United Airlines was founded on April 6, 1926. United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to 339 airports across five continents. United boasts the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United Airlines is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. It merged with Continental Airlines (keeping the United Airlines name) in 2010.
- Telephone:1-800-UNITED-1 ((1-800-864-8331) / International: Find your contact number here.
- Website: united.com
- Send an email: Send a question to United
- Mailing Address: United, Customer Care, 900 Grand Plaza, Houston, Texas 77076
You can find United Airlines on several of the most popular social media websites:
- Twitter: @united
- Facebook: facebook.com/united
- YouTube: youtube.com/united
- Instagram: instagram.com/united
What are my United Airlines check-in options?
Mobile boarding passes and priority boarding
Flying with children
Seating for infants and children
Flying while pregnant
Disabled access and medical equipment
Pets and service animals
Mobile boarding passes and priority boarding
Check-in online on your computer, online on your mobile device, and via United’s mobile app is available starting 24 hours before scheduled departure. Minimum time requirements for check-in, baggage check and boarding may vary based on your departure airport and destination. Online and mobile check-in are not available for travel to or from some international destinations. Consult the online check-in help and FAQs page for more details.
Check out Cheapflights.com’ guide to 10 things to do before your flight.
Passengers who wish to be among the first to board the aircraft may consider purchasing Premier Access, which provides some of the same benefits as MileagePlus Premier members – dedicated airport check-in lines, exclusive security lanes at select airports, and priority boarding – (except for priority baggage handling) without having to be a frequent flier to gain Premier status. Premier Access starts at $15 per flight segment. Prices are segment-based and subject to availability. Passengers flying on a Basic Economy ticket are unable to purchase Premier Access. Flights are boarded by groups with pre-boarding offered to unaccompanied minors, customers with disabilities, uniformed members of the U.S. military, families traveling with children age two and younger, and United Global Services members. The remainder of the boarding group order can be found here.
Flying with children
Passengers less than two-years-old, on the date of travel, are classified as infants. Infants who will travel on the lap of an adult age 18 or older, travel free of charge and do not require a ticket for flights within the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. All infants traveling internationally, including infants traveling to Canada, Guam, and Mexico, must have a ticket and are subject to infant fares and taxes, even if no seat is purchased and they are traveling as a lap child. Infants traveling between the U.S. and Canada or from Mexico to the U.S. or Canada, only pay taxes on the ticket. Infants traveling without a seat to other international destinations, including Guam, are charged 10-percent of the adult fare at the time of infant ticketing (it is usually less expensive to purchase the infant ticket in advance). Note that infants less than 7 days old are not permitted to travel. If there are two or more children under the age of two traveling with the same adult, only one of the children may travel as a lap child. Any additional children are required to have tickets for their own seats. When making your reservation, you should indicate that you are traveling with an infant, regardless of your destination.
If traveling on their second birthday or if they are occupying a seat, child fares should be booked. All children above two-years-old require their own seats and must be secured whenever the seatbelt signs are on. Passengers who are two-years-old to 12-years-old, on the date of travel, are classified as children. If traveling on their 12th birthday, adult fares should be booked.
Seating for infants and children
Infants (below two-years-old) may travel on the lap of an adult. Infants who are not held by an adult and are unable to sit upright with the seat belt fastened must be carried in an FAA-approved infant seat. United does not provide child restraint systems or child safety seats. The infant seat must be secured in an aircraft seat and cannot be held on an adult’s lap. They are designed to accommodate infants weighing 10kg (22 pounds) or less. Bassinets are available for customers traveling international segments in United Economy on 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft and in United Polaris business class on select 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. Bassinets are not available for customers traveling in United Polaris first class, United First® or United Business. Passengers can request a bassinet by calling the United Customer Contact Center at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the U.S. or the appropriate Worldwide Contact Center. Children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds may use certain approved child safety restraint system: CARES (child aviation restraint system) in conjunction with an aircraft seat provided that the appropriate child fare has been purchased.
