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How Much Can My Suitcase Weigh On United Airlines


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Corabelle Wojciechowski



Traveling can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it’s important to be familiar with the baggage policies of the airlines you’re flying with. This is especially true when it comes to the weight limits for your luggage. Understanding these limits and planning accordingly can help you avoid unnecessary baggage fees and ensure a smooth journey with United Airlines.


United Airlines is one of the largest and most popular airlines in the world, serving millions of passengers each year. To ensure a comfortable and safe journey for all passengers, United has specific regulations in place regarding the weight of both carry-on and checked luggage.


In this article, we will explore United Airlines’ baggage policy and shed light on the weight limits for carry-on and checked baggage. We will also discuss the repercussions of exceeding the weight limits and provide helpful tips to avoid any additional fees or complications during your travel.


Understanding and complying with United Airlines’ baggage policy will not only save you from unnecessary expenses but also contribute to a hassle-free travel experience. So, let’s dive into the details and make sure your suitcase is within the weight limits imposed by United Airlines.


United Airlines Baggage Policy

Before embarking on your journey with United Airlines, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with their baggage policy. This policy outlines the rules and regulations regarding the size, weight, and number of bags allowed both in the cabin and as checked luggage.


United Airlines operates under a weight-based baggage policy, meaning that the weight of your luggage is a primary factor in determining whether it can be brought as a carry-on or needs to be checked. The policy varies depending on the type of ticket you have purchased, your destination, and your loyalty status with United Airlines.


When it comes to carry-on baggage, United Airlines allows passengers to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item on board. The maximum dimensions for the carry-on bag should not exceed 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm), including handles and wheels. The personal item, such as a purse, laptop bag, or briefcase, should fit under the seat in front of you.


For checked baggage, United Airlines follows a weight limit system. The weight limits for checked bags may vary depending on your ticket class, destination, and loyalty status. Typically, the weight limit for checked bags is 50 pounds (23 kg) for Economy class, 70 pounds (32 kg) for Business class, and 70 pounds (32 kg) for First class. However, it’s always best to check the specific baggage allowance for your particular flight, as there may be exceptions and variations.


It’s important to note that if you are traveling on a Basic Economy fare, there may be additional restrictions on both carry-on and checked baggage. These restrictions are usually more stringent, such as only allowing a personal item on board and charging extra fees for checked bags.


Now that you have a better understanding of United Airlines’ baggage policy, let’s delve into the weight limits for carry-on and checked baggage in more detail.


Carry-On Baggage Weight Limit

When it comes to carry-on baggage, United Airlines has a weight limit in addition to the size restrictions. The weight limit can vary depending on your destination and the class of service you are flying in.


In general, United Airlines allows passengers to bring a carry-on bag with a maximum weight of 40 pounds (18 kg). This weight includes both the bag itself and its contents. It’s important to note that this weight limit applies to the majority of flights operated by United Airlines, but there may be exceptions for certain international flights or specific ticket classes.


It’s crucial to ensure that your carry-on bag does not exceed the weight limit to avoid any additional fees or the need to check the bag instead. United Airlines strictly enforces these weight restrictions, as it is necessary for safe and efficient boarding processes. Additionally, keeping within the weight limit ensures that you can easily lift and store your carry-on bag in the overhead bin without assistance.


Although the weight limit for carry-on bags is 40 pounds (18 kg), it’s essential to be mindful of weight distribution for your own comfort and safety. Carrying a heavy bag can strain your back and shoulders, especially if you have a long journey ahead. Therefore, it is generally recommended to pack your carry-on bag as lightly as possible while still ensuring you have all the essential items you need for your flight.


To make the most of your carry-on allowance, consider packing compact and lightweight travel essentials. Opt for versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched, and pack travel-size toiletries to save space and weight. Investing in a lightweight suitcase can also help to minimize the overall weight of your carry-on bag.


By adhering to the carry-on baggage weight limit and strategically packing your belongings, you can enjoy a hassle-free boarding experience and have everything you need within easy reach during your flight.


