If you're planning to travel with a carry-on, you'll need to be up to speed with airline carry-on policies. Specifically, the various rules and regulations each carrier has for what you can and cannot “carry-on” to the plane. Each airline’s rules are different, so don’t assume what works for one will work for all airlines.
Here are the United Airlines Carry-On rules you need to be aware of.
What is United Airlines Carry-On Bag Guidelines?
United Airlines allows one personal item and one carry-on bag at no charge.
What does United Airlines consider a Personal item?
Personal items on United should fit underneath the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions for your personal item are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches.
Other items you can carry on board
In addition to your one carry-on bag and personal item, you can bring the following items on board:
- A jacket
- An umbrella
- Reading material
- Food or merchandise that you buy in the airport
- Assistive devices (such as a collapsible wheelchair, cane, crutches, medical device for prescription medications, or portable oxygen concentrator)
- FAA-approved child restraint system or safety seat
- Diaper bag
- Breast pump
If any bags are larger than the carry-on size listed above, or if you bring additional items, you'll have to check them to your final destination. Additional charges may apply.
United Airlines Carry-On Bag Guidelines for Basic Economy Fares
If you're traveling on a Basic Economy ticket, you can only bring one personal item on board.
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 or Star Alliance Gold members
United Airlines Carry-On Dimensions
United Airlines’ size requirements for a carry-on are 22″ x 14″ x 9″.
If you are not sure what size your carry on is, United Airlines does provide size check templates located at their ticket counters and gates. But by the time you get to either of these locations it’s too late if the bag is too big, so better to always know your bag size in advance.
United Airlines Carry-On Weight Limits
As a rule, United Airlines does not impose weight restrictions with a carry-on bag.
United Airlines Carry-On Rules for Regional Planes
United Airlines regional partner airlines use smaller planes with limited overhead space. If your carry-on is larger than the personal item dimensions, you must gate check your bag before boarding.
All carry-on bags within United Airlines’ size restrictions will be gate checked, free of charge, during the boarding process and returned upon deplaning. Depending on the time of year and where you are flying to, this will give you the opportunity to hang out with 50 of your newest friends in either a steaming hot or freezing cold jet bridge. Fun!
Despite this “official rule” there are some bags you can carry on to a regional jet. Check out this article on the best carry-on luggage for regional jets.
United Airlines Carry-On Prohibited Items
There certain items are considered dangerous and classified as hazardous material. Dangerous goods are prohibited from both your carry-on and checked bag in all United Airlines flights. These rules are not specific to United Airlines and are mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
United Airlines Carry-On Liquids
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the TSA and FAA. United Airlines doesn’t make the rules, but they must enforce them.
The TSA 3-1-1 Rule
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.
Any liquid that does not meet the TSA 3-1-1 rule will either have to be checked with your luggage or will be thrown away at the security check point.
Here is a little video to help illustrate:
Can You Bring Food on a United Airlines Flight?
There are two different scenarios here. Food you bring with you from home and food you buy at the airport, after you have gone through security.
An important thing to note is the classification of liquid vs. solid foods. A general rule of thumb is “If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it, then it’s considered a liquid or gel,”. This means your food may be considered a liquid and will fall under the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule, which mandates that any liquid, gel, cream, aerosol, or paste in a carry-on must be 3.4 ounces or less, and fit in one quart-size resealable bag (only one such bag is allowed per passenger).
Here is a link to the TSA website advising what food can be brought with you on your United Airlines flight. This applies to food you are bringing from home through security. However, once you are through security, you can bring just about any food on the plane that you buy at the airport.
What is United Airlines Carry-On Pet Policy?
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 you and remain there at all times. The maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). The recommended maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm).
Does United Airlines Charge to Bring a Pet On Board With You?
Yes. There is a charge to bring a pet on board with you. Below is a chart showing the pet fees United Airlines charges each way. Double them for a round trip flight.
|To/From Destination||Pet Fee Each Way|
|Approved United Pet Carrying Destinations||$ 125.00|
Pets can’t be in-cabin on flights to, from or through Hawaii and these international cities, but they are allowed in-cabin on select United flights. Pit Bull breed dogs aren’t allowed in cabin.
Service animals has some separate guidelines. Here is a link to United Airlines’ service animal rules.
TSA Approved Pet Carrier for United Airlines
United Airlines Carry-On Fee
United Airlines does not charge a fee for carry-on baggage that meets their size requirements. If your bag is too large and does not meet United Airlines’ carry on restrictions, you may be charged a fee to gate check it.
Here is a link to United's Carry-On Rules page to make sure you have the most up to date information.
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- The Best Carry-On Bags for Regional and Small Jets
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