Carry-on bags

You can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item for free on most flights. But there are a few rules you’ll need to follow.

Size limits

Make sure your bags meet our size limits before you get to the airport.

Carry-on bags can be no larger than 9 in x 14 in x 22 in, or 22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm.

Carry-on bags

Your bag must fit in the overhead bin. When measuring your bag, be sure to include the handle and wheels.

Personal items can be no larger than 9 in x 10 in x 17 in, or 22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm.

Personal items

These items must fit under the seat in front of you. Common things include purses, backpacks and laptop bags.

If you’re at the airport and not sure if your bag is the right size, you can use our bag sizers to measure your bag.

Any bags in addition to your carry-on and personal item, or carry-on bags over the size limit, will need to be checked. If you do have to check bags you may have to pay a fee.

Traveler pro tips

You can bring a few items in addition to your carry-on bag and personal item for free.

  • Jacket or coat
  • Umbrella
  • Things to read
  • Food or other items bought at the airport

Traveler pro tips

You can bring a few items in addition to your carry-on bag and personal item for free.

Special items

Some items have a few extra rules for how they can be packed. We also always recommend checking with the TSA before packing anything you’re unsure of in your carry-on.

Basic Economy

For most trips you can only bring one personal item when you’re flying in Basic Economy. You can’t bring a carry-on bag unless you’re flying to South America, across the Atlantic or across the Pacific. All other bags have to be checked. Note, if you check a carry-on at your gate, you’ll be charged the standard bag fee plus an additional $25.

If you’re a MileagePlus members with Premier status, traveling with a Premier member, are the primary card member of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star Alliance Gold member you can bring one free carry-on bag.

Learn more

Gate-checked bags

Sometimes a plane is too small to fit carry-on bags or runs out of overhead space quickly. In these cases, your bag will be gate-checked for free. This happens most often on United Express® flights.

  • If you’re flying Air Wisconsin or CommutAir, you’re only allowed one personal item on the plane.
  • All other United Express carriers do allow carry-on bags but have limited space.

To find out if you’re flying on United Express, view your trip in My Trips. In each flight segment we’ll tell you if your flight is operated by another carrier.

You can pick up gate-checked bags for any flight when you leave the plane, rather than at baggage claim.