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United Airlines Baggage Fees and Tips on Covering the Expenses

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United has a pretty basic baggage policy all around, so you won’t find many surprises here. Overweight and oversized fees are on the higher side but, that being said, they’re consistent with most other major U.S. carriers.

Something to note: Economy fares are split into Basic or Full Economy, which is of importance when you consider the carry-on allowance. Otherwise, in terms of baggage, fees are pretty much the same across both.

United Airlines Carry-On Allowance

1 Personal Item: FREE
1 Standard Carry-on Bag:

  • Standard Economy: FREE
  • Basic Economy: No bag included (excluding South America, transatlantic/trans-Pacific flights where a standard carry-on is included*)

*Any Basic Economy Fare passenger that brings a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate will be required to check their bag and pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge; unless the said passenger is a Premier member or a qualifying MileagePlus credit card primary cardmember or a Star Alliance Gold member.

Size Restrictions

  • Personal: 17 x 10 x 9 inches (43 x 25 x 22 centimeters)
  • Carry-On: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 35 x 23 centimeters)

Lap Infant Carry-On Policy

  • Customers may carry the following infant and child articles on board, in addition to the maximum carry-on baggage allowance: 1 diaper bag, breast pump, or a government-approved child seat (infant carrying seat or car seat).

Stroller-Check Policy

  • United allows passengers to check 1 car seat and 1 stroller or folding wagon per child they’re traveling with, either at the ticket counter or at the gate, for free.
  • If your stroller is large or noncollapsible, or the wagon is non-folding, it has to be checked at the ticket counter (also free).
  • Car seats aren’t allowed in United Polaris business class on most Boeing 767, 777, or 787 aircraft.
  • Items such as a pack-and-play or collapsible crib must be checked at the ticket counter and are charged as baggage.

United Airlines Checked Baggage Allowance

All checked bags must weigh no more than 50 pounds (23 kilograms) for all economy and premium economy fares and 70 pounds (32 kilograms) for business, first, and Polaris and must adhere to maximum linear dimensions of 62 inches (158 centimeters). (“Maximum linear dimensions” is merely the number you get when you add together the length, width (or height), and depth of a piece of luggage. For example, if you have a suitcase that’s 26 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 16 inches deep, then its linear dimensions are 62 inches, or right at the maximum for many airlines.)

Instead of providing a hard and fast table to assess your baggage fees at a glance, United is now recommending all passengers use its official baggage fee calculator tool.

However, after doing some basic route searches, we found consistent fees as detailed in the table below (though you should use the baggage calculator to check your specific route).

For many routes, United now charges $5 more per bag when purchased at the airport rather than prepaying.

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Route

Economy (Basic, Plus, and Full)

Premium Economy

Business

First

Domestic U.S. and Canada, Central America (Excluding El Salvador, Panama), Caribbean (Excluding Cuba)

First bag: $35 ($40 for Canada)
Second bag: $45 ($50 for Canada)
3 or more bags: $150 ($200 for Canada)
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150 ($200 for Canada)
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150 ($200 for Canada)
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150 ($200 for Canada)

U.S. to/From Australia and New Zealand

First bag: FREE
Second bag: $100
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200

U.S. to/From Cuba

First bag: $30
Second bag: $100
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE

U.S. to/From East Asia (Excluding China)

First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE ($100 in Basic Economy)
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200

U.S. to/From China

First bag: FREE ($75 in Basic Economy)
Second bag: $100
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200

U.S. to/From El Salvador

First Bag: FREE ($35 Basic Economy)
Second Bag: $45
3+ Bags: $200
First Bag: FREE
Second Bag: FREE
3+ Bags: $200
First Bag: FREE
Second Bag: FREE
3+ Bags: $200
First Bag: FREE
Second Bag: FREE
3+ Bags: $200

U.S. to/From Europe

First bag: FREE ($75 in Basic Economy)
Second bag: $100
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200

U.S. to/From the Middle East

First bag: FREE ($75 in Basic Economy)
Second bag: $100 (FREE for Dubai)
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $200

U.S. to/From India

First bag: FREE ($75 in Basic Economy)
Second bag: $200
3 or more bags: $300
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $300
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $300
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $300

U.S. to/From Panama

First bag: FREE ($35 in Basic Economy)
Second bag: $45
3 or more bags: $150
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150

U.S. to/From South America

First bag: $0 to $30 ($45 to $70 in Basic Economy)
Second bag: $40 to $100
3 or more bags: $150
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150
First bag: FREE
Second bag: FREE
3 or more bags: $150

Additional and Excess Baggage Fees

As with checked luggage fees, United recommends all passengers use its official baggage fee calculator tool for excess baggage fees.

We ran some searches and found consistent fees for the destinations below, but we advise you to check the baggage calculator for your specific route, as this could vary based on your departure airport.

