United Airlines Baggage Policy

United Airlines Baggage Policy & How to Avoid Extra Fees

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Last Updated on December 28, 2023 by Rick Spiegel

United Airlines provides its passengers with a generous and sufficient amount of baggage space. Travelers seeking to travel along with their bags at a cheap fare can prefer booking a United Airlines flight ticket. United Airlines Baggage Policy is passenger-oriented and thus gives an advantage to travelers to fly with more bags.

Carry-on baggage

  • 1 personal item – No fee charged,  9 x 10 x 17 inches
  • 1 carry-on item -No fee charged, 22 x 14 x 9 inches

Checked Baggage

  • Economy/Premium Economy: 2 bags, 23 kg each.
  • Business/First/Polaris: 3 bags, 32 kg each.

Active Duty Military Members

  • 5 checked bags for free
  • Weight of single bag – 32 kg
  • Maximum Linear Dimensions – 100 inches

United Carry-on Baggage Policy

United Airlines permits passengers to bring carry-on bags. However, the Baggage Policy for carry-on bags changes according to the tickets.

  • All the fares except Basic Economy tickets permit one carry-on bag and one personal item.
  • The size of the carry-on bag on United Airlines should be 45 linear inches (22 x 14 x 9 in) or 115 centimeters (56 x 36 x 23 cm). It includes the handle and wheels.
  • On the other hand, passengers with Basic Economy tickets can bring only one personal item.
  • However, Basic Economy passengers can bring a carry-on bag on flights to South America, transatlantic, and transpacific destinations.
  • The size of the personal item according to United Baggage Policy should not be more than 9 in x 10 in x 17 in (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm).
  • Purses, laptop bags, and backpacks are counted as personal items.
  • Assistive devices (wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, strollers, child restraint seats, etc.) are not counted in the carry-on luggage of the passengers.  

Lap Infant Carry-on Policy of United Airlines

Passengers traveling from United Airlines are allowed to carry the following infant and child articles on board, which are included in the carry-on luggage along with the maximum carry-on baggage allowance: 1 diaper bag, breast pump, or a government-approved child seat (infant carrying seat or car seat).

United Checked Baggage Policy

Travelers flying on United Airlines get a generous checked baggage allowance. The checked baggage allowance varies according to the cabin class and frequent flyer status.

  • Economy/Premium Economy: 2 bags, 23 kg each.
  • Business/First/Polaris: 3 bags, 32 kg each.
  • The size of the checked baggage on United Airlines should be 30 in x 20 in x 12 in (76 cm x 52 cm x 30 cm).
  • As per the Baggage Policy, travelers with checked baggage should check in at least 45 minutes before departure on domestic flights.
  • On the other hand, on international flights, travelers must check-in at least 60 minutes before departure with their checked baggage.

Checked Baggage Allowance for MileagePlus Premier Members

According to the Baggage Policy, MileagePlus members can check their bags for free. The allowance depends on the routes and premier status.

Cabin and RoutePremier 1KPremier PlatinumPremier GoldPremier Silver
Economy Class For flights US to/from Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, and Central America3 bags, 32 kg each3 bags, 32 kg each2 bags, 32 kg each1 bag, 32 kg
Economy Class For flights US to/from New Zealand, South America, the East, Africa Europe, and Australia3 bags, 32 kg each3 bags, 32 kg each3 bags, 32 kg each2 bags, 32 kg each
All premium cabin travel3 bags, 32 kg each3 bags, 32 kg each3 bags, 32 kg each3 bags, 32 kg each

Checked Baggage Policy for Strollers

  • United Airlines provides its passengers with the facility to check 1 car seat and 1 stroller or folding wagon per child they’re traveling with, or even at the ticket counter or at the gate, without any extra charge.
  • If the passenger’s child’s stroller is bigger and non-collapsible, or the wagon is non-folding, it has to be checked at the ticket counter, which is free of cost.
  • Car seats aren’t allowed in United Polaris business class on most Boeing 767, 777, or 787 planes.
  • Items such as a Pack ‘n Play or collapsible crib must be checked at the ticket counter and are charged as baggage.

Checked Baggage Allowance for Military Members

United Airlines offers a special baggage quota to active-duty military personnel. According to United Baggage Policy:

  • Military members traveling on official orders will get a free checked baggage allowance of 5 bags.
  • The size of the bag can be 100 inches with a maximum weight limit of 32 kg.
  • If the army personnel is traveling for personal business, then they get a free checked baggage allowance of 3 bags.
  • Dependents traveling on the same booking are entitled to the same baggage allowance as the military member.

Overweight and Oversized Baggage Allowances

overweight and oversized baggage allowances

Due to limited space, United Airlines applies limitations on the maximum baggage weight and size.

  • According to the Baggage Policy, baggage more than 62 inches in size is considered oversized baggage. Travelers can pay for an oversized bag and check in it. However, United Airlines does not accept bags measuring more than 115 inches in overall length.
  • Similarly, baggage weighing more than 32 kg is counted as an overweight bag. The maximum acceptable checked baggage weight on United Airlines is 45 kg.
  • United Airlines accepts musical instruments and assistive devices up to 75 kg.

