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United Airlines

United Airlines is the brainchild of one of the fathers of aviation, William Boeing, who started the business in 1916. The organization is headquartered at the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago and is known for its extensive presence in the Asia-Pacific region. United is a founding member of the Star Alliance. It was also the first airline with flight simulators containing visual, sound, and motion clues to train pilots. Keep reading for more about United’s carry on baggage policies.

Updated October 2019

Headquarters Country: USA


United Airlines carry on luggage size allowances

Number of items allowed:

  • Most ticket types: 1 + personal item
  • Basic Economy: only a personal item is allowed, see below for more details

According to United’s website:
“If you’re traveling on a Basic Economy ticket, you can only bring one personal item on board. There are some exceptions, which we list below.

If you bring a full-size carry-on bag to the gate, you’ll need to check your bag. You’ll also have to pay the applicable checked bag fee and a $25 gate handling charge. To keep it simple at the gate, you’ll need to pay by credit card.

If you’re traveling on a Basic Economy ticket and one of the following exceptions apply, you can follow our normal carry-on bag policy:

  • Customers traveling across the Atlantic Ocean
  • MileagePlus® Premier® members or companions traveling on the same reservation
  • Primary cardmembers of qualifying MileagePlus credit cards footnote2 or Star Alliance™ Gold members”

Maximum allowed in imperial: (official)

  • H x W x D = 22 x 14 x 9 in
  • H x W x D for personal item = 17 x 10 x 9 in
  • Weight = not indicated

Maximum allowed in metric: (official)

  • H x W x D = 56 x 35 x 22cm
  • H x W x D for personal item = 43 x 25 x 22 in
  • Weight = not indicated

Note: Carry-on restrictions might be stricter on some United Express flights, which means you may need to gate check your carry on bag.

United Airlines baggage info

When flying with United, most travelers can bring one full-sized carry-on bag and one personal item for free. United’s carry on bag size is 22 x 14 x 9 in/56 x 35 x 22 cm, while United’s personal item size is 17 x 10 x 9 in/43 x 25 x 22 cm.

Those with United’s Basic Economy tickets (excluding transatlantic flights) will only be allowed one personal item unless you are a Premier member. Anyone with a Basic Economy ticket who brings a carry-on will be charged not only the checked bag fee but a $25 gate handling charge, which are only payable by credit card. Refunds are not allowed.

On regional flights with reduced overhead space, United will allow gate-checking for carry-on items.

United requires that any musical instruments brought on board as a carry-on must be in a hard case.

For Basic Economy tickets, United allows checked bags up to 50 pounds/23 kgs. For any tickets above that, bags cannot exceed 70 pounds/32 kgs. For connecting flights, checked bags will go straight to the destination unless a layover is overnight, if the connecting flight is not on a Star Alliance partner airline, or if the connecting flight is a domestic flight in the destination country.

United has several locations that do not allow any excess or oversize baggage, including El Salvador, Honduras, and Cuba. There are also many cities world-wide which do not permit checked bags over 70 pounds/32 kgs. These also change seasonally, so be sure to check their site ahead of time.

Traveling in the USA? Check out these great tour reviews, like the NYC Crime Tour, Atlanta food tour, or Washington, DC food tour.

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