United Airlines Check in Tips & Tricks


Air travel can be confusing, but shouldn’t be. Flying United, a reputable American-based airline, should be straightforward and non-complicated. Here are a few simple tips to help make your check-in process go smoothly.

Checking in at the Main Terminal

According to United.com, arrive at the airport at least 60 minutes before your flight time if you are not checking bags, and 90 minutes before your flight if you are checking bags. For international flights, arrive at least 2 hours early to have adequate time for bag check and passport check. United Airlines reserves the right to cancel your seat assignment on international flights if you are not checked in at least 30 to 60 minutes before your scheduled flight time (depending on your final destination). Make sure if you are connecting via another airline to make special arrangements with United if you will not be at your connection airport at least an hour before your international flight departs.

Upon arrival at the airport, look for the United Easy Check-In Kiosks. From here, you can print your boarding passes, get on a standby flight, change seat assignments, add a Mileage Plus number to your flight and more. To pull up your reservation, swipe any major credit card. This will not charge your card, and it does not need to be the card you purchased the flight with. It is used to pull up your name only.

If you are checking baggage, a United representative will call out your name after you print your boarding passes. They will check your ID and take your luggage, and you will then proceed to security.

Identification Required

For domestic travel, you must have one valid U.S. or state-issued identification card, such as a driver's license, passport or military ID. For international travel, you must present a valid passport. For more specifics on United’s policy on identification, visit their website and search for “travel requirements and regulations.”

Baggage Policies

Baggage fees differ for domestic and international flights. For domestic flight, the fee is $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second bag. For international flights, the first bag is free, and the second bag will cost $50 after December 15, 2009. Each passenger is allowed one carry-on and one personal item, such as a laptop or a purse.


Wait times at security gates can vary depending on the day of the week and the time of the day. Peak wait times vary by airport, but are usually highest on weekends in the mornings and early afternoon. Peak times can add a wait of 40 minutes or more, so if you are traveling at a peak time, arrive early to account for any lines encountered.

In order to ensure a smooth process through security, make sure you have a valid photo ID and your boarding pass readily available. Make sure that your shoes are removed for security, and any metal products are removed and placed into a bin to put through the scanner.

Layovers and Transfers

Check the flight information monitors upon exiting your flight for up to the minute information on upcoming arrivals and departures. You will be able to see when your next flight is leaving and what gate it is leaving from. At major airports, there will be United Airlines kiosks with representatives who can help guide you to your next flight, if necessary.

At major airports throughout the United States, United’s EasyInfo displays will be available at your gate. These will display information about your upcoming flight, including type of plane, meals served, departure time, weather conditions at arrival destination and miles accrued.

You will not need a valid form of ID once you have cleared security at your origination point. You will need a boarding pass to board the next leg of your trip.

For More Information

Visit United’s website at www.united.com for additional information on their check-in procedures. Click on the “Services and Information” tab.

Also, you can call United at 1-800-United1 for phone support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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