What to expect when you fly

Travel looks different than it used to. This is why we’ve created processes and features to help you navigate the airport and your trip in a post-pandemic world.

Planning your tripPlanning your trip

  1. Download the app to have some of our best features and services at your fingertips.
  2. View travel requirements for your destination in the Travel-Ready Center.
  3. Pay for your bags in advance and sign up for bag delivery.
  4. Set up contactless payments for inflight purchases in advance.
  5. Let us know if you have any special requests, like kosher meals or wheelchair services.

In the lobbyIn the lobby

  1. View the terminal guide in our app so you enter the airport close to your gate.
  2. Check in your bag at the kiosk. Then, drop it off with an agent at the bag drop counter. To save time at the airport, use bag drop shortcut. Check a bag during check-in on united.com or the United app. Then, drop your bag in the bag drop shortcut area at the airport. An agent will tag your bag and quickly have you on your way.
  3. Get TSA PreCheck® to move through airport security faster.

At the gateAt the gate

  1. Scan your own boarding pass during boarding.
  2. Use the app to connect with an agent via phone, chat or video if you have any questions.
  3. Wait for your flight at a United Club with a membership or one-time pass.

On the planeOn the plane

  1. Board after we make sure the plane is cleaned and meets CDC guidelines.
  2. Receive a hand sanitizer wipe during boarding.
  3. Connect to our Wi-Fi network to use free messaging or buy Wi-Fi for your flight.
  4. Use contactless payments to buy snacks and drinks.
  5. Watch movies and TV shows, or play games, on our app.
  6. Receive items like pillows, blankets and headphones upon request.

Upon arrivalUpon arrival

  1. Check bag tracking using the app to see where your bags are.
  2. Use our terminal guide to find your connection or baggage claim.

Travel FAQ

You can wear a mask if you choose, but they're no longer required on domestic flights. If you're flying internationally, whether a mask is required depends on the arrival country's mask requirements.

If you're flying to a country that still has a mask mandate, you can be considered for an exemption if you have a disability or medical condition. Here's how it works:

  1. After booking your ticket, submit a mask exemption request form at least 7 days before your trip starts to maskexception@united.com.
  2. We'll review your form and let you know if you qualify per CDC, DOT and TSA standards.
  3. If you do qualify, you'll need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of your flight. You'll also need to provide a second negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of your return flight.
  4. After receiving your negative test, we'll give you a letter of approval for your mask exemption. You'll need to print and carry this letter with you during your trip.

You may be asked to move seats or change your itinerary as part of your mask exemption. These changes will be made for you for free. You'll need to submit a new mask exemption form each time you travel.

If you're flying on a partner airline, we recommend you review their travel guidelines before your flight. You should also check travel requirements for your destination and make sure no travel alerts are in effect that could impact your trip.

At check-in you'll be asked to provide your contact info to help with contact tracing. Sharing this information is optional.

We may share your contact tracing information with the CDC through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Information is shared this way because it's faster than sharing it with the CDC directly. The CDC will make your information available to local health departments so they can contact you regarding exposure to COVID-19.

Read the CDC and CBP privacy statements to find out how they use your data.

It depends on your destination's entry requirements. Some destinations require vaccination, some request a negative test and some require both.

If you've tested positive for COVID-19, we recommend you follow CDC guidelines.

If you have the United app, you can contact us at any time via chat, phone, or video chat. If an agent isn't available right away, you'll be added to a queue. We'll use your preferred contact method to get in touch once someone is available.

The main difference between the two is length of time. A layover is generally the amount of time an airline gives you to transfer to your next flight. While a stopover is over 24 hours. Stopovers can last several days and could be used to spend time in another location before continuing your journey. Some airlines offer stopover programs so you can explore hub cities without extra fees.