What to expect when you fly

What to expect when you fly

What to expect when you fly

We know travel looks a little different these days, but rest assured that we’re here for you every step of the way. Throughout your journey, we’re putting safety and cleanliness at the forefront of your travel experience through our United CleanPlus℠ program and by teaming up with Clorox. We’re also working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing safety measures.

 

We know travel looks a little different these days, but rest assured that we’re here for you every step of the way. Throughout your journey, we’re putting safety and cleanliness at the forefront of your travel experience through our United CleanPlus℠ program and by teaming up with Clorox. We’re also working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing safety measures.

How we take care of you throughout your travels

  1. Provide contactless travel assistance with the United app.
  2. Allow you to view the travel restrictions for your destination and verify your COVID-19 documents with the Travel-Ready Center.
  3. Provide more flexibility thanks to the removal of change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., or international travel originating in the U.S.
  4. Allow you to pay for checked bags and sign up for bag delivery online.
  5. Provide partner airline guidelines and destination-specific travel restrictions.
  1. Perform temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub and line stations.
  2. Use sneeze guards at check-in and at the gate.
  3. Promote social distancing using floor decals spaced 6 feet apart.
  4. Provide touchless check-in at select airports for customers with bags.
  5. Utilize TSA PreCheck® to move through security lines faster.
  1. Disinfect high-touch areas such as charging stations, counters and seats.
  2. Provide hand sanitizer stations.
  3. Allow customers to self-scan boarding passes.
  4. Promote social distancing in the gate areas, on the jet bridges and at our United ClubSM locations.
  5. Utilize Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers to disinfect in select airports and United Club locations.
  6. Promoting social distancing, enhancing our cleaning procedures and more at our United Club locations
  7. Use Agent on Demand to connect with customers remotely via phone, video or chat to answer day-of-travel questions.
  1. Provide individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers.
  2. Provide onboard items like pillows and blankets upon request.
  3. Disinfect high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding.
  4. Reduce contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service.
  5. Ensure aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines.
  6. Use state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters during the entire flight to circulate air and remove 99.97% of airborne particles.
  7. Use Ultraviolet C (UVC) lighting wands to disinfect sensitive components like switches and touchscreen displays in our pilot flight decks.
  8. Utilize antimicrobial technology on all of our aircraft to add an additional layer of sanitization on board.
  1. Deliver bags from the airport to the customer’s destination with Bags VIP.
  2. Provide bag tracking on the United app.
  3. Provide airport maps on the United app to make connections easier.

How we take care of you throughout your travels

    1. Provide contactless travel assistance with the United app.
    2. Allow you to view the travel restrictions for your destination and verify your COVID-19 documents with the Travel-Ready Center.
    3. Provide more flexibility thanks to the removal of change fees for most Economy and premium cabin tickets for flights within the U.S., or international travel originating in the U.S.
    4. Allow you to pay for checked bags and sign up for bag delivery online.
    5. Provide partner airline guidelines and destination-specific travel restrictions.
    1. Perform temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub and line stations.
    2. Use sneeze guards at check-in and at the gate.
    3. Promote social distancing using floor decals spaced 6 feet apart.
    4. Provide touchless check-in at select airports for customers with bags.
    5. Utilize TSA PreCheck® to move through security lines faster.
    1. Disinfect high-touch areas such as charging stations, counters and seats.
    2. Provide hand sanitizer stations.
    3. Allow customers to self-scan boarding passes.
    4. Promote social distancing in the gate areas, on the jet bridges and at our United ClubSM locations.
    5. Utilize Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers to disinfect in select airports and United Club locations.
    6. Promoting social distancing, enhancing our cleaning procedures and more at our United Club locations
    7. Use Agent on Demand to connect with customers remotely via phone, video or chat to answer day-of-travel questions.
    1. Provide individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers.
    2. Provide onboard items like pillows and blankets upon request.
    3. Disinfect high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding.
    4. Reduce contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service.
    5. Ensure aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines.
    6. Use state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters during the entire flight to circulate air and remove 99.97% of airborne particles.
    7. Use Ultraviolet C (UVC) lighting wands to disinfect sensitive components like switches and touchscreen displays in our pilot flight decks.
    8. Utilize antimicrobial technology on all of our aircraft to add an additional layer of sanitization on board.
    1. Deliver bags from the airport to the customer’s destination with Bags VIP.
    2. Provide bag tracking on the United app.
    3. Provide airport maps on the United app to make connections easier.