Checked Baggage Weight Limit

When it comes to checked baggage, United Airlines operates under a weight limit system. The weight limit for checked bags may vary depending on your ticket class, loyalty status, and destination.


For passengers traveling in Economy class, the standard weight limit for checked bags is 50 pounds (23 kilograms). This weight restriction ensures that bags are manageable for baggage handlers and allows for efficient and safe handling during the flight. It’s important to note that exceeding the weight limit can result in additional fees, so it’s essential to pack wisely and distribute your belongings evenly to stay within the allowed weight.


If you are flying Business class or First class, you may have a higher weight limit for your checked bags. United Airlines typically allows 70 pounds (32 kilograms) for Business and First class passengers. This gives you more flexibility and allows for a more comfortable travel experience.


It’s crucial to check your specific flight details and ticket class to confirm the exact weight limit for your checked baggage. You can find this information on your booking confirmation or on the United Airlines website. Additionally, if you are a member of United Airlines’ frequent flyer program or have a certain loyalty status, you may be entitled to additional baggage allowances or exemptions from excess baggage fees.


As you pack your checked bags, it’s important to keep in mind that weight distribution is key. Distributing the weight evenly throughout your luggage can make it easier for baggage handlers to transport and load your bags onto the aircraft. It’s also a wise idea to secure your belongings within your suitcase using packing cubes or straps to prevent any shifting of weight during transit.


If you find that your checked bags exceed the weight limit, United Airlines offers solutions for overweight baggage. You have the option to pay an additional fee for the excess weight, or you can redistribute the weight among other bags to ensure compliance with the weight limit. However, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the excess baggage fees and policies to avoid any surprises at the airport.


By adhering to the checked baggage weight limit and packing efficiently, you can have a smooth and hassle-free travel experience with United Airlines.


Additional Fees for Overweight Baggage

If your baggage exceeds the weight limit set by United Airlines, you may be subject to additional fees for overweight baggage. These fees are designed to ensure safe and efficient handling of luggage and to encourage passengers to pack within the specified weight limits.


The fees for overweight baggage vary depending on the weight of the bag and your destination. United Airlines charges a fee per bag, which increases as the weight of the bag exceeds the allowed limit. It’s important to note that these fees can add up quickly, so it’s best to pack wisely and be mindful of the weight of your luggage.


If you anticipate that your bag may be overweight, it’s advisable to weigh your luggage before arriving at the airport. This way, you can make any necessary adjustments or decisions before checking in. You can also consider using luggage scales or a bathroom scale at home to ensure you stay within the weight limits.


Should you find that your bag exceeds the weight limit, there are a few options available to avoid or reduce the additional fees. One option is to redistribute some weight from the overweight bag to your other luggage or carry-on bag (if it is within the weight limit). This can help balance the weight and bring the bag within the allowed limit.


Alternatively, you can choose to pay the excess baggage fee for the overweight bag. While this option incurs an additional cost, it allows you to keep all your belongings together in one bag. The specific fees for overweight baggage can be found on the United Airlines website or by contacting their customer service directly.


To avoid surprises and potential extra costs, it’s always recommended to pack efficiently and stay within the weight limits set by United Airlines. Consider packing lighter items or removing non-essential items from your luggage to help keep the weight down. You can also consider using compression bags or vacuum-sealed bags to minimize the bulk and weight of your belongings.


By being mindful of the weight of your baggage and understanding the potential fees for overweight bags, you can have a more cost-effective and stress-free travel experience with United Airlines.


Exemptions and Special Considerations

While United Airlines has specific baggage weight limits in place, there are certain exemptions and special considerations that you should be aware of. These exemptions may apply to certain types of passengers or specific circumstances.


One common exemption is for passengers who have purchased certain ticket classes or have attained a certain loyalty status with United Airlines. Business class and First class passengers often have a higher weight limit for both carry-on and checked baggage. Additionally, members of United Airlines’ frequent flyer program, MileagePlus, may be eligible for increased baggage allowances or waived excess baggage fees.


Another exemption is for certain items that are considered essential, such as medical equipment or assistive devices. United Airlines allows passengers to bring these items on board or as checked baggage without them counting towards the weight limit. However, it’s important to inform the airline in advance and provide any necessary documentation to ensure a smooth experience at the airport.


