10 tips to make summer travel a breeze
It's time for a vacation. You've booked your plane ticket and you're looking forward to beaches, boardwalks, relaxing by a pool and connecting with family and friends. You may already be wise to the benefits of booking your flight well in advance — so here are ten tips to make sure your vacation 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. The TSA advises arriving at the airport early in anticipation of long security lines.
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. Planes are usually full during vacation season and you'll want to avoid having to check bags last minute that you intended to carry on. Also, familiarize yourself with regulation-size bags to avoid having to pay extra for oversized items. And, you can take it one step further by using BagsVIP, our door-to-door baggage delivery service.
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. We can accept hard-sided ventilated coolers as checked baggage, but can't accept Styrofoam coolers.
If you're traveling for a celebration and bringing gifts along, wait to wrap them until you reach your destination or consider shipping them. TSA agents may inspect wrapped packages, which could mean needing to undo your carefully wrapped packages and pristine bows.
In the interest of safety for our customers and employees, we do not accept hoverboards as checked or carry-on baggage.
3. Read our information about special travel requests and recommendations
Have a special request? Learn about the accommodations we provide for children, pets, travelers with disabilities, travelers with food allergies and more.
Traveling with children? Kids can ride in their collapsible strollers through the airport, and then these can be checked at your gate. Your stroller will be returned to you at the aircraft door at your connecting city or destination. If you're planning to bring a larger, non-collapsible stroller or car seat, you can check it in the lobby.
Traveling to a warm-climate location? Protect yourself from sun and