United Carry On Weight Limit – How Strict Is United With Carry On Size And Limit?

United Carry On Weight Limit - How Strict Is United With Carry On Size And Limit

Are you tired of struggling to fit all your belongings into your carry-on bag? Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get away with bringing oversized bags onto the plane while others are forced to check their luggage? The answer lies in understanding the United carry-on weight limit.

In this article, we will explore the United carry-on weight limit and provide you with tips and tricks for packing smartly.

What Is The United Carry-On Weight Limit?

The carry-on weight limit for United Airlines varies depending on the fare class and passenger type. Economy and Basic Economy fare passengers are allowed to bring carry-on bags that weigh no more than 50 lbs (23 kg) and measure no more than 62 inches (158 cm) in total. 

However, higher fare classes like Business and First, as well as active US military personnel, are permitted to carry bags weighing up to 70 lbs (32 kg). 

In the case of US military personnel on official business, they are allowed to check luggage measuring up to 115 inches (292 cm) in total. 

These weight and size restrictions are in place to ensure the safety and efficiency of the aircraft and to provide a fair and consistent policy for all passengers.

Here’s a table showing different types of luggage, their weights, and whether they are allowed on United Airlines:

Luggage Type Weight Limit (lbs) Allowed on United Airlines
Carry-On Bag Max 40 lbs Yes
Personal Item N/A Yes
Checked Bag (Standard) Max 50 lbs Yes
Checked Bag (Overweight) 51 – 70 lbs Yes, with additional fee
Checked Bag (Oversized) > 62 linear inches Yes, with additional fee
Checked Bag (Very Oversized) > 115 linear inches No
Extra Bag N/A Yes, with additional fee
Sports Equipment Varies Yes, with restrictions
Musical Instruments Varies Yes, with restrictions

How Strict Is United With Carry-On Size And Limit?

How Strict Is United With Carry-On Size And Limit?
Photo by Arkin Si on Unsplash

United Airlines is known to be relatively strict when it comes to carry-on size and limits. They have specific dimensions and weight restrictions for both carry-on luggage and personal items. United Airlines employs gate agents and flight attendants who are trained to enforce these size and weight restrictions. 

Moreover, they may require passengers to check their bags if they do not meet the requirements. 

The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are typically 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches. 

Moreover, the weight limit is usually around 40 pounds. Personal items like purses or laptop bags must be able to fit under the seat in front of you.

How Strict Are United With Your Carry-On Bag On Standard Economy Tickets?

United is strict with carry-on bag regulations on standard economy tickets. Passengers are allowed to bring one personal item and one carry-on bag on board. The personal item should fit under the seat in front of you, while the carry-on bag should fit in the overhead bin. 

The dimensions for the carry-on bag should not exceed 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. 

If your bag exceeds these dimensions or if the overhead bins are full, you may be asked to check your bag at the gate, which could result in additional fees. 

What Is A Personal Item With United Airlines?

A personal item refers to a small bag or item that passengers are allowed to bring onboard in addition to their carry-on baggage. United Airlines defines a personal item as a purse, briefcase, laptop bag, or small backpack that can fit under the seat in front of the passenger. 

This personal item should not exceed the dimensions of 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. 

Tip 📌: Check the airline’s website or contact their customer service for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

How Strict Is United With Carry-On & Personal Item Size?

United is generally strict with carry-on and personal item sizes. They have specific dimensions and weight restrictions for both items. United has size check templates at their gates to ensure that carry-on bags and personal items meet the requirements before checking the luggage in.

The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. 

The maximum dimensions for a personal item are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm). Additionally, the combined weight of both items should not exceed 50 pounds (23 kg). 

Note📝: Enforcement may vary depending on the flight and the gate agent.

Here’s a table showing different carry-on sizes and whether they are allowed on United Airlines:

Carry-On Size Dimensions (in inches) Allowed on United Airlines Additional Notes
Personal Item Max 9 x 10 x 17 Yes Must fit under the seat in front.
Standard Carry-On Max 9 x 14 x 22 Yes Fits in overhead bin.
Oversized Carry-On Exceeds 9 x 14 x 22 No Excessive size may not be allowed.
Garment Bag Varies Yes, with restrictions Check size and foldability.
Rolling Backpack Varies Yes Must meet size requirements.
Duffel Bag Varies Yes Check dimensions and flexibility.
Laptop Bag Max 9 x 10 x 17 Yes Additionally to personal item.
Small Pet Carrier Varies Yes, with restrictions Check pet travel guidelines.
Diaper Bag Varies Yes Allowance for traveling with infants.
Musical Instrument Varies Yes, with restrictions Check instrument size and guidelines.
Medical Equipment Varies Yes, with requirements Notify airline in advance.
Child Restraint Seat Varies Yes Must be FAA-approved.

Why Are United Airlines Strict About Their Personal Items?

United is strict about personal items because they want to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers on their flights. The regulations help to prevent any potential hazards or disruptions during the flight. Additionally, the restrictions help to maintain order and efficiency during the boarding and disembarking process. 

United Airlines has clear guidelines on what can be brought on board and how it should be stored. This helps to create a seamless and pleasant travel experience for all passengers.

What Happens If Your Personal Item Is Too Big Or Oversized?

Firstly, you may have to pay a checked bag fee. Since your item may no longer be considered a personal item and instead be treated as a regular checked bag. Additionally, you have to pay a gate-checking fee to be allowed to bring your oversized item to the gate. 

Lastly, if your item is too large to fit in the cabin, it may need to be transferred to the airplane’s cargo hold, which could result in potential delays in retrieving your item upon arrival. 

It is important to check the airline’s specific guidelines and restrictions regarding personal item size to avoid any unexpected fees or inconveniences.

Can You Bring a Carry-On For a United Basic Economy Flight?