Children ages 5-15 as of the travel date who travel without a parent, legal guardian, or another adult age 18 or older are required to use United Airlines’ unaccompanied minor service. Tickets can be purchased online or through United Customer Contact Center. Benefits of the service include pre-boarding at the beginning of the boarding process, seating near the front of the aircraft (when available), and one complimentary food item on flights that offer food for purchase.
- Below (but not yet) 5: Cannot travel alone. Must be accompanied by a passenger age 18 and above.
- 5 and up to (but not yet) 16: Can travel alone with the unaccompanied minor service.
- 16 and up to (but not yet) 18: Can travel alone. Adult fare must be paid.
The unaccompanied minor service is $150 for each direction of travel for up to nine children traveling on the same or separate reservations as long as they all have the same drop-off and pick-up parties. Unaccompanied minors can only travel on non-stop flights operated by United or United Express. Codeshare flights and other flights operated by our partner airlines are not eligible for unaccompanied minor travel. When two or more children are traveling together, the youngest child’s age applies to the reservation and determines whether or not the child will need to travel as an unaccompanied minor. Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about United Airlines’ unaccompanied minor service. Check out Cheapflights.com’s kids flying solo guide.
Flying while pregnant
|Pregnancy Flight Restrictions|
|Pregnancy stage||Pregnancy details||Doctor’s certificate require|
|Up to and including the eighth month||—||No medical documentation needed.|
|Ninth month||Medical documentation is required. Passenger must have the original and two copies of an obstetrician’s certificate, which must be dated within three days (72 hours) prior to flight departure. The certificate must state that the obstetrician has examined the customer and found the passenger to be physically fit for air travel between the specified dates. The estimated birth date of the baby must be after the date of the last flight on the itinerary. The customer should provide the original certificate to a United Representative at check-in. The remaining copies are for reference during air travel.|
United Airlines offers senior fares to selected travel destinations for passengers who are 65 and older. Select the “seniors (age 65 and older)” category when booking on united.com or ask when calling United Customer Contact Center.
Groups of 10 or more can enjoy priority check-in and guaranteed airfare for the group via United Groups. You can organize your group booking online by requesting an online bid. Passengers outside the U.S. and Canada can contact their local United Customer Contact Center.
Disabled access and medical equipment
United Airlines provides wheelchair assistance to all guests requiring such assistance free of charge. In addition to airport wheelchairs, United Airlines has aisle wheelchairs for transferring non-ambulatory customers to and from their seats on the aircraft, and an onboard wheelchair on aircraft with more than 60 seats that are specially designed to fit the aircraft aisle and are used to access the lavatory.
United Airlines will accept a customer’s wheelchair or other assistive device in addition to the checked baggage allowance at no additional charge. We accept all types of wheelchairs and scooters including folding, collapsible, non-folding, manual or powered. Excess, oversized and/or overweight baggage charges may apply for checking additional wheelchair(s) that are used for recreational purposes. Customers may use United’s wheelchair equipment after checking personal wheelchairs. Checking and returning your wheelchair at the gate can also be arranged. Customers, who identify themselves for preboarding, have priority to have their folding wheelchair stowed onboard upon request. All of United Airlines’ aircraft have adequate space to accommodate at least one adult-sized wheelchair. Passengers are encouraged to complete the wheelchair information card to assist airport personnel in the transporting of your wheelchair.
United Airlines requires 48 hours advance notice if passengers:
- Need onboard medical oxygen in flight (available on flights between Guam and Tokyo, Japan and flights between Guam and Honolulu, Hawaii). Information about onboard medical oxygen, including how to request it on select flights, can be found here.
- Will be using your FAA-approved respirator, ventilator, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or your own personal oxygen concentrator (POC) (United does not provide POCs)
- Require disassembly and/or packaging of a wheelchair battery
- Will be transporting an electric wheelchair on an aircraft with fewer than 60 seats
- Are traveling with a group of ten (10) or more people with disabilities
- Plan to travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal in cabin
- Special meals require a minimum of 24 hours advance notice, however we appreciate as much advance notice as possible.
