High-Value, Fragile & Perishable Items

If you’re traveling with high-value, fragile or perishable items, we recommend keeping them in carry-on bags or personal items instead of checked bags. These items count toward the amount of carry-on and checked bags you’re allowed to bring on board.

If you choose to pack high-value, fragile or perishable items in your checked bags or as checked bags for travel within the U.S., we’re not liable for the loss of, damage to or delay in delivery of such items. For most international travel, our liability for destruction, loss, delay or damage to checked and carry-on bags is limited.

Have other questions about checked bags or carry-on bags?

Examples of high-value, fragile or perishable items

This list includes example of some items considered high-value, fragile or perishable. However, these types of items aren’t limited to only what’s on this list.

    • Antiques, artifacts and heirlooms
    • Antlers
    • Art
    • Backpacks not designed for travel
    • Business equipment and samples
    • Cameras and other photographic equipment
    • Chinaware, glass, ceramics and pottery
    • Collectibles
    • Computer hardware and software
    • Drones
    • Electronics
    • Eyewear and other vision devices
    • Flowers and plants
    • Garment bags not designed for travel
    • Irreplaceable items
    • Jewelry
    • Keys
    • Liquids, including alcohol, perfumes, and Zamzam water
    • Medicines and medical equipment
    • Money, gift cards and gift certificates
    • Musical instruments
    • Natural fur products
    • Perishable items
    • Precious metals and stones
    • Religious items
    • Tools
    • Silverware, knives and swords
    • Sleeping bags and knapsacks
    • Watches

    High-value, fragile or perishable items can also include:

    • Items checked in sacks or paper and plastic bags that aren’t durable, don’t close securely or don’t provide enough protection
    • Items checked in cardboard boxes, including boxes we provide, except for items that otherwise would be suitable for transportation without the cardboard box
    • Items made of paper, including blueprints, maps, manuscripts, business documents, historical documents, photos, books, negotiable papers, securities and more
    • Any other valuable or irreplaceable items packed in your checked or carry-on bags with or without our knowledge

Other common items

Check the information below if you’re traveling with any of these items:

  • Each customer can travel with one set of antlers or animal horns. If you’re traveling between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we’ll charge $150 for each item. For all other travel, we’ll charge $200. This charge is on top of any charges for extra bags that may apply.

    We'll accept antler or animal horns if they meet the following conditions:

    • The size of the aircraft and load conditions allow them
    • The antlers are as free of residue as possible
    • You must wrap any skulls and properly protect the antler tips
    • The linear dimensions (total length + width + height) for the antlers can’t be more than 120 inches on United®-operated flights. On United Express®-operated flights, the linear dimensions can’t be more than 98 inches.
  • We accept automotive towbars inside your checked bags. You must package them to prevent damage to your bag and other bags.

    We won’t accept checked bags more than 70 pounds (32 kilograms) or 115 linear inches (292 centimeters) that contain towbars. Charges may apply for overweight and oversized bags containing towbars.

  • We want to make your travel as easy as possible if you’ve recently lost a loved one and understand it may be a sensitive time. If you're traveling with cremated human remains, we suggest that you transport them as a carry-on bag.

    For travel within the U.S., we highly recommend you travel with the right documents (such as a death certificate) to show TSA officers during your security screening. Please visit the TSA website for details on acceptable containers. For travel outside of the U.S., you should check with a local consulate or burial advisor beforehand.

    If you prefer to have the remains shipped, we offer TrustUA, a specialized service designed to assist with transporting human remains.

  • We want to make your travel as easy as possible if you’ve recently lost a pet and understand it may be a sensitive time. If you’re traveling with cremated pet remains, we recommend you transport them as a carry-on bag.

    Please visit the TSA website for more details on acceptable containers. The TSA recommends you buy a crematory container made of lightweight material, such as wood or plastic. If the TSA isn’t able to clearly tell what’s inside the container, they won’t allow it. Out of respect for your deceased pet, officers won’t open a container, even if you request it.

  • We do allow drones in checked bags if they’re packed securely. You can also bring a drone in your carry-on bag as long as the battery is no more than 160 watts.

  • Blue ice

    We’ll accept packages containing blue ice according to our general guidelines for bags.

    Dry ice

    We’ll accept packages containing 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms) or less of dry ice as a carry-on bag or checked bag. Please make sure the container or package has proper ventilation to allow the release of carbon dioxide gas. You must also mark the container or package as containing dry ice, show its net weight and identify the perishable item inside. We won’t accept Styrofoam coolers containing dry ice.

