United Airlines Baggage Policy

As a United Airlines passenger or frequent flier, you may be wondering how the United Airlines baggage policy works (airlines are changing the rules constantly and you're entitled to a certain sense of panic about your baggage). Get informed on what you're allowed to check-in and carry-on, and how much it’ll cost you. Follow these simple guidelines and avoid any unpleasant day-of surprises at check-in (frowning at attractive flight attendants isn't nearly as entertaining as flashing your best grin, winking and breezing through the baggage drop line).

According to United Airlines's hand baggage policy, the sum of each bag's length, width and height should be 45 inches or less. You're also allowed a personal item such as a man-purse, briefcase or laptop. A typical bag measurement might be fourteen by nine by 22. It must fit under your seat or in the overhead bin.  You're also allowed assistive devices like canes, child safety seats for ticketed children, coats, hats, umbrellas, reading material and food and beverages to be eaten on the flight. If you simply can't go anywhere without your cologne and hair products, chill, you're allowed liquids, gels and aerosols, but only in containers of three ounces or less in a liter sized plastic bag. Don't press the limits, unless you're willing to watch a TSA agent trash your favorite scents and hair gunk.

For flights within the United States, Canada and the US Virgin Islands, there is no such thing as a free ride (for your baggage) on United Airline flights. For non-member economy fliers, the first bag is $25 each way and the second is $35 each way. Baggage can weigh in at a maximum of 50 pounds and measure up to 62 linear inches (width plus height plus length). Your first bag of up to 50 pounds is free (included in the hefty ticket price) for United Airline flights outside North America and your second bag is $50 each way.

If you must travel with sporting goods or musical instruments on your next United Airlines voyage, don’t despair. Per United's checked baggage policy, many are considered an equivalent to a checked bag (water and snow skis, skate and snowboards, fishing, golfing and bowling equipment, musical instruments) and those that aren’t (antlers, anyone?) can often be checked for an extra fee. Want to fly with something that’s too bulky or fragile to check, say a papier-mâché big-foot? You can buy it a ticket and be fly buddies.  

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