Requests for special travel needs can be made through United’s 24-hour Accessibility Desk at 1-800-228-2744 within the U.S. or Canada, or from outside the U.S. and Canada, call the United Customer Contact Center and ask to be connected to the Accessibility Desk. Certain seating accommodations, including requests to sit in seats with moveable aisle armrests, may also be made for passengers with disabilities if the request is made at least 24 hours in advance. Additional information about traveling with wheelchairs can be found here. More information about accessibility of United aircraft can be found here.
Passengers can receive assistance inflight, including request individual safety briefings on the flight and semi-ambulatory passengers can get assistance getting to/from their seats during boarding and disembarkation and to/from the lavatory, loading and retrieving carry-on items, and meal preparation (opening packages and identifying items). Flight crew cannot assist with any medical services, assistance inside the lavatory, or in actual feeding. Additional useful information for customers with disabilities is available here.
Pets and service animals
Domesticated cats, small dogs, rabbits and birds may travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the U.S. An in-cabin pet may be carried in addition to a carry-on bag and is subject to a $125 service charge each way. There is an additional $125 service charge for each stopover of more than four hours within the U.S. or more than 24 hours outside of the U.S. A pet traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times. Rules for international in-cabin pets vary. For additional assistance or information, or to book international in-cabin travel for a pet, contact the United Customer Contact Center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) require all dogs entering the U.S., except those arriving from certain rabies-free countries, to be immunized against rabies. Vaccinations must be completed at least 30 days before arrival in the U.S. Since puppies must not be vaccinated before three months of age, puppies under four months old will not be admitted into the U.S. unless they are arriving from a rabies-free country. Pets are not permitted on flights to, from or through Australia, Hawaii or Micronesia (including Guam). Pets are not permitted to travel with unaccompanied minors. More information about traveling in-cabin with pets can be found here.
For pets ineligible to fly in-cabin, United Airlines offers the PetSafe program. Trained service animals are accepted for free in United and United Express aircraft cabins when accompanying qualified individuals with disabilities. Service animals must sit in front of the passenger’s seat. Emotional support and psychiatric assist animals are also accepted in cabin for qualified individuals with a disability if certain documentation requirements are met (details are outlined here). United Airlines permits active U.S. military or State Department Foreign Service Personnel (FSP) and their spouses to transport their pet dogs or cats as checked baggage when traveling on official orders to and from international destinations only (more details are here).
Check out Cheapflights.com’s guide to pet travel.
What are United Airlines’ baggage allowance limits and fees?
United Airlines’ carry-on luggage size
United Airlines offers different carry-on luggage allowances depending on a passenger’s ticket type:
- Most travelers: one full-size carry-on bag, dimensions: 9 x 14 x 22 inches (22 x 35 x 56 cm), including handles and wheels, and one personal item (shoulder bag, purse, laptop bag or other small item), dimensions: 9 x 10 x 17 (22 x 25 x 43 cm)
- Basic Economy travelers: one personal item (shoulder bag, purse, laptop bag or other small item), dimensions: 9 x 10 x 17 (22 x 25 x 43 cm)
- Basic Economy travelers who are Premier members or a primary card member of an eligible United MileagePlus credit card (tickets must have been purchased using their card in order to qualify): one full-size carry-on bag, dimensions: 9 x 14 x 22 inches (22 x 35 x 56 cm), including handles and wheels, and one personal item (shoulder bag, purse, laptop bag or other small item), dimensions: 9 x 10 x 17 (22 x 25 x 43 cm)
Carry-on bags must fit in the overhead bin and personal items must fit under the seat in front of you
In addition to the carry-on baggage allowance, passengers may also bring the following items on board:
- Jacket or umbrella
- Reading material
- Food or merchandise purchased in the airport
- Assistive devices (collapsible wheelchair, cane, one set of crutches, medical devices needed to administer prescription medications, portable oxygen concentrator, etc.)
