10 Tips to Make Your Travel Easy with United - United Hub

10 tips to make your travel easy

By The Hub team

You've booked your plane ticket and are looking forward to starting your vacation. You may already be wise to the benefits of booking your flight well in advance — so here are ten tips to make sure your travel plans are seamless.

1. Get equipped for a smooth journey with the handy United app

Download the United mobile app prior to your flight to check flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. If you're registered for TSA Pre✓®, this will be indicated on your mobile boarding pass in the app. You can even use our airport maps to find a beverage or snack prior to boarding. TSA advises arriving at the airport early.

2. Make sure your bags are fit to fly

Pack smart. Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. Also, familiarize yourself with regulation-size bags to avoid having to pay extra for oversized items.

If you are planning to travel with food, be aware that food items may require further TSA inspection. If you're not sure if a food item is considered a liquid or a gel, it is best to pack the item in your checked bag or ship it to your destination in advance.

Also, be advised that hoverboards, smart wheels and other self-balancing recreational devices powered by lithium batteries are not accepted as checked or carry-on baggage. Spare lithium batteries must be removed from any checked or gate-checked baggage. You must also remove lithium batteries that are part of bags themselves (sometimes referred to as "smart bags") from both checked and carry-on baggage. Once removed, you can bring these batteries on board. Bags with non-removable lithium batteries are not allowed on any United flights, including United Express® flights.

And to skip the wait at the baggage carousel, try BagsVIP, our door-to-door baggage delivery service.

Woman traveling through an airport

3. Read our information about special travel requests

Have a special request? Learn about the accommodations we provide for children, pets, travelers with disabilities, travelers with food allergies and more.

Do you need a wheelchair at the airport? We have wheelchairs available for customers with disabilities to use at each of our airports. It's best to request a wheelchair in advance before the day you're traveling. You can arrange wheelchair service through your travel agent or by calling the United Accessibility Desk at 1-800-228-2744 within the U.S. or Canada. Once you arrive at the airport, notify a United representative or skycap that you need a wheelchair to get you to your departure gate, and they will assist you.

4. Check in starting 24 hours before departure

Save time with mobile check-in. You can check in and receive your boarding pass directly on your mobile device by using the United app or by accessing our mobile website at m.united.com. With your boarding pass right on your device, you simply scan the barcode at airport security checkpoints and at the gate during boarding.

You can also check in online and print out your boarding pass or request to have your boarding pass sent to your mobile device.

5. Ensure that you have all your personal items including necessary documentation

Make a checklist. Before heading out the door, double-check that you have all of your personal items, including travel documents, ID, house keys, medicine and other valuables you may need on your trip. For international travel, please make sure that you have all of the necessary documentation prior to arriving at the airport. For more information on international travel document requirements please visit our international travel page.

And starting May 3, 2023, you must have a REAL ID compliant card or an acceptable alternative such as a U.S. passport to travel domestically within the U.S.

6. Check flight status, important notices and weather

Hit refresh. Check the United app regularly for the latest updates, weather conditions, flight status, gate and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important notices page to find important information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.

Father and son traveling through airport

7. Give yourself extra time at the airport

Arrive early; avoid the stress. Airports can be busy, and you'll want to give yourself extra time before your flight. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel, in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.

To help everyone get through security lines as quickly as possible, please cooperate with TSA guidelines and have your boarding pass and identification ready before you get to the front of the line. For future trips, consider enrolling in a Trusted Traveler program for expedited security screening and customer processing.

8. Before you board

Get ready for "Better Boarding". Once you are through security, check the mobile app or the flight information displays for the latest gate assignments and boarding times. Arrive early to charge up your devices at available United charging stations, and make sure your personal items (such as your backpack or purse) contain your items such as ID, medicine, keys, e-cigarettes and other valuables. With our "Better Boarding" process, you'll receive push notifications to the United app when your flight starts boarding, and customers will board through two color-coded lanes to ensure you spend less time standing in line. We encourage you to make yourself comfortable while you wait for your group to be called, and we'll let you know when we're ready for you to board.

9. Explore your inflight Wi-Fi and entertainment options

Prepare to be entertained. We have a variety of entertainment options to choose from including our free personal device entertainment. You can check your flight status 48 hours before departure to peruse your Wi-Fi and entertainment options. Remember to do the following before you fly to access our streaming entertainment: 1) Download the United mobile app or ensure that you have the most recent version downloaded on your device 2) Fully charge your device prior to boarding 3) Pack your headphones to enjoy hours of entertainment.

10. Start your vacation onboard

Relax and enjoy your flight. Our teams will be working to provide you with a great journey to your destination.

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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