Some enhancements and services may not be available at all airports or on all flights.

Safe travels start with science

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use

The latest research is showing that aircraft cabins are among the safest of public indoor environments. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) supports the conclusion that the risk of COVID-19 exposure on board our planes is almost zero thanks to advanced air filtration systems, required mask-wearing and diligent cleaning protocols.

Since airlines began putting these measures in place in spring 2020, “there has been little evidence to date of onboard disease transmission,” according to researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Their report notes that when the “highly effective” ventilation systems are running from boarding until deplaning, which is our practice at United, the risk of exposure falls below that of activities like grocery shopping and dining out.

And even when the plane is full, on average only 0.003% of infected air particles could enter the breathing zone of seated, masked passengers, according to the DOD study.

Read Harvard’s study
Read U.S. Department of Defense’s study

phone icon

Download the United app to take advantage of touchless support throughout your journey.

phone icon

Download the United app to take advantage of touchless support throughout your journey.

Download United app

Agent on Demand connects customers with customer service agents through the customer’s preference of phone, video or chat to resolve day-of-travel questions or issues at all of our U.S. hubs. View video

To learn more about safety, cleanliness, face coverings and more, you can chat with our automated assistant by texting “CLEAN” to FLYUA (35982).

Frequently asked questions

General questions

  • All employees and customers are welcome to wear a face covering if they choose. However, face coverings are no longer required on board domestic flights and at most U.S. airports. If you’re flying internationally, whether face coverings are required is dependent upon the arrival country’s mask requirements.
  • If you’re flying to a country that still has a mask mandate in place, United has implemented a multi-step approach for customers who have a disability or medical condition that prevents them from being able to wear a face covering/mask. Please review the below steps to be considered for an exemption. Documents should be submitted to MaskException@united.com

    • Travel must be confirmed prior to requesting an exemption.
    • Every customer seeking an exemption must submit a mask exemption request form, a portion of which must be completed by their treating medical provider regarding their disability or medical condition, a minimum of 7 days prior to scheduled departure. If the ticket was purchased less than 7 days before travel, then the form must be submitted as soon as possible. There is no guarantee that a customer’s exemption will be granted in time.
    • United will review the documentation, and only after we determine that it meets our requirements and that an exemption would be in accordance with CDC/DOT/TSA standards, will the customer be notified that they need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must be taken within 72 hours of scheduled departure. Separate tests will be required for both the outbound and return flights if the scheduled return travel is beyond 72 hours from when the test was taken.
    • United may require customers seeking an exemption or their travelling party to move to alternate seats in the cabin, change their itinerary, or make take additional measures in accordance with your exemption. United will advise regarding the alternatives, and changes to flights under these circumstances will be made at no additional cost.
    • United will issue a letter of approval that will contain customer name, flights, date(s) of travel and reservation number. This will need to be printed and carried on your person at all times while traveling and will need to be shown to TSA at the security checkpoint prior to being screened.
    • This exemption process is applicable only to flights in a single reservation, and any exemption for future travel or travel in separate reservations will need to be applied for anew under this process.
  • We’ve got you covered. If you’ve already booked your flight, visit our Travel-Ready Center for helpful information specific to your upcoming trip. You can see what your requirements are and even upload any documents or test results.

  • If you’re traveling with a partner airline, we recommend reviewing their travel guidelines, including any policies on face coverings, to ensure you have a smooth trip. Before you fly, be sure to check travel waivers and your flight status, just in case things have changed. Some destinations may also require you to provide new entry forms or self-quarantine upon arrival, so check our Important Notices page to see if there are requirements for your trip.

  • Visit our United CleanPlus℠ page to learn more about this program and our relationships with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic. You can also chat with our automated assistant by texting “Clean” to FLYUA (35982) to learn how we’re making your journey safer.

  • Clorox Total 360 System electrostatic sprayers are being used to disinfect our ticketing lobbies, terminals, seating areas, employee break rooms, flight attendant and pilot bases, and United Club locations every night at the following airports: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Guam, Honolulu, Houston Intercontinental, Kona, Las Vegas, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Maui, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York/Newark, New York LaGuardia, Orange County, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Washington Dulles and Washington National.

COVID-19 testing & country requirement questions

  • While you’re responsible for your own testing, United offers COVID-19 testing options to customers flying on certain routes and to select destinations. United offers at-home, drive-up and in-person options, and continues to explore more ways to make COVID-19 testing more accessible.

    For more information on United-offered COVID-19 testing, visit united.com/covid-testing. And as always, be sure to check our COVID-19 travel entry requirements map to learn more about all the document and entry requirements for your trip.

  • Supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with contact tracing is another way we’re keeping your health and safety at the forefront of your travel experience. At check-in, you’ll be asked to provide your contact information to help facilitate contact tracing. We encourage you to provide your information although you aren’t required to do so. We may share this information with the CDC via the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The CDC makes contact information available to applicable health departments to use to contact you in connection with COVID-19 contact tracing. These U.S. agencies’ use of your personal data is governed by their privacy statements and commitments. You can learn more at CDC and CBP.

  • Under some circumstances, such as for international flights, it’s quicker and more effective to use existing CBP pathways to send the data to the CDC for processing passenger information.

  • Destinations have different requirements for what needs to appear on your COVID-19 test results. Visit our COVID-19 travel entry requirements map and your destination’s official government website for more information.

    If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident:

    For flights departing after 12:01 a.m. EDT on June 12, 2022, (if fully vaccinated) you'll need to have proof of full vaccination as approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and provide basic contact tracing information and confirm the information is true.

  • We’ve created a timeline to help you see how that may affect your trip. Learn more

  • All travelers arriving to the U.S. from another country need to provide:

    • Proof that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the World Heath Organization (WHO) or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)(for non-citizens/foreign nationals only)
    • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one calendar day of departure
    • Basic contact tracing information, allowing public health officials to follow up with travelers who are potentially infected or may have been exposed to someone who is infected

    If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and are not fully vaccinated, you are only allowed entry into the U.S. if you are subject to an exception from the vaccination requirement. In addition, you will need to test negative for COVID-19 within one calendar day of your departure for the U.S., and arrange to be tested 3-5 days after arrival and self-quarantine or self-isolate, depending on the post-arrival test results. If you intend to remain in the United States for longer than 60 days will need to commit to becoming fully vaccinated, unless you have a documented medical exception. For more information, read the official guidance from the CDC.

    Passengers under the age of 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement and will be allowed to enter the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.

    If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you'll need to:

    • (If fully vaccinated) Have proof of full vaccination as approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and a negative COVID-19 test taken within one calendar day of departure
    • (If not fully vaccinated) Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before departure
    • (All customers, regardless of vaccination status) Provide basic contact tracing information and confirm the information is true.
  • All air passengers traveling to the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.

  • You should self-isolate and delay your travel if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you take a pre-departure test and the result is positive. If you test positive, you must wait a minimum of 10 days from the date you tested positive and have no symptoms of COVID-19 in order to fly with United. International travel may have different requirements that are more restrictive than the U.S. or United’s policy. Ensure you have reviewed origin and destination requirements prior to traveling. 

Airport experience questions

  • When you’re within one of our U.S. hubs and select airports, you can contact a customer service agent through Agent on Demand with your personal mobile device by scanning the code on the signs near your gate or using an Elo kiosk (at Chicago O’Hare or Denver). A form will launch in a browser window, allowing you to enter your contact information manually. We’ll then place you in a virtual queue, and an agent will connect with you by phone, video or chat to help resolve your issue. View video.

  • Yes. After you enter your contact information manually, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to be contacted by phone, video or chat.

  • Please visit our United Club and Lounge Locations page to check if a particular location is open. As you plan your next visit, learn how we're putting your health and safety at the forefront of your United Club experience.

  • It depends on the airport — some airports may have reduced dining options and shopping right now, so you may want to check the website of the airport you’re traveling through or ensure you pack what you need in your carry-on bag.

United CleanPlus videos