- FAA-approved child restraint system or safety seat
- Diaper bag
- Breast pump
- Pet carrier
Passengers can also purchase a ticket for an item too fragile or bulky to be handled as checked luggage that can be carried on board and transported in a seat.
United Airlines checked luggage size
Service charges are applied to all checked baggage on United Airlines. United Airlines has an online baggage calculator to help passengers determine how much checked bags will cost before or after making reservations. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about baggage.
- The maximum exterior dimension (length + width + height) of standard checked baggage is 62 inches (158 cm), including handles and wheels.
- The maximum weight for checked baggage is based on the class of service and on the traveler’s MileagePlus Premier status at the time of check-in. If you qualify for different allowances based on your class of service and your MileagePlus status, the larger of the two allowances will apply.
|Class of Service||Maximum Weight Per Bag|
|United Economy||23kg (50lbs)|
|United Business||32kg (70lbs)|
|United First||32kg (70lbs)|
|United Polaris First Class||32kg (70lbs)|
|United Polaris Business Class||32kg (70lbs)|
|MileagePlus Status||Maximum Weight Per Bag|
|Premier Silver||23kg (50lbs)|
|Premier Gold||32kg (70lbs)|
|Premier Platinum||32kg (70lbs)|
|Premier 1K||32kg (70lbs)|
|Star Alliance Gold (traveling on First, Business, or United Polaris Business Class||32kg (70lbs)|
Extra and overweight baggage charges
Extra baggage is accepted only if space is available on the aircraft, and it is not allowed on some flights. Additional service charges apply to any checked baggage that exceeds the size and/or weight limitations and beyond baggage allowance. Applicable service charges for oversized, overweight and extra baggage are added together. For example, if a single bag is oversized, overweight and above the allowance, it will be subject to all three service charges.
- Oversized baggage: Baggage with total outer dimensions (length + width + height) measuring more than 115 inches (292 cm) is not accepted.
- Overweight baggage: With the exception of assistive devices and musical instruments, baggage weighing more than 45kg (100lbs) is not accepted. Musical instruments up to 165 lbs. (75 kg) will be accepted.
- Extra baggage: Assistive devices are accepted at no charge. For travel between the U.S. and Brazil, Puerto Rico and the S. Virgin Islands, no more than three extra checked bags are accepted.
Musical and sport equipment
Musical instruments are free to carry on and check in, provided they fall within passengers’ baggage allowances. United Airlines accepts most sporting equipment items. Specific guidelines and packaging requirements may apply, depending on the sports equipment.
One item of golf equipment per passenger counts as one piece of checked luggage, which may incur a service charge. One item of golf equipment is: one golf bag containing one set of golf clubs, golf balls, and one pair of golf shoes. The golf bag containing these items must be enclosed in a heavy, rigid carrying case.
Surfboards can be checked as long as they are packed in an appropriate board bag and the surfboard and board bag combined do not weigh more than 45.3kg (99.9lbs). The board cannot be longer than 292cm (115 inches) on United flights and 203cm (80 inches) on United Express flights. The skeg/fin must be removed or well-padded. The service charge for a surfboard is $150 each way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $200 each way for all other travel. Surfboards are not accepted during an excess baggage embargo with the exception of flights to Costa Rica.
Passengers may carry on violins, guitars, and other small musical instrument as part of their carry-on baggage allowance as long as the instrument is placed in a hard case and there is space in the overhead bins or under the seat in front. For an additional fee, large or valuable musical instruments may fly as cabin-seat baggage. Musical instruments up to 75kg (165 lbs) are accepted as checked luggage and are not charged extra fees.
What additional fees does United Airlines charge?
Flights can be booked for free on united.com. Customers using other ticketing methods are charged the following service charges:
- Ticketing on united.com: Free
- Ticketing by phone with a United representative in U.S. and Canada: $25
- Ticketing at a City Ticket Office: $30
- Ticketing in person at the airport: $50
Ticketing charges may vary outside of the U.S. and Canada and based on MileagePlus status level.