The answer is no. United Basic Economy is a lower fare option that restricts the ability to bring a full-sized carry-on bag on board. Passengers are only allowed to bring a personal item that fits under the seat in front of them such as a small backpack or purse.

Any additional bags or larger carry-on items will need to be checked at the gate and may incur additional fees. 

How To Avoid Baggage Fees on United Airlines?


How To Avoid Baggage Fees on United Airlines?
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

You can consider traveling with only a carry-on bag, as United allows one personal item and one carry-on bag for free. Another option is to become a MileagePlus Premier member or a United credit card holder, as these individuals may be eligible for waived baggage fees.

Here, is a detailed guide for you to be able to save on the baggage fees on United Airlines:

  • Premium Cabin Travelers

If you are flying in United’s premium cabins such as Polaris, Global First, or United BusinessFirst, you will receive two free checked bags and one carry-on item at no extra charge. 

This makes it even more comforting when investing in a ticket with a higher price tag.

  • Elite Members: 

Elite members of United MileagePlus will also receive free checked bag privileges

Depending on your status, you can receive anywhere from one to three free checked bags when flying with United, depending on your elite status tier.

  • Military Members: 

Active duty military members are eligible to receive two free checked bags when flying with United. 

All you need to do is show your military ID at the ticket counter when checking in.

  • United Airlines Credit Cards: 

Several credit cards issued by United Airlines include checked baggage fee waivers as part of their benefits package. 

This includes the United Explorer Card and the United MileagePlus Club Card, which both come with two free checked bags for the primary cardholder and one travel companion on the same reservation.

  • Credit Cards That Cover Airline Incidentals: 

Another way to avoid checked baggage fees is by using a credit card that offers airline incidental reimbursement. 

These cards offer a set amount of credit for airline incidentals each year, and you can use it to pay for such expenses as checked baggage fees.

  • United Baggage Subscription: 

United Airlines also offers an annual baggage subscription service, which gives you unlimited checked bag fees for a flat annual rate. 

This can be a great way to save money if you plan to travel often throughout the year.

  • Use Miles or Points: 

Finally, United Airlines allows you to pay for your checked baggage fees with either miles or points from their MileagePlus program. 

You can use your miles to pay for up to two checked bags on each ticket. This is a great way to save money if you have enough miles or points in your account.

Should You Risk Flying On United With An Oversized Carry-On?

The answer is no, it is not advisable to risk flying on United with an oversized carry-on. It is important to consider the airline’s policies and potential consequences, such as being required to check the bag or pay additional fees. 

Additionally, one should assess the size and weight of the carry-on and whether it is within the limits set by the airline. 

Furthermore, if United decides to conduct a spot check at the gate, you may be required to fit your bag into a steel cage to ensure it meets the size requirements. 

If your bag does not fit, you may be forced to check it, which can be inconvenient and may 

What Is United Airlines’ Carry-On Liquid Policy?

United Airlines has made it easy by following the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) 3-1-1 rule. This rule states that each passenger is allowed to bring one quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less in their carry-on luggage. 

This bag must be placed in a separate clear plastic bag from the rest of your carry-on items and should have no more than one liter of fluids.

Any liquids that are larger than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) will need to be checked into your baggage and transported to the cargo area of the plane. 

Additionally, aerosol products such as hairspray and deodorant must also be checked into your baggage if they exceed 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters).

What Happens If You Lose Your Bag On United Flights?

If you lose your bag with United Airlines, there is a process in place to help reimburse you for the value of your bag, its contents, and any fees you paid to check the bag. However, there are certain conditions and requirements that need to be met. 

If United is unable to locate your bag within five days, they will reimburse you for the lost items. It is important to keep receipts as they may be required for the reimbursement process. 

Note📝: It is worth noting that there may be certain items that are not eligible for reimbursement. 

Additionally, depending on the specifics of your trip, there may be maximum claim limits that apply.


Does United Allow Baby Equipment?

Yes, United Airlines allows baby equipment such as standard strollers, folding wagons, and car seats. These items can be used to get to your gate and then checked for free. United Airlines will return the checked baby equipment to you upon arrival. 

Additionally, collapsible strollers can be stored in-cabin, and car seats can be used onboard your flight.

Does United Allow Sports Equipment?

The answer is yes. However, it is important to note that the equipment will count towards your checked bag allowance and may be subject to additional fees. It is recommended to check with United Airlines directly or refer to their website for specific information on size and weight restrictions.

How Many Bags Does United Allow On Domestic Or International Flights?

United allows one free checked bag (weighing up to 50 pounds) on domestic flights. However, on international flights, United allows 2 to 3 free checked bags, each weighing up to 50 pounds. The number of free checked bags allowed on international flights may vary. 

How Do You Know Your Carry-On Luggage Size?

Refer to the standard domestic carry-on luggage size, which is typically 22″ x 14″ x 9″. This measurement includes the handle and the wheels of the bag. Adhere to this size limit to ensure that your bag can be safely stored in the overhead bin during your flight. 

Does United Economy Allow Full Size Carry-On?

Yes, passengers are allowed to bring one full-sized carry-on bag that measures 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm). In addition, one personal item that measures 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches. 

However, if you are traveling on a Basic Economy ticket, you will only be allowed to bring a personal item on board. Moreover, will not be permitted to bring a full-sized carry-on bag.


In conclusion, United Airlines enforces a carry-on weight limit of 50 pounds and a specific size limit. Adhering to these limits ensures a smoother boarding process and proper storage of carry-on items. While United is generally vigilant about enforcing these rules, exceptions may apply based on factors like elite status and fare class. 

It’s wise to check United’s official guidelines and prepare accordingly to avoid any inconvenience or additional fees associated with oversized or overweight carry-on bags.

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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