Electronic device policies

Notice about Apple MacBook Pro laptops

Apple has recalled some of its MacBook Pro Retina display 15-inch laptops manufactured between September 2015 and February 2017 that have defective batteries. If your MacBook Pro has a defective battery, your laptop will need to be turned off and unplugged during your flight.

Portable electronic devices

Travelers may use small, lightweight portable electronic devices (as specified below) in non-cellular or "airplane" mode on United-operated flights. Cellular service must always be turned off prior to departure. Flight attendants will announce when devices may be used in flight, with general guidelines as follows:

  • Within the U.S. (including U.S. territories), travelers may use permitted small, lightweight portable electronic devices in non-cellular transmitting mode at all times.
  • Between the U.S. and an international location, travelers may use permitted devices except when departing from or arriving into the international location, unless flight attendants have announced that permitted devices can be used throughout the flight.
  • Outside of the U.S., permitted devices may only be used above 10,000 feet, unless flight attendants have announced that permitted devices can be used throughout the flight.

Certain electronic devices could cause minor interference with aircraft navigational instruments. Therefore, the crew may ask travelers to completely turn off all devices in certain situations. All devices must be turned off and stowed during emergency preparations.

Travelers may turn on and use cellular service only when the main cabin door is open or when instructed by a flight attendant. Pagers may be used to receive messages at any time.

If your phone, tablet or other personal electronic device gets lodged or misplaced within the seat assembly or aircraft structure and you can't easily reach it, please follow these steps to ensure your safety and the safe recovery of your device:

  • Inform the inflight crew immediately.
  • Don't try to alter the seat assembly or aircraft structure. If you are seated in a lie-flat seat, don't attempt to operate the electronic controls. A member of the inflight crew will assist you.
  • Visit united.com/lob and complete the Lost Items form.

Devices that are permitted for use:

  • electronic games
  • personal computers (May only be used above 10,000 feet)
  • entertainment players
  • recorders (audio and/or video, such as tape/CD/MiniDisc/MP3 players and camcorders)
  • calculators
  • shavers (in lavatories only)
  • cameras
  • aircraft power ports for laptops (May only be used above 10,000 feet)

Please note that the maximum voltage allowed in inflight power outlets is 50-75 volt-amperes.

As a courtesy to other travelers, please use headphones when listening to any device.

Devices that are NOT permitted for use:

  • powered air purifying respirators (PAPR devices; battery-operated and plug-in)
  • electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers
  • personal humidifiers (battery-operated and plug-in)
  • heating devices, such as blow dryers, bottle warmers and curling irons
  • TVs
  • radio receivers and transmitters
  • remote-control toys

Travelers are allowed to use headsets during taxi, takeoff and landing on aircraft that are equipped with seatback DIRECTV® and seatback on-demand entertainment.

Travelers may always use any medically prescribed, physiological instrument, such as a hearing aid or a pacemaker. Please see the Special Travel Needs section for information on other medical assistive devices.

Portable electronic device policy FAQ

  • Small, lightweight devices must be held in the passenger's hands, placed in the seat back pocket or stowed. Larger electronic devices, like laptops, must still be stored securely in an overhead bin or another approved stowage area during takeoff and landing.

  • The captain may request that all devices be fully turned off in certain circumstances, such as when there is poor visibility during landing. Please always listen to and follow crewmember instructions.

  • No. The policy only applies to United-operated flights.

  • No. The policy does not apply to laptops or DVD players, which may only be used when announced by your flight crew.

  • Our aircraft equipped with satellite Wi-Fi are currently configured to only allow Wi-Fi above 10,000 feet. However, we are exploring options to provide gate-to-gate Wi-Fi in the future.

Portable electronic devices may also be transported in checked baggage, but it is recommended to keep them in your carry-on bags. If the device contains a lithium ion battery, it cannot exceed 100 watt hours. Lithium metal batteries cannot exceed 2g. All devices must be protected from accidental activation and completely shut down and not in hibernate or sleep modes.

All loose or spare batteries must be transported in carry-on baggage.

Photo and video

The use of small cameras or mobile devices for photography and video is permitted on board, provided you limit the purpose of your photography and video to capturing personal events. Any photographing or recording that creates a safety or security risk or that interferes with crew members’ duties is prohibited.

Battery-powered hand tools

United will accept battery-powered hand tools. Batteries do not have to be removed from the tool as long as there is a means to prevent accidental activation.

Battery-operated tools with a lithium ion battery are only accepted if the battery does not exceed 100 watt hours. For information on transporting spare lithium batteries, see the Batteries section of the Dangerous Goods page. You can also find more information on the DOT's website and the FAA's website.

For prohibited items when traveling from the EU, see the Prohibited articles under EU Regulation 2015/1998.

Electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers

Electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers will not be accepted in checked or gate-checked baggage. These items may be stowed in carry-on baggage or on your person during travel, however, the use and charging of e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers is prohibited onboard all United flights and in United ClubSM locations.


In the interest of safety for our customers and employees, we do not accept hoverboards as checked or carry-on baggage.