Flight cancellation policy
Tickets purchased through united.com or the United Customer Contact Center within the last 24 hours may qualify for waiver of change or cancellation fees under the airline’s 24-hour flexible booking policy.
In all other cases, a refund may be requested for any fare that allows refunds. Depending on the rules of the fare purchased, a cancellation fee may apply. Most fares are nonrefundable, and are not eligible for voluntary refunds. However, the value of your ticket may be eligible to be applied toward the price of a new ticket for a fee. Tickets are valid one year from the date of ticket issuance.
When complications such as weather, air traffic control, and mechanical delays occur, passengers may be eligible to request a refund for a ticket that would otherwise be nonrefundable or have restrictions on refunds. If a flight is delayed two hours or more, and passengers would rather postpone travel, United Airlines will waive any change penalties that may have applied to the ticket, and the passenger may also receive a travel credit or refund for the unused portion of the trip if he/she chooses not to travel. Different policies will apply when traveling to and from certain other countries. Request a refund here.
Allianz Global Assistance is travel insurance to help travelers plan for the unpredictable that may cause a traveler to cancel or interrupt travel.
The plan includes coverage for the following:
- Prepaid and nonrefundable tickets
- Accommodations and other travel expenses
- Emergency medical assistance, even when traveling abroad
FAQs regarding the plan is outlined here.
What amenities does United Airlines offer?
- Personal device entertainment: a free service on select flights that gives passengers access to movies and television shows that can be watched on the passengers’ own laptops, Apple and Android devices.
- Seat-back on-demand: a free service on select flights that offers seat-back screens equipped with 100 television channels and movies via DIRECTV.
- Mainscreen entertainment, available on some aircraft, offers movies and/or television shows displayed on overhead screens or a screen at the front of the cabin.
- Inflight magazine: Hemispheres is a free inflight magazine featuring sports, travel, entertainment, fitness, business, and education stories. Rhapsody is a free monthly magazine created for United’s premium-cabin customers and visitors to United Global First lounges and United Club locations.
- Inflight Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available on selected flights for a fee, which varies. On select flights, passengers may use MileagePlus miles to purchase Wi-Fi.
- Inflight Power: Power outlets are available on many flights.
United is the official airline of The Trotter Project, a nonprofit organization founded after the death of celebrated Chef Charlie Trotter committed to mentoring and inspiring a new generation of culinary minds, collaborating with Charlie Trotter-affiliated chefs to reimagine United’s inflight dining experience. Depending on the flight, passengers may be able to enjoy the cuisine of United Airlines’ various food programs complimentary or for purchase.
- United Economy Dining: The dining options for economy class passengers are based on length and location of the flight, ranging from a complimentary snack and beverage service to complimentary three-course meal service.
- Premium Economy Dining – North America: Premium economy customers on mainline United and United Express flights are treated to a variety of options based on length and location of the flight.
- Premium Economy Dining – International: Passengers traveling in United Polaris first class and United Polaris business class on long-haul international flights are served fine dining fare that includes a five or six course welcome dining service, mid-flight snacks, and arrival dining service.
Special meals are also available upon advanced request.
Passengers can purchase different seats or upgrade to a higher class of service as long as they are not traveling on a Basic Economy ticket. Options vary based on MileagePlus status. MileagePlus Premier members can also take advantage of complimentary Economy Plus seating, available starting at booking for Premier Gold and higher members and at check-in for Premier Silver members.
Check out our guide to booking the best airplane seat.
Seat size and seat pitch on United Airlines depends on which aircraft passengers are flying.
- Boeing 777-200:Economy seats are 17 or 18 inches wide between the inner sides of the armrests and offer a seat pitch of 31 inches.
- Boeing 757-200: Economy seats are 17 or 18 inches wide between the inner sides of the armrests and offer a seat pitch of 31 inches.
- Boeing 737-700:Economy seats are 16 to 17 inches wide between the inner sides of the armrests and offer a seat pitch of 31 inches.
- Airbus A320: Economy seats are 17 inches wide between the inner sides of the armrests and offer a seat pitch of 30 inches.