United Baggage Policy for Special Items

There are certain special items that travelers often carry with them. United Airlines has specific rules for sports equipment, fragile items, and electronic items.

Baggage Policy for Sports Equipment

Biking- Motorized and battery-powered bikes cannot be checked. United Airlines does not levy oversized baggage fees. Travelers must pack their bikes properly.

Archery-  Travelers can pack one bow case containing bows, a quiver with arrows, along with one maintenance kit.

Surfboards, Wakeboards, and Paddleboards-  Travelers can fly with surfboards, wakeboards, and paddleboards only if they are packed in a bag and must be less than 115 inches in size and less than 45 kg in weight.

Windsurfing- United Airlines permits one windsurfing set. The set includes one windsurfing board, boom, mast, and sail.

Fishing Equipment-  One fishing equipment consisting of two rods, one landing net, one reel, one pair of fishing boots, and one tackle box.

Tennis- Flyers can also bring one tennis bag with a tennis racket and balls. Travelers can bring it as checked or carry-on baggage. It should be within size and weight limits.

Travelers can visit the official website of United Airlines and find out the rules for other sports equipment.

United Airlines Baggage Policy for Musical Instruments

  • Travelers can buy a seat for their musical instruments.
  • When the weight and size of the musical instruments are according to the carry-on baggage rules, then travelers can bring them inside the cabin.
  • Also, travelers can check in their musical instruments under their standard allowance. The size of the instrument should not be more than 115 cm.

United Airlines Checked Baggage Rules for Liquids/Alcohol

  • Travelers can bring as many alcohol bottles as a carry-on if the alcohol content is less than 24%. Flyers can purchase them as duty-free items. You can also pack in the checked baggage as much as you want.
  • If the alcohol content is between 24% and 70%, then travelers can carry 5 liters of alcohol in their checked or carry-on bag after duty-free purchase.
  • However, items with more than 70% alcohol content are prohibited.

Lithium Batteries

  • United does not permit Lithium-ion batteries of more than 100 watt hours.
  • Also, Lithium metal batteries of more than 2g are not acceptable.
  • Travelers must switch off all devices with lithium-ion batteries in their checked bags.

CPAP Devices

Portable electronic personal ventilators, respirators, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines can be taken on the flight and used on board United flights if it can be verified by a manufacturer’s label or otherwise that the units meet applicable FAA requirements.

A forty-eight (48) hour minimum advance notification to the Accessibility Desk (1-800-228-2744) is required for customers using a ventilator, respirator, or CPAP machine on board.

United Airlines Baggage Fees

United Airlines Baggage Fees

The baggage fee is charged as per the baggage policy. The fees are calculated based on the type of ticket the passenger purchases, their destination, and

  • If they are members of the US military personnel and/or dependent.
  • If the passengers have the facility to avail the status with United Airlines (UA) frequent flyer program, status with an affiliated carrier.
  • or if they have a United Airlines (UA) sponsored credit/charge card.
Types of Members & CardholdersFirst bagSecond bag
General Member$35.$45.
Premier Silver Elite MemberFree.$45.
Premier Gold Elite MemberFree.Free.
Premier Platinum Elite MemberFree.Free (and third bag free).
Premier 1K Elite memberFree.Free (and third bag free).
MileagePlus Club CardholdersFree.Free.
MileagePlus Explorer CardholdersFree.$45.

United Airlines Standard Checked Baggage Fees for Domestic Flights

●        First bag: USD 35.00

●        Second bag: USD 45.00

●        Third and any additional: USD 150.00 per bag

NOTE: The passengers are allowed to check in up to 2 checked bags. When travelers prepay online (more than 24 hours before departure), they will receive $5 off the cost of each of the first 2 checked bags.

United Airlines International Baggage Fees

USA to Middle East/Europe/IndiaFirst Bag: Free Second Bag: Free Third Bag: $200
USA to East Asia/Australia/New ZealandFirst Bag: Free Second Bag: Free Third Bag: $200
USA to MexicoFirst Bag: Free Second Bag: Free Third Bag: $180
USA to CubaFirst Bag: Free Second Bag: Free Third Bag: $500

Some routes allow two checked bags as a standard allowance. United Airlines Baggage Calculator on United.com will determine the exact amount per route.

United Airlines Excess Baggage Fees

Depending on the itinerary, United Airlines will charge a range for the third bag and additional luggage, starting at USD 150. You may find out the precise amount for each route by visiting United Airlines “Baggage Calculator” on United.com.

Note: Excess baggage embargoes to and from some locations in the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, and South America are both temporary and permanent. Please visit United.com and look for “Baggage Embargoes.”

United Airlines Overweight and Oversized Baggage Fees

According to the Baggage Policy, the airline will charge the following for domestic flights for bags that are greater than the standard 50 pounds or 23 kilograms:

●        51 to 70 pounds or 24 to 32 kgs: USD 100.00 to 200 USD extra per bag

●        71 to 100 pounds or 33 to 46 kgs: USD 200 to 400.00 extra per bag

●    Bags exceeding 100 pounds or 46 kg will not be accepted as checked baggage / hold luggage.

