.

Carry-on baggage on United Express flights
United Express flights are served by regional partner carriers using smaller aircraft than United's mainline fleet. Aircraft in the United Express fleet generally have less room in the overhead bins for carry-on baggage, and in most cases roller bags and other larger carry-on items will not fit in United Express overhead bins. As a result, customers may need to gate-check roller bags and other large carry-on items before boarding.

Gate agents will provide green tags for these items, and baggage handlers will take them during boarding to load them into the baggage hold. Travelers can pick up their green-tagged baggage planeside upon arrival rather than going to baggage claim. Customers traveling on EMB170, EMB175 or CRJ-700 aircraft may be able to bring roller bags and larger carry-on items on board, as these aircraft offer more overhead bin space.

When traveling on a United Express flight, please make sure to place any medications or other items that you might need on board in a smaller carry-on bag, so you can keep them with you during your flight. Personal vaporizers and e-cigarettes should also be packed in your smaller carry-on bag, as they are not permitted in checked or gate-checked bags.

As on mainline flights, any item larger than the allowed carry-on size or exceeding the one carry-on and one personal item limit will be white-tagged and checked to your final destination. Baggage service charges may apply if the item is checked and tagged at the ticket check-in counter. White-tagged items must be picked up at baggage claim.

Learn more about carry-on bags at UnitedHub.com