Upsize options: Upgrade options and availability, from booking a United Economy Plus seat in coach to upgrading to Business or First class, is dependent on aircraft type.
- Boeing 777-200:The two upgrade options include: 18-inch wide United Economy Plus seats with a 35-inch seat pitch; and 19-inch wide First class seats with a 53-inch seat pitch.
- Boeing 757-200:The three upgrade options include: 18-inch wide United Economy Plus seats with a 34-inch seat pitch; 18-inch wide Business seats with a six-foot, four-inch sleeping space; and 22-inch wide United Global First class seats with a six-foot, six-inch sleeping space.
- Boeing 737-700:The two upgrade options include: 17-inch wide United Economy Plus seats with a 36-inch seat pitch; and 20-inch wide United Business class seats with a 38-inch seat pitch.
- Airbus A320: The two upgrade options include: 17-inch wide United Economy Plus seats with a 35-inch seat pitch; and 19-inch wide United First class seats with a 39-inch seat pitch.
United Airlines offers a free, multi-tiered frequent flyer program called MileagePlus (sign up here). The airline also rewards members for extraordinary, long-term loyalty to United via its Million Miler program. The benefits of Premier are here.
There are 45 United Club locations and United Club members can also enjoy access to participating Star Alliance-affiliated airport clubs worldwide. Amenities include complimentary bar service, light snacks, and free Wi-Fi. Annual members are available starting at $450 or 60,000 miles (membership rates are based on the prospective member’s current MileagePlus status level). One-time passes that admit one person, one-time access to any United Club location are available for $59.
How do I contact United Airlines’ customer service?
United Airlines can be contacted in the U.S. at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) or outside the U.S. by using the numbers found here.
Delayed, missing or damaged luggage
For flights within or between the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, delayed baggage should be reported to the airport Baggage Service Office immediately after the arrival of your flight, or by calling the Baggage Service Center at 1-800-335-2247 within 24 hours of flight arrival. For international flights, delayed baggage should be reported to the airport Baggage Service Office immediately after the arrival of your flight, or in writing within seven days of your flight arrival. Passengers who have not received their baggage within three days of flight arrival must begin the claims process.
You can trace your baggage here.
Missing items from checked baggage may be reported to the United Airlines Baggage Resolution Service Center at its 24-hour toll-free number 1-800-335-BAGS (1-800-335-2247) in the U.S. and Canada and 1-281-821-3526 outside the U.S. and Canada.
Damaged baggage should be reported at the airport immediately after flight arrival. Report damaged baggage to the airport Baggage Service Office, located near the baggage claim area.
Compensation for baggage
Compensation for baggage is limited and reimbursement for expenses will be based upon acceptable proof of claim. For travel within or between the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, United Airlines’ liability for any form of damage as a result of loss, damage or delay in delivery of a customer’s personal property shall be limited to the fair market value at the time of loss, damage or delay and will not exceed $3,500.00 per customer, except for wheelchairs and other assistive devices.
For international travel to which the Warsaw Convention applies (including domestic portions of international travel), United Airlines’ liability is limited to approximately $9.07 per pound up to $640.00 per bag for checked baggage and $400.00 per customer for unchecked baggage.
For international travel to which the Montreal Convention applies (including domestic portions of international travel), United Airlines’ liability is limited to 1,131 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) per customer for checked and unchecked baggage. Exchange rates are available online at imf.org.
When checking baggage for a flight, a customer may declare a higher value than the maximum limit of liability. See Excess Valuation for additional details. Declaration of a higher value may not be allowed for some items.
- United Airlines’ more than 80,000 employees reside in every U.S. state and in many countries around the world.
- United Airlines flew the first modern airliner, the Boeing 247, which could cross North America in one night.
- The airline introduced the first flight kitchen and female flight attendants in the 1930s and introduced male flight attendants, the first in-flight magazine, and airborne radar in the 1940s.
- United was the first airliner to introduce jetliners in 1955, fly Boeing 777s in 1995 and became the first North American airline to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.