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Route

Oversized Bags 63 to 115 Linear Inches

Overweight Bags 51 to 70 Pounds

Overweight Bags 71 to 100 Pounds

Domestic U.S. and Canada

$200

$100

$200

U.S. to/From the Caribbean (Excluding Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba)

$200

$200

$400

U.S. to/From Central America (Excluding Mexico and El Salvador)

$200

$200

$400

U.S. to/From Cuba (Except Havana)

$200

$200

$400

U.S. to/From East Asia

$200

$200

$400

U.S. to/From Australia and New Zealand

$200

$200

N/A

U.S. to/From El Salvador

$300

$300

$500

U.S. to/From Europe, the Middle East (Excluding Israel), or South Africa

$200

$200

N/A

U.S. to/From India

$300

$300

$400

U.S. to/From Mexico

$200

$100

$200

U.S. to/From Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands

$200

$100

$200

U.S. to/From South America

$200

$200

$400

For baggage fees related to special luggage (sporting equipment, musical instruments, etc.), please refer to United’s policy.

Can I Prepay for Baggage?

United Airlines does allow passengers to prepay for luggage online or via the mobile app:

Here are the ways you can prepay:

Exclusions and Waivers

Use the United Airlines baggage calculator to check for any exclusions and waivers for your route.

Here are the Premier Member Status free weight allowances for the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S Virgin Islands:

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Cabin and Route

Premier Silver

Premier Gold

Premier Platinum

Premier 1K

Economy Travel Between the U.S. and Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central America

1 bag weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

2 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

Economy Travel Between the U.S. and South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa

2 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms

All Premium Cabin Travel

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

3 bags weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)

Travel companions of MileagePlus Premier members have the same exemptions as the Premier member whose status provides the benefit, as long as they are traveling on the same reservation.

The above exclusion and waivers may have seasonal exceptions or limits. Refer to United’s baggage policy.

Star Alliance Gold Members: 

  • Domestic Flights:
    • Economy Cabin: First checked bag free (50 pounds)
    • Premium Economy Cabin: 3 free Checked bags (50 pounds)
    • Business or First Cabin: 3 free Checked bags (70 pounds)
  • International Flights:
    • Economy Cabin: 2 free checked bags (50 pounds)
    • Premium Economy: 3 free checked bags (50 pounds)
    • Business or First Cabin: 3 free Checked bags (70 pounds)

Active U.S. Military Personnel

  • Personal travel: 3 checked bags FREE (70 pounds, 62 linear inches)
  • Military dependent with travel orders: 2 checked bags FREE (70 pounds, 62 linear inches)
  • Military orders: 5 checked bags FREE (100 pounds, 115 linear inches)

Dependents of active U.S. military personnel have the same exemptions as the military service member whose status provides the benefit, as long as they are traveling on the same reservation. If the dependent is traveling because of official orders, the exemption applies. If dependents are traveling on their own for personal reasons, they’re subject to the normal baggage allowance and fees based on the purchased ticket type.

Credit Cards That Give You a Free Checked Bag With United Airlines

There are several United co-branded credit cards that waive checked baggage fees on United flights. There are even 3 cards that will waive the fee for 2 checked bags.

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Credit Card

Checked Bag Benefit Details

United Club℠ Business Card

2 free checked bags for you and 1 companion on your itinerary

United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Quest℠ Card

United℠ Business Card

1 free checked bag for you and 1 companion on your itinerary

United℠ Explorer Business Card (no longer available for new applications)

United℠ Explorer Card


To see more airline baggage fees and policies, click here.

The information regarding the United Club℠ Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the United℠ Explorer Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to check a bag on United?

Although United recommends you check its baggage calculator for checked baggage fees, the following costs seem pretty consistent: Economy $35 for domestic flights and to or from Canada ($40) and Mexico. To Europe, it’s $0 to $75 depending on your fare type, and 2 or more bags are charged at a higher cost. For business and first class, 2 free bags are included across all routes.

Are checked bags free on United?

Checked bags are free for business and first class passengers across all destinations. Economy passengers to Europe and other long-haul destinations receive 1 to 2 checked bags for free. Check United’s baggage calculator to check the allowance for your route. If you’ve booked an Economy Basic fare then you will not have any free checked baggage allowance included.

How many bags can you carry on United?

All passengers traveling United can bring 1 personal item onboard measuring up to 17 x 10 x 9 inches. All fare types excluding Basic Economy are permitted to also bring 1 standard carry-on bag up to 22 x 14 x 9 inches (this excludes Basic Economy for South America and transatlantic or trans-Pacific flights where a standard carry-on is included).

How much is excess baggage on United Airlines?

If your checked baggage is oversized, then United will charge you $200 to $300 per bag (up to 115 inches in linear dimensions). Charges for overweight baggage depend on your route and generally are $100 to $300 for bags weighing 51 to 70 pounds and $200 to $500 for bags weighing 71 to 100 pounds.

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About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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