United Airlines Baggage Fees & Baggage Policy (Quick Guide)
Like most airlines, United has a basic baggage fee for standard checked bags and then a more extensive policy for oversized and odd-sized items. There also is a different policy for both checked bags and carry-on bags if you have a Basic Economy (cheapest) seat. While United offers an extensive resource for baggage policies on its site, the actual price for checked bags can be confusing, so we’re condensing it here to answer the most common baggage policy questions.
United Airlines Baggage Fees for Economy and Basic Economy Passengers
Domestic Flights (Flights within the United States):
If you are flying United as an Economy or Basic Economy passenger, in most cases when flying domestically your checked bag fees are as follows:
- $35 for the first checked bag under 50 lbs. ($30 if prepaid before getting to the airport)
- $45 for the second checked bag
IMPORTANT NOTES for Basic Economy Passengers:
- While Basic Economy passengers pay the same price for checked bags as other Economy passengers, Basic Economy passengers are NOT allowed to bring a full-size carry-on bag (which is usually a bigger bag that you put in the overhead bin) on board the airplane. Therefore, Basic Economy passengers are more likely to need to check a bag than other United passengers. (Basic Economy passengers can still bring a smaller personal item on board, such as a backpack, purse, etc., but for many trips this obviously won’t be sufficient and you’ll end up checking a larger bag.)
- If you are a Basic Economy passenger and you attempt to bring a full-size carry-on bag on board the plane, you will be forced to check the bag and may be charged an extra $25 “gate handling” charge on top of the checked-bag fee mentioned above, so this isn’t a policy you’ll want to try to sneak past.
For flights going to or coming from outside of the U.S., your checked bag fees will be different:
- Passengers with economy seats: First checked bag under 50 lbs. is free. The second checked bag is $100.
- Passengers with Basic Economy seats: First checked bag is $70, the second checked bag is $100.
Baggage Fees for Other Seat Classes, United Mileage Plus Members with Status, or Military
In most cases, you will not pay a checked bag fee on United if you are flying on a fare higher than standard Economy. In addition, as a Mileage Plus loyalty program member, you may avoid checked bag fees if you’ve reached certain status within the program.
Members of the military also do not pay checked bag fees.