Aircraft seating FAQs

Selecting or changing a seat

  • For all fare classes, except Basic Economy, you will be able to pick your seat or change your seat assignment. If you have a Basic Economy ticket, you’re able to purchase a seat assignment during booking and up until check-in opens. Learn more about Basic Economy restrictions.

  • You can choose a seat or change your seat assignment for most United- and United Express®-operated flights on, on the United app or through your travel agent. If no seat assignments are available, you can check back closer to departure to see whether seats have become available. Learn more about seating options.

    You can also ask a United representative at the gate about changing your seat or buying Economy Plus® seating, if available and if you haven’t bought a Basic Economy ticket. It’s sometimes possible to change seats once you’re on board the aircraft, but please don’t change seats without asking a flight attendant first.

  • You can choose your seat when you’re buying most tickets, through Manage Reservations after you’ve purchased your ticket, or during check-in.

  • With Basic Economy, you’ll automatically be assigned a seat before boarding, and you won’t be able to change your seat once it’s assigned. Advance seat assignments may be available for purchase during booking and up until check-in opens.

  • Seat assignments, no matter the fare class you purchased, aren’t guaranteed and could change without notice because of schedule changes, equipment swaps or other unforeseen circumstances.

    We’ll always try to assign you the same or similar seat type and location and keep you with your traveling companions when you are booked in the same reservation, unless you have purchased a Basic Economy ticket without purchasing advance seat assignments. We know that your seat assignment is important, so we’ll do our best to keep your original seat preference.

    Your seat assignment could be canceled if you don’t check in within the time limit. Check-in times are based on security requirements and vary depending on where you’re traveling. Please see the Check-in and Airport Processing Times page for more details.

  • We may briefly hold some seats for operational reasons, and don’t allow seat selection or changes for Basic Economy tickets. If you’re unable to choose a seat, we will assign you one at check-in or at the departure gate.

  • If you’re traveling with a companion on the same reservation and you aren’t seated together, you can sometimes change your seats on the Manage Reservations page. Customers who have purchased Basic Economy and are traveling in a group won’t be able to sit together unless advance seat assignments are purchased and seats are available. If you’re traveling with a child under 12, we have new tools that make it easier for them to sit next to a family member for free.

    If you’re traveling with a companion on a separate reservation and you’re not seated together, check the seat map within Manage Reservations to view available seats. It isn’t possible to link reservations together, so you’ll need to assign each seat separately. Keep in mind that if there’s a schedule change or aircraft swap, we may not be able to reseat customers on separate reservations together.

  • We assign seats in the premium cabin based on availability and confirmation priority. If you’re automatically upgraded, we’ll assign you the closest available seat to the front of the cabin. However, you can request a seat change and we’ll accommodate your request when possible. Tickets containing Basic Economy fares are not eligible for upgrades.

  • You can find information on seat size, pitch, legroom and aircraft configuration on our Aircraft page as well as learn more about the type of aircraft.

Special seating needs

  • Certain seats are made available to travelers with a disability. Our Seating Accommodations page has more information about requesting special accommodations.

  • If you’re unable to safely and comfortably fit in one seat with the armrests down for the whole flight, please see our Customers Requiring Extra Seating page for information.

    You can also buy an extra seat for a musical instrument or a fragile item. Please see our Cabin-seat Baggage page for more information.

    To buy an extra seat, call the United Customer Contact Center.

  • Please see our Travel for Animals section for information about traveling with a pet in the cabin or using our PetSafe® program to ship pets that aren’t able to travel in-cabin.

  • Please see our Traveling with Children page for information about options for traveling with a baby.

  • Children ages 2 and older need a purchased ticket and must be in their own seat at take-off and landing, and whenever the seat belt sign is on. Only when a child is unable to sit independently are they allowed to sit in the lap of a parent or guardian (who must be age 18 or older). Please see our Traveling with Children page for more information, including details about child restraint systems and child safety seats.

  • Please see our Unaccompanied Minors page.

  • If you’re flying with children under 12, we have new tools that make it easier for them to sit next to a family member for free. This includes families who have Basic Economy tickets. If seats next to each other aren’t available on your flight because of last minute bookings or unscheduled aircraft changes, you can switch to another flight with availability in the same cabin for free and won’t be charged for the difference in fare.

Additional seating options

  • Learn about Economy Plus seating, which offers extra legroom.

  • Bulkhead seating rows have a fixed wall directly in front of them. When a bulkhead seat is in an exit row, the exit row policy applies (see below). Because of the fixed wall, there won’t be underseat storage in front of you. Bulkhead seating is offered as Economy Plus seating.

  • If you want to sit in an exit row, you’ll have to meet some governmental requirements: You must be 15 years of age or older, be willing to help in an evacuation, and have no limitations that would prevent you from helping. Before you can travel in exit row seats, we will determine if you are able to assist in an emergency. For this reason, we may withhold exit row seats until the day of departure. However, if there are exit row seats located in Economy Plus, they may be available for purchase.

Seat amenities

  • Will my seat have power outlets and Wi-Fi?

    Power outlets and Wi-Fi are available on certain aircraft. To find out if your upcoming flight is equipped with these amenities, search for your flight on the Flight Status and Information page within 72 hours of your departure and check the Inflight Amenities tab. Keep in mind that if there is an aircraft change, the amenities available on your flight may change.

  • Can I recline my seat?

    Most seats onboard United and United Express flights recline. If you recline your seat, please recline slowly as a courtesy to the passenger behind you.

    Please note: United strictly prohibits the modification or use of any object or device to alter or limit the functionality, permanently or temporarily, of any aircraft structure, seat assembly, tray table, etc. If you see a customer using any such device or object, please inform United personnel immediately.

Additional policies

  • What if my United ticket includes a flight on another airline?

    If your United ticket includes a flight on another airline, we may not be able to show you a seat map or let you choose a seat before check-in, because different airlines use different reservations systems that may not share certain functions or information. Depending on the other airline, we may be able to request a seat or seat type (window or aisle) for you. If we can’t pre-assign your seat, you will receive a seat at check-in or at the other airline’s departure gate.

    In these cases, the other airline will likely be unable to assign a seat for you in advance if you ticketed your reservation with United. You can visit the other airline’s website for aircraft information, and if you have a confirmation number from the other airline, you may be able to view or request seat assignments. Please note that seat assignment policies vary by carrier.

  • I was notified that I have a new seat because of an aircraft swap. What does that mean?

    Occasionally we need to use an aircraft with a different seating arrangement than originally planned. When this happens, we’ll do our best to keep you in the same or a similar type of seat, as well as keep you seated next to others in your reservation if possible. You can view seating options and change your seat through Manage Reservations or during check-in. Please keep your flight notification settings up to date so we can reach you with updates as needed.