United Airlines Carry-On Baggage
One full size 9in x 14in x 22in (22cm x 35cm x 56cm) tote bag plus one 9in x 10in x 17in (22cm x 25cm x 43cm) tote bag personal item. If you are traveling on a Basic Economy ticket, your personal item will be the only item you can take on board.
For Basic Economy travelers, you will only be allowed one personal item unless you are a Premier® member or primary member of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card. If you exceed this limit, you will be required to check your baggage and pay the applicable checked baggage fee plus a $25 gate handling fee as a United baggage fee.
United Airlines Excess Baggage
Log in to your MileagePlus account to determine checked baggage service charges for an existing reservation, or select the “Any Flight” tab to calculate service charges for any United itinerary. See “Baggage Calculator”.
For checked baggage service fee exceptions, see this page for details.
United Airlines Oversized, Overweight and Extra Baggage
Additional service charges apply to any checked baggage that exceeds the size and/or weight limitations and baggage that exceeds your allowance. Oversized, overweight or additional baggage is not accepted on flights to certain destinations and on certain flights during specific time periods. For a list of cities where excess weight or baggage is not accepted, see the Excess Baggage Seizure page.
Baggage with overall exterior dimensions measuring more than 115 inches (292 cm) will not be accepted as checked baggage.
With the exception of assistive devices and musical instruments, luggage weighing more than 100 pounds. (45 kg) will not be accepted.
Musical instruments up to 165 pounds. (75 kg) will be accepted.
Assistive devices are accepted free of charge.
Important note: For travel between the US and Brazil, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, no more than three additional checked bags are accepted.
United has a pretty basic baggage policy, so you won’t find many surprises here. Overweight/oversize fees are a little higher, but that said, they are consistent with most other major US airlines.
Something to keep in mind: Economy fares are divided into Basic or Full Economy, which is important when you take into account the carry-on baggage allowance. Otherwise, in terms of luggage, the rates are practically the same in the two countries.
United Airlines Checked Baggage Allowance
All checked baggage must meet a maximum weight of 50 pounds (23 kg) for all Economy and Economy Plus fares and 70 pounds (32 kg) for business and first class fares, and must meet maximum linear dimensions of 62 inches (158cm). .
Instead of providing a hard and fast table to evaluate baggage fees at a glance, United now recommends all passengers use its official baggage fee calculator tool.
However, after doing some basic route searches, we found consistent fares, as detailed in the table below (you should use the baggage calculator to check your specific route, however).
For many routes, United now charges $5 more per bag when purchased at the airport instead of paying in advance.
Additional and Excess Baggage Fees
As with checked baggage fees, United recommends all passengers use its official baggage fee calculator tool to calculate excess baggage fees.
We did some searching and found consistent rates for the destinations below, but we recommend checking the baggage calculator for your specific route as this could vary depending on your departure airport.
Determining how much you’ll pay for baggage fees on United can be a bit complicated. However, personal items are pretty simple. All passengers are entitled to one personal item with maximum dimensions of 9 inches by 10 inches by 17 inches, and that item must fit under the seat in front of you. An example of a personal item would be a purse, briefcase, backpack, or diaper bag.
Carry-on luggage is included in the price of your airline ticket on almost all United flights. Your carry-on bag should fit inside the overhead compartments, with maximum dimensions of 9 x 14 x 22 inches (including wheels and handles).
This is where things get a little more complicated. United Airlines now offers an economy option called Basic Economy. United’s basic economy fare includes most of the same services and amenities that come standard with United economy fares, such as food and beverage service, United Wi-Fi, and in-flight entertainment. Where you will see the difference is in the baggage allowance.
Passengers flying on a basic economy ticket are only allowed to bring one personal item on board. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Carry-on baggage is allowed free of charge for basic economy fare customers who fall into one of the following categories:
- Those flying transatlantic flights to or from the US, Mexico and Central America, as well as to and from El Salvador, Panama and South America.
- Those flying transpacific flights to or from the US.
- MileagePlus Premier members or companions traveling on the same reservation
- Qualifying Primary MileagePlus Credit Cardholders
- Star Alliance Gold members or higher
It is important to have this information in advance to avoid additional charges. Basic economy ticket holders who arrive at the gate with a standard carry-on bag will be charged the checked baggage fee PLUS an additional $25 gate handling charge.
United Airlines checked baggage fees They are somewhat complex compared to carry-on fees. Instead of providing a standard fee chart on its website, United encourages customers to use its baggage fee calculator. In general, flight prices within the US, Central America and the Caribbean are as follows:
In most cases, you can prepay for your checked bags online, up to 24 hours before your scheduled flight, and save $5 off each of your first two checked bags.
As mentioned above, you can use United’s baggage fee calculator to find out how much you should expect to pay on your next flight. A drop-down menu under “Status or Membership” allows you to select your status level or the United credit card you own and displays expected baggage fees based on the information provided.
Overweight and Oversize Baggage Fee
United allows checked baggage weighing up to 50 pounds. Passengers with elite status or those flying business or first class can carry luggage weighing up to 70 pounds at no additional charge.
If your baggage exceeds these limits, you may incur an overweight baggage fee or an oversized baggage fee. Please note that these fees can be stacked on top of each other, so if your bag is oversized and oversized, you will pay both fees.
- Oversized bags: $200 per bag between 63 to 115 linear inches
- Overweight bags: Fees range from $100 to $200 per bag for 51 to 70 pounds and from $200 to $400 per bag for 71 to 100 pounds depending on the destination.
Excess Baggage Fee
The third bag or additional bags that are within the approved size and weight limits will incur a $150 fee. It should also be noted that the United States states on its website that additional bags are only allowed if there is space available on the plane.
Can Travel Credits Be Used for United Baggage Fees?
If you recently had to cancel or make changes to your travel plans and received a future flight credit or travel certificate, you may be wondering if you can use these credits for more than just airfare. While United credits can be used for some non-ticket items, such as plus economy seats, basic economy seat assignments, and preferred seats, these credits cannot be used to cover baggage charges.
Baggage fees can be one of the least interesting ways to spend your hard-earned travel money. But luckily, when it comes to United Airlines, there are some sure-fire ways to save on those extra costs, not only for yourself but for your fellow travelers as well.
United MileagePlus Premier status is a guaranteed way to save on baggage, but even when that seems out of reach, you can always rely on United co-branded credit cards or airline incidental credits to help reduce or fully cover those baggage charges. And if you want to eliminate any potential for confusion, such as travel time, it’s best to use United’s trusty baggage fee calculator to determine costs for your specific situation.
United Airlines Checked Baggage and Exceptional Items
Items that the United Airlines baggage allowance rules consider to be exceptional items, such as sports equipment, can be checked into the hold, often as standard checked baggage. There are some exceptions, however.
Musical instruments can be checked into the hold, provided they are properly packaged.
Oversize charges apply to musical instruments that measure between 63 and 115 inches in overall dimensions. Overweight charges apply to musical instruments weighing more than 50 pounds, but those weighing up to 165 pounds will be accepted. If the instrument is greater than 115 inches in overall dimensions, you must contact the United Customer Service Center.
Final thoughts on United Airlines baggage fees
When traveling with United, you should consider the different types of baggage fees you may incur. Depending on your cabin class, your elite status (or lack thereof), your origin/destination and other factors, you may be required to pay a fee for checked, carry-on, oversized or overweight baggage. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce or eliminate these fees.