    For travel within the U.S. and between the U.S. and Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we’ll charge $150 each way for each item. For all other travel, we’ll charge $200.

    We won’t accept dry ice weighing more than 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms).

    Multiple customers can’t pool their portions together, even if they’re traveling together.

    Wet Ice

    Unfortunately, we can’t accept wet ice in checked or carry-on bags.

  • You can carry on alcoholic beverages in retail packaging.

    For alcoholic beverages less than 24% alcohol by volume

    There are no restrictions on the amount we can accept in checked bags or purchased after completing security screening at the airport, also known as “duty free.” This includes most wines and beers.

    For alcoholic beverages between 24 and 70% alcohol by volume

    We’ll accept up to 5 liters (1.3 gallons) in checked bags for each customer. We’ll also accept the same amount in carry-on bags for duty-free items. Packaging must be in containers smaller than 5 liters.

    For alcoholic beverages over 70% alcohol by volume

    We can’t accept alcoholic beverages consisting of more than 70% alcohol by volume.

    International travel

    If you’re traveling internationally, there may be limits on the alcoholic beverages you can bring into the country you’re visiting. Transporting alcoholic beverages may be subject to country regulations as well.

    If you’re flying to the U.S. and have a connecting flight, the TSA won’t allow duty-free liquids that meet U.S. requirements through security checkpoints. If you have a connecting flight, you must place liquid duty-free items into your checked bags. Since the TSA requires you to reclaim your checked bags before going through customs, you can place duty-free liquids into your bags and re-check them for your connection.

    Other information

    Make sure to pack all alcoholic beverages so they don’t break. We’re not liable for alcoholic beverages that break or spill.

    Normal limits and fees for checked bags and carry-on bags apply.

    You can take up to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) of an alcoholic beverage through the security checkpoint, provided it is less than 70 percent alcohol by volume, in a container that is 3.4 ounces or smaller and you carry it in a plastic zip-top bag.

    Note: You can’t drink the alcohol you bring on our aircraft.

  • Musical instruments can be carried on, checked, or travel as cabin-seat bags. Instruments should be kept in hard-shell cases for travel.

    Carrying on your instrument

    You can carry on a violin, guitar or other small instrument if it fits in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. If your musical instrument doesn't fit in the cabin, we'll check it for free.

    Checking your instrument

    You can check violins, guitars and other small instruments for free. If you're checking more than two items or your instrument is larger than a guitar or violin, charges may apply. If you're unsure about the size of your instrument, call us. When you check a stringed instrument remember to loosen the strings to protect it against changing temperatures.

    Cabin-seat bags

    If your instrument is too large for carry-on or too fragile to be checked, you can buy a seat on your flight for the instrument. See our cabin-seat bag page for more information.

    Basic Economy

    MileagePlus Premier® members, primary cardmembers of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or Star Alliance™ Gold members who buy a Basic Economy ticket can carry on one small musical instrument. Otherwise, if you’ve purchased a Basic Economy ticket, you can still carry on or check your instrument but fees will be applied.

  • All seafood shipments must be packed in a sealed plastic bag, placed in a plastic cooler or box, placed in a second heavy duty plastic bag and sealed. The inner bag must also be in a heavy-duty plastic bag.

    We can’t accept seafood if it’s packed in wet ice or in a Styrofoam container.

    If you bring seafood in addition to our normal allowance for checked bags, we’ll assess it and apply any charges for extra, overweight and oversized bags.

    Micronesia Perishable Acceptance

    All frozen and perishable shipments must be packed in a sealed plastic bag and placed in a plastic cooler or box, then placed in a second heavy duty plastic bag and sealed.

    • If the item is seafood, the inner bag must also be in a heavy duty plastic bag (seafood typically has spines and appendages that poke through thin plastic bags).
    • If foam coolers are used, they must be thick-wall foam and placed inside a strong cardboard box to prevent breakage. The inner and outer plastic bag requirements still apply.

    Micronesia policy prohibits the station from accepting any checked baggage that could harm or damage other baggage or cargo. It is the accepting agent’s responsibility to inspect the packing to ensure contents will not leak or spill. Heavy duty plastic bags are available to order from GUM.

  • We’ll accept one jerry can containing up to 10 liters (2.64 gallons) of Zamzam water as a checked bag at no extra charge.

    You must properly pack the jerry can in a plastic cover so it doesn’t leak or damage other bags.

    We can’t accept jerry cans containing Zamzam water as carry-on or in-cabin bags.

    If you check more than one jerry can, extra bag charges will apply to the additional jerry cans.