  • According to the Baggage Policy, oversized items will cost $ 200 to $ 400.

Mishappenings with Baggage

There can be instances of lost, delayed, or damaged baggage. In such events, United Airlines provides an easy process of making track requests and compensation claims.

  • United Airlines is only liable for $3,800 per booked passenger for lost, damaged, or delayed checked bags. It applies to travel within or between the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • On the other hand, for international travel, United Airlines will provide $1288 as per the Montreal Convention.

United Airlines Delayed and Lost Baggage Rules

  • When the baggage does not arrive with you at the airport, then you can file a delayed baggage request.
  • If you are outside the US, you have 21 days to make a delayed baggage request.
  • On the other hand, if you are in the US, Guam, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands, then you must report within 24 hours of arrival.
  • If the airline does not locate your bag in 5 days, then you can file a lost baggage claim.

Rules for Damaged Bag

According to United Airlines Baggage Policy, it does not compensate for the damaged bag for the following reasons.

  • Ordinary wear and tear.
  • Also, for overpacking of the bag.
  • Poor quality of the bag.
  • Additionally, for bags with existing defects.

A staff member will personally check the bag for reimbursement approval.

How to Get Reimbursement?

In the situation of mishappening with baggage, travelers can follow these steps to report their problems.

  • Firstly, travelers need to get a file reference number. If the passenger is at the airport, then they report the issue at the Baggage Service Office. If they have left the airport, then they must call the Baggage Recovery Center at 1-800-335-2247.
  • The next step is to file a claim. Travelers must file the claim in 45 days. They must fill out the details of the baggage, any damages, description of the item in the bag.
  • Lastly, United Airlines will provide compensation after the inspection.

Tips to Avoid Paying Extra Baggage Fees at United Airlines

If you want to travel across the world to different destinations with extra luggage for your trip without paying an extra charge for the baggage fee, then you can follow the given time to avoid extra baggage fees.

1- Go for premium membership tickets or book your ticket in premium, first, or business travel class, to get more luggage space and also the permission to carry hand luggage with you.

2- Check the ticket price for the basic and standard economy and compare the baggage fee. If the standard economy ticket allows you to carry more luggage without an extra cost, go for those tickets.

3- Passengers who are members of the United Airlines privilege club, are eligible to carry luggage up to 55 pounds for free along with the permission to carry hand luggage and personal items during check-in and boarding the flight.

4- If the passenger is an active serving member of the US Army, then they are eligible to check in bags per person along with their companion when traveling for medical work and 3 bags each when traveling for personal work. The dependents of the army member can enjoy this facility when traveling for relocation or official work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many bags does United Airlines allow for free?

United Airlines permits one carry-on bag and one personal item for free on all domestic and international flights. On the other hand, it allows three checked bags for free to passengers traveling in business and upper class on all international flights.

Up to what weight can baggage be carried in United Airlines?

If travelling from United Airlines the passengers can carry luggage weighing up to 50 pounds for free on Economy fares. For the Business and First Class, travelers can carry baggage weighing up to 70 pounds. Note: it will not accept baggage weighing more than 100 pounds.

What is the 2pc baggage allowance on United Airlines?

United Airlines provides 2 piece baggage allowance to passengers traveling in Economy and Premium Economy cabin class. The rule applies to all domestic routes and selected international routes.

How many kg can you bring in United Airlines as a carry-on?

You can bring one personal item and one carry-on bag. The size of the personal item should be 9 x 10 x 17 inches. On the other hand, the size of the carry-on bag must not exceed 9 x 14 x 22 inches.

How much is the United Airlines International Baggage fee?

Travelers get a complimentary baggage allowance on United Airlines. However, if a passenger wants to carry additional baggage, then they have to pay a fee. United Airlines Baggage fees for international flights start from $150 and vary according to the routes.

Is United Airlines strict on baggage weight?

United Airlines does not apply weight limitations on carry-on bags. As long as passengers are bringing carry-on items under the size limitations, they are acceptable. However, United Airlines is strict about checked baggage weight. Business and First class can bring 32 kg of bag whereas Economy and Premium Economy can bring 23 kg of bag. If the weight exceeds the criteria, passengers have to pay an overweight baggage fee.

Can passengers prepay for their luggage on United Airlines?

When the passengers are traveling with United Airlines they get the facility to prepay for their luggage and can even receive an additional discount of 20% as compared to the availing of the same facility at the airport. To prepay for the extra luggage online, the passengers can visit the official website of United Airlines, log in to their account click on manage booking, edit the number of bags, and pay the fee as per charge.

How to get free bags on United Airlines?

Travelers can acquire free baggage allowance on United Airlines.

  • If they have tier status in the MileagePlus program.
  • Fly a premium class.
  • Active military members or dependent of the personnel traveling in the same booking.

Also, get a United Airlines credit card.


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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