Special considerations are also made for sports equipment and musical instruments. United Airlines has specific guidelines and policies for these items, including weight limits and additional fees. It’s crucial to review the guidelines and requirements for transporting such items to ensure compliance and prevent any unnecessary complications during your journey.


Passengers traveling with infants or young children are often granted additional allowances, such as a diaper bag or a stroller. These items are generally exempt from the weight limit and can be brought on board or checked without incurring extra fees.


If you believe you may qualify for an exemption or have a special circumstance that requires consideration, it’s essential to reach out to United Airlines directly. Their customer service agents will be able to provide you with detailed information and assist you in understanding any specific requirements or limitations.


Remember to always check the latest updates and guidelines from United Airlines regarding exemptions and special considerations, as policies may change over time. By being aware of these exemptions and considering any special circumstances, you can ensure a smoother travel experience with United Airlines.


Tips to Avoid Exceeding Weight Limits

Staying within the weight limits set by United Airlines can help you avoid additional fees and ensure a stress-free travel experience. Here are some helpful tips to help you pack efficiently and avoid exceeding the weight limits:

  1. Pack only what you need: Before you start packing, make a list of essential items and prioritize them. Be mindful of not overpacking and including unnecessary items that will only add unnecessary weight to your luggage.
  2. Invest in a lightweight suitcase: Opt for a lightweight suitcase to minimize the weight of the bag itself. Look for suitcases made from lightweight materials such as polycarbonate or nylon.
  3. Use packing cubes: Packing cubes can help you stay organized and maximize the space in your luggage. By compressing your clothing and items using packing cubes, you can reduce unnecessary bulk and weight.
  4. Wear bulky items: If you’re traveling with bulky items such as a winter coat or boots, consider wearing them instead of packing them in your suitcase. This can free up space and decrease the weight of your checked or carry-on bag.
  5. Minimize toiletries: Instead of bringing full-size bottles of toiletries, opt for travel-sized containers or purchase items at your destination. This can help reduce the weight of your toiletries and free up space in your bag.
  6. Weigh your luggage before leaving home: Use a luggage scale or a bathroom scale to weigh your luggage before heading to the airport. This will give you an idea of whether your bags are within the weight limits or if you need to make any adjustments.
  7. Consider shipping items: If you’re traveling with bulky or heavy items that are not essential for your trip, it may be more cost-effective to ship them to your destination instead of packing them in your luggage. This can help you stay within the weight limits and avoid any additional fees at the airport.
  8. Distribute weight evenly: If you’re traveling with multiple bags, distribute the weight evenly among them. This can help ensure that no single bag exceeds the weight limit and makes it easier for you to handle your luggage during your journey.

By following these tips, you can pack efficiently and avoid exceeding the weight limits set by United Airlines. Remember to check the specific weight limits for your ticket class and destination before you pack, as they may vary. Planning ahead and packing strategically will help you have a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.



Understanding and adhering to United Airlines’ baggage weight limits is essential for a seamless and hassle-free travel experience. By familiarizing yourself with the policies and guidelines outlined by the airline, you can avoid additional fees, ensure the safety of your luggage, and make the most of your journey.


Remember to pack efficiently and consider the weight of your belongings when preparing for your trip. Utilize lightweight suitcases, packing cubes, and travel-sized items to optimize space and minimize weight. Distribute the weight evenly among your bags, and consider wearing bulky items or shipping non-essential items separately to stay within the limits.


If you find that your luggage exceeds the weight limits despite your efforts, be prepared to pay additional fees or redistribute the weight among your bags. You can check United Airlines’ website or contact their customer service for specific information on excess baggage fees and requirements.


Lastly, stay informed about any exemptions or special considerations that may apply to your situation, such as special allowances for business or first-class passengers, medical equipment, or musical instruments. Taking advantage of these exemptions can help you navigate the baggage policies more effectively.


Ultimately, by adhering to the weight limits set by United Airlines, you can have a smoother, stress-free travel experience, and avoid any unnecessary complications along the way. Happy travels!