Aircraft seating FAQs

Selecting or changing a seat

  • For all fare classes, except Basic Economy, you will be able to select a complimentary seat or change your seat assignment. With a Basic Economy ticket, advance seat assignments may be available for purchase during booking and up until check-in opens. Learn more about Basic Economy restrictions.

  • You may select 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, check back closer to departure, as seats may become available. Learn more about seating options.

    You may also ask a United representative at the gate about changing your seat or purchasing Economy Plus® seating, if available and if you have not purchased a Basic Economy ticket. It is 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 may select your seat when purchasing most tickets, through Manage Reservations after you've purchased your ticket or during check-in.

  • With Basic Economy, a complimentary seat will be automatically assigned to you prior to 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, regardless of the fare class you purchased, are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice due to a schedule change, equipment change or other unforeseen circumstances.

    We will always attempt to assign the same or similar seat type and location and keep traveling companions together when they are booked in the same reservation, unless you have purchased a Basic Economy ticket without purchasing advance seat assignments. We understand that your seat assignment is important, so we'll make every effort to keep your original seat preference.

    Your seat assignment is subject to cancellation if you do not check in within the time limit. Check-in times are based on security requirements and vary depending on where you are traveling. Please see the Check-in and Airport Processing Times page.

  • We may briefly hold some seats for operational reasons, and do not allow complimentary seat selection or changes for Basic Economy tickets. If you are unable to select a seat, we will assign you one at check-in or at the departure gate.

  • If you are traveling with a companion on the same reservation and you are not 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, including familes, will not be able to sit together unless advance seat assignments are purchased and seats are available.

    If you are traveling with a companion on a separate reservation and you are not seated together, check the seat map within Manage Reservations to view available seats. It is not possible to link reservations together, so you will need to assign each seat separately. Please note that in the event of a schedule change or aircraft swap, we may not be able to re-seat customers on separate reservations together.

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

  • For information on seat size, pitch, legroom and aircraft configuration, please visit our Aircraft page and click on the type of aircraft indicated for your flight.

Special seating needs

  • Certain seats are made available to travelers with a disability. Please see our Seating Accommodations page for information about how to request special accommodations.

  • If you are not able to safely and comfortably fit in one seat with the armrests down for the entirety of the flight, please see our Customers Requiring Extra Seating page for information.

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

    To purchase 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 are not eligible to travel in-cabin.

  • Please see our Traveling with Children page for information about options for traveling with an infant.

  • Children ages 2 and older are required to have a purchased ticket and must be in their own seat at take-off and landing, and whenever the seat belt sign is illuminated. 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 additional information, including details about child restraint systems and child safety seats.

  • Please see our Children Traveling Alone section for information.

Additional seating options

  • Learn about Economy Plus seating, which offers up to 5 inches of 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). Due to the fixed wall, there will not be under-seat storage in front of you. Bulkhead seating is offered as Economy Plus seating.

  • The government requires any passengers seated in an exit row to be 15 years of age or older, be willing to assist in an evacuation and have no limitations that would prohibit their assistance. Before allowing passengers to travel in exit row seats, United must determine if they are able to take all required actions in the event of 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 select aircraft. To determine 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. Please note that if there is a change of aircraft, the amenities available on your flight may change.

  • Can I recline my seat?

    Most seats onboard United and United Express flights recline. Seats that have limited recline are noted on the seat map in the booking path and Reservations section of and the United app. 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 select 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 cannot 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 not be able 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 received a notification that I have a new seat due to 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. To ensure that we can reach you with updates such as seating changes, keep your flight notification settings up to date.