Bag FAQs

Checked bags

  • Yes, you can pay any checked bag service charges at curbside check-in by credit card.

  • When checking in on, you can input your credit card information to cover your service charges for checked bags. We’ll charge your card immediately for the number of bags you designate at the time you check in online. If required, you may change the number of checked bags at the airport; however, bag charges paid online won’t be refunded.

  • If you’re traveling with one of our partner airlines, including any Star Alliance™ members, the policies about checked bags will follow the rules determined by the originating marketing airline.

Special items

  • Yes, you can pack medical syringes into your carry-on bag. If you need to use your syringes during your flight, please ask a flight attendant to help you properly dispose of them so they won’t harm you, other customers or our employees.

  • Yes. Certain pieces of sports equipment have their own service charges. If a piece of sports equipment doesn’t have its own service charge, the service charges for first and second bags will apply. View our page about sports equipment for more information.

  • We’ll accept one wheelchair or other assistive device per customer at no additional charge in addition to the checked bag allowance.

  • We don’t accept Styrofoam coolers as checked bags. However, you can check perishable items packed in hard-sided ventilated coolers.

Issues with your bags

  • Don’t worry, we’ll make every effort to return lost items to you. Visit our page about lost items to find out what to do.

  • You should report all damaged items in person before leaving the airport. You should do so no later than 24 hours after arriving for flights within or between the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, or within seven days of arrival for all other international flights. Damaged items need to be presented for inspection at the airport where our personnel are responsible for the final resolution of your damage claim.

  • You should report bags that are missing or delayed before leaving the airport. You should do so no later than 24 hours after arriving on the flight with the damaged bag.

Limits and restrictions

  • For maximum weight and size restrictions, see our policy about checked bags and carry-on bags.

  • Limitations for carry-on bags are the same for international travel as they are for travel within the U.S. See our policy about carry-on bags.

  • If you’ve purchased a Basic Economy ticket for a trans-Atlantic flight operated by United or United Express®: You can follow our normal carry-on bag policy. However, you’ll have to pay for your first checked bag.

    For all other Basic Economy tickets: You’re allowed one small personal item that fits under the seat in front of you, such as a shoulder bag, purse or laptop bag. This item should measure 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 centimeters x 25 centimeters x 43 centimeters) or less. You can also bring any assistive devices free of charge. You’re not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you’re a MileagePlus Premier® member, primary cardmember of qualifying MileagePlus credit card or Star Alliance™ Gold member. If you bring a full-size carry-on bag to the gate, you'll need to check your bag. You'll also have to pay the applicable checked bag fee and a $25 gate handling charge. To keep it simple at the gate, you'll need to pay by credit card.

Overweight, oversized and extra bags

  • Customers who travel in United Economy with checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms) will be charged at a rate of up to $100 per bag or item depending on the destination.

    Bags weighing more than 70 pounds (32 kilograms) but less than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) will be charged at a rate up to $200 per bag, depending on the destination.

    These charges are in addition to any charge assessed for additional or oversized bags. We won’t accept checked bags weighing 100 pounds (45 kilograms) or more. Visit our page about checked bags for more information.

  • Customers who travel with checked bags measuring more than 62 linear inches (158 centimeters, total length + width + height) will be charged per bag depending on the destination.

    Use our baggage calculator to figure out any service charges for oversized bags. After you see your results, check the box for “Additional and other bag charges.”

    These service charges are in addition to any charge assessed for additional or overweight bags. We won’t accept checked bags measuring more than 115 inches (292 centimeters). Visit our page about checked bags for more information.

  • Based on the itinerary, we require customers to pay a service charge per checked bag or item if it meets the weight and size requirements.

    Use our baggage calculator to figure out any service charges for extra bags for your trip. After you see your results, check the box for “Additional and other bag charges.”

    If your bag is more than the weight and size requirements, you’ll also have to pay additional service charges. Visit our page about checked bags for more information.

Service charges

  • Yes. For example, we’ll charge a family of four traveling on the same reservation for each of their first bags checked, one each per person. We’ll assess each second bag per person for applicable second bag service charges.

  • Yes, this policy applies to all United Express flights.

  • If the trip begins on a United-marketed flight: Then checked bag service charges apply at any point where bags are checked.

    For a trip that includes one or more connections: We’ll check your bags to your final destination and apply the charge for checking a bag from your origin to your destination.

    For a trip that includes a voluntary stopover: We’ll check your bags to your stopover point, where you’ll collect your bags. When you resume travel, you can check your bags again, subject to applicable charges based on the origin and final destination indicated on the ticket.

    If your trip is marketed by an airline other than United: The other airline’s policies apply. We only check bags between the origin and destination stated on the ticket. If you have a separate ticket on another airline, you must claim your bags at the destination of the first ticketed itinerary and your check bags with the other airline to the final destination. You can check your bags through to the final destination if the separate ticketed itinerary includes a flight operated by a Star Alliance member airline.

  • No. When traveling with a child, you may check one stroller and one car seat free of charge.

  • You’re eligible for a refund for checked bag service charges when you involuntarily do not travel. You may request your refund by email, phone or regular mail. Visit our page about refunds for more details.

  • Whether you pay to check your bag depends on what your seat assignment was at the time you dropped off your bags. If you’re confirmed in United Economy at the time you check your bags, then we would charge you to check your bags. If you change from United Economy to a premium cabin before you check your bags, then you won’t have to pay. There’s no refund if you pay to check your bags while in United Economy and later move to a premium cabin.

  • The policy for checked bags doesn’t impact the carry-on policy. All customers, except those traveling on a Basic Economy ticket, are still allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item. Visit our pages about carry-on bags and Basic Economy for more information.

  • Qualifying MileagePlus cardmembers are eligible to receive waived service charges for up to two standard checked bags for the primary cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation. See the baggage calculator for specific service charge waivers.

    To receive this benefit, the primary cardmember must include their MileagePlus number in the reservation and use a qualifying card to purchase the ticket(s). The card must also be valid at check-in. Cardmember exemptions are valid only on flights operated by United or United Express. See complete details.

  • If you don’t have Premier status and you use miles for travel in United Economy, service charges for checked bags will apply. If you’re using miles for premium cabin travel, you’ll be exempt from these charges.

Other common questions

  • Do I need to be concerned about embargoes for excess bags?

    During certain times of the year, we have embargoes on checking extra bags and boxes to Latin America. Go to our page about embargoes for excess bags to see if this affects your trip.

  • I'm going to Disney World! Can you send my bags from the airport to my resort?

    Disney vacation packages at select Disney resorts include bag delivery directly from Orlando to the resort. If your travel is eligible, you’ll receive a bar-coded Disney bag tag from your vacation package provider.