Federal law prohibits hazardous materials from being included in either checked or carry-on baggage. Items such as explosives, compressed gases, oxidizers, corrosives, flammable liquids and solids, loaded firearms, radioactive materials and poisons are considered hazardous.
Some common examples of prohibited items include paints, mace/tear gas, lighter fluid, oxygen bottles and fireworks.
Personal items such as deodorant, hairspray, nail polish, perfume and certain medicines are permitted in baggage in limited quantities. Items in carry-on baggage may not exceed three ounces per container in a clear, one-quart bag. Items in checked baggage may not exceed 16 ounces per container or 70 ounces total per passenger.
Avalanche packs are not permitted in carry-on or checked baggage.
AA-9V, AAA, C, D alkaline, carbon zinc, silver oxide and nickel metal hydride batteries are allowed in checked and carry-on baggage as long as they are packed to prevent short circuiting.
Personal devices (except for e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers) installed with a lithium battery of less than 100 watt hours are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage. Loose lithium batteries are not permitted in checked baggage on any United flight. Each spare lithium battery in carry-on baggage must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. To do this, you can place each battery in original retail packaging, place each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch, or insulate the batteries by taping over exposed terminals. Spare batteries must not come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys or jewelry, and you should take steps to prevent crushing, puncturing, or putting pressure on the battery.
In most cases, up to two larger lithium batteries (more than 100 watt hours, but not exceeding 160 watt hours) are permitted in carry-on baggage if the terminals are properly covered or insulated. If you are traveling with a battery-operated mobility device, please see our Special Travel Needs section.
If carry-on baggage is checked at the gate, any lithium batteries and power banks must be removed.
Please see the Recreational self-propelled vehicles, hoverboards and riding suitcases section below for the latest information.
See the Lighters, matches and e-cigarettes section below for information about e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers.
Traveling to or from Japan
The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) also has some additional restrictions on batteries and battery-operated items. For more information, see the MLIT website in English (PDF: 367 KB) or the MLIT website in Japanese (PDF 593 KB)
Camping equipment that contains fuel, such as camping stoves, is not permitted in checked or carry-on baggage due to residual fuel. See our Sports Equipment page for more information.
Mace and pepper sprays are not permitted in carry-on or checked baggage.
See our High-value, Fragile and Perishable Items page for more information about dry ice in baggage.
Liquid nitrogen is permitted in checked and carry-on baggage. However, it cannot be accompanied by an item that is considered a dangerous good, such as an infectious substance.
Fireworks, gunpowder, flares, flare guns and fireworks novelties such as holiday poppers or "Christmas crackers" are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage.
See our Sports Equipment page for more information about firearms in baggage.
Gasoline-powered tools and equipment, such as chainsaws and gas-powered weed cutters, are not allowed in baggage unless they are brand-new, the fuel source is removed or the fuel has been purged. If the fuel has been purged, the equipment must be accompanied by a letter from the company that purged the fuel.
Some household items are flammable or corrosive. Items such as bleach, drain cleaners, epoxy, fuel, gel fuel, glue, insecticides, certain kinds of paint, torch lighters, spray starch, strike-anywhere matches and certain aerosol items are not permitted in checked or carry-on baggage. Aerosol cans that contain personal grooming materials are permitted if they do not exceed 16 ounces per container in checked baggage or three ounces per container in carry-on baggage.
In the interest of safety for our customers and employees, we do not accept as checked or carry-on baggage any recreational self-propelled vehicle or device designed to carry one or more persons or goods, and which moves by use of a lithium battery-powered electric motor.
Such devices or vehicles include, but are not limited to:
- Smart balance wheels/boards such as Hoverboard, Airboard and Skateboard
- Self-balancing wheeled devices such as Ninebot
- Battery-assisted bicycles such as e-bikes
- Wheeled vehicles or motorcycles
- Electrically-powered scooters
- Riding, motorized suitcases
Effective January 15, 2018, if you plan to check a smart bag that has charging capabilities, you must place the lithium battery in your carry-on baggage. Smart bags that do not have a removable battery cannot travel on United flights.
United accepts one carbon dioxide (CO2) powered inflatable life jacket as checked or carry-on baggage. CO2 cartridges must be packed in checked baggage.
Life jacket restrictions:
- Up to two small non-flammable gas cylinders fitted into the life jacket and up to two small spare cartridges will be accepted.
- Flares and/or flare guns attached to the life jacket are strictly prohibited and must be removed or the life jacket will not be accepted.
If you have questions or concerns about a specific item, please contact United Cargo.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows common lighters in carry-on baggage. Torch lighters are banned from carry-on baggage. For more information, please visit SafeTravel.dot.gov.
Electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers are not 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.
Departing from Beijing, China
All matches and lighters are banned from checked and carry-on bags on flights departing from Beijing, China.
Departing from Japan
Customers departing from Japan are advised that traveling with a lighter is more restrictive in Japan. The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) restricts passengers to only carry one lighter when departing from Japan and oil lighters are banned. However, in Japan a lighter that features fuel absorbed as a sorbent is allowed. For more information, see the MLIT website in English (PDF: 367 KB) see the MLIT website in Japanese (PDF 593 KB).
See our Special Travel Needs section for more information about traveling with a mobility device.
Ready-to-eat meals (MREs) are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage due to the heat they generate.
Tanks under 450 PSI are not permitted in carry-on or checked baggage. Tanks that are 450 PSI and above are allowed in carry-on or checked baggage only if the regulator valve is completely disconnected and the tank is no longer sealed. If the tank is sealed, it is prohibited regardless of the reading on the pressure gauge indicator.
See our Sports Equipment page for more information about scuba equipment.
In the interest of safety for our customers and employees, we do not accept self-balancing, riding luggage as checked or carry-on baggage.
Shock absorbers may contain compressed gas or residual vapors or gasoline, and therefore are not permitted in checked or carry-on baggage.
The TSA allows stun guns in checked baggage if the power source is removed. Stun guns are banned from carry-on baggage.
Tasers are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage.