Check-in and airport processing times

To help you prepare for your upcoming flight, we’d like to provide you with guidance for arriving at the airport ahead of your departure. Our goal is to help you have a stress-free experience, and we want to ensure that you arrive at the departure gate with plenty of time to board your flight, get settled and think of the possibilities of your next adventure.

We’ll start by providing answers to some important questions:

Check-in options

There are many ways to check in for your United- or United Express-operated flight, depending on where you are in your travel experience.

At 24 hours before departure

Starting 24 hours before your scheduled departure time, you can check in for your flight in the following ways:

    • Go to united.com/checkin

      • Enter your confirmation or eTicket number and last name
      • or
      • Log in using your MileagePlus® account information
    • Open the United app, click the Check-in box and enter your confirmation or eTicket number and last name in the designated fields.

Online and mobile check-in are not available for travel to or from some international destinations.

For more information about online check-in, please visit the Online Check-in Help and FAQs page.

At the departure airport

When you arrive at the departure airport, you can check in for your flight in the following ways:

  1. Visit a self-service kiosk, where you can print your boarding pass and check baggage
  2. See a United representative at the United check-in counter

At the airport, you can also check your bags by using one of our ticket counter kiosks, visiting a United representative at the check-in counter or locating curbside skycap (where available).

For travel outside the United States, you can scan your passport by using the United app or visiting an airport kiosk. If you previously scanned your passport for international travel with United, you will be eligible to check in on united.com. If your destination country requires a visa, a United representative at the airport will be required to verify your visa information.

Payment transactions at airports

The United check-in counters and kiosks at some of the airports we serve do not accept cash as a form of payment. For more information, visit the Accepted Forms of Payment page.

Minimum required times for check-in and checking baggage

For most flights, travelers will need to abide by the following guidelines:

  • For most United- and United Express-operated flights within the U.S., travelers must check in at least 30 minutes before departure, regardless of whether or not they are checking baggage. See exceptions
  • For most United- and United Express-operated international flights, travelers must check in at least 60 minutes before departure, regardless of whether or not they are checking baggage. See exceptions
  • For flights to or from Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, travelers must check in at least 90 minutes before departure, regardless of whether or not they are checking baggage.

Before you travel, we recommend checking the Important Notices page to see if there are any updates or advisories affecting your departure or arrival airport, so you can plan for extra time if needed.

U.S. airports with special minimum required times

Please review the special minimum required times below so you can plan for your flight accordingly and make sure you check in within the required number of minutes before departure time.

U.S. airports with special minimum required times
Airport Minimum check-in times for nonstop international flights with or without checked baggage
(minutes before departure time)
Minimum check-in times for flights within the U.S. with checked baggage
(minutes before departure time)
Minimum check-in times for flights within the U.S. with carry-on baggage only
(minutes before departure time)
Anchorage (ANC) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Atlanta (ATL) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Austin (AUS) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Baltimore (BWI) 60 minutes 45 minutes 45 minutes
Charlotte (CLT) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Chicago (ORD) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Cincinnati (CVG) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Cleveland (CLE) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Dallas (DFW) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Denver (DEN) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Detroit (DTW) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Fairbanks (FAI) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Greenville (GSP) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Honolulu (HNL) 75 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Houston (IAH) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Indianapolis (IND) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Jacksonville (JAX) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Kona (KOA) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Las Vegas (LAS) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Los Angeles (LAX) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Mammoth Lakes (MMH) 30 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes
Maui (OGG) 60 minutes 45 minutes 45 minutes
Miami (MIA) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
New York (LGA) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Newark (EWR) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Orange County (SNA) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Orlando (MCO) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Philadelphia (PHL) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Phoenix (PHX) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Pittsburgh (PIT) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Raleigh (RDU) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Reno (RNO) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
San Diego (SAN) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
San Francisco (SFO) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Savannah (SAV) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Seattle (SEA) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
St. Louis (STL) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Tampa (TPA) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Washington (IAD) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes
Washington DC (DCA) 60 minutes 45 minutes 30 minutes

Other airports with special minimum required times

Please review the special minimum required times below for airports located outside the U.S. so you can plan accordingly and make sure you check in within the required number of minutes before your departure time. These times apply regardless of whether or not you are checking baggage.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Caracas (CCS): 90 minutes
  • Lima (LIM): 75 minutes
  • San Juan (SJU): 60 minutes
  • St. Thomas (STT): 60 minutes

Europe

  • Dublin (DUB): 75 minutes

Asia and the Pacific

  • Guam (GUM): 60 minutes
  • Manila (MNL): 90 minutes

For flights within the U.S., as well as most international flights, baggage will generally not be accepted for check-in more than four hours before a scheduled flight departure, although this policy varies by airport and daily check-in counter hours. United has the right to cancel reservations, deny boarding and refuse the acceptance of checked baggage of any customer who does not meet the applicable check-in time limits, as noted above.

Security processing times

At airports in the U.S., travelers may experience longer lines at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours before for international travel. If you’re traveling during peak times like early morning or evening, or during holidays and other events, please plan accordingly and allow for extra time. To help make the security screening process as smooth as possible, please remember that each traveler can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item on board. Visit the TSA’s View Security Wait Times page for up-to-date information about your departure airport.

To learn more about the security screening process, acceptable forms of identification and other relevant information, visit the TSA website or read the TSA Security checkpoint guidelines.

Is there a way to expedite security screening?

To help you pass through security more quickly, you may apply for one of two programs offered by the TSA (available at select U.S. airports):

  • TSA Precheck: For customers who primarily travel within the U.S.
  • Global Entry: For customers who travel both within the U.S. and internationally.

When do I need to be at the boarding gate?

For flights within the U.S., all customers must be on board the aircraft 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. We recommend being at the boarding gate at least 15 minutes before departure to ensure that you’re on the aircraft before the doors are closed.

For international flights, we encourage you to be at the gate no later than 30 minutes before your scheduled departure. If you are departing from the following airports, please be advised that you are required to be at the gate at a specific time before departure, as additional security or documentation checks may be required:

  • Brussels (BRU): 60 minutes
  • Caracas (CCS): 60 minutes
  • Dublin (DUB): 30 minutes
  • Koror (ROR): 30 minutes
  • Kosrae (KSA): 60 minutes
  • Kwajalein (KWA): 60 minutes
  • Lima (LIM): 30 minutes
  • Majuro (MAJ): 60 minutes
  • Pohnpei (PNI): 60 minutes
  • Truk (TKK): 60 minutes
  • Yap (YAP): 60 minutes

To learn more about boarding a United flight, please visit our Boarding Process page.