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 October 1, 2021, 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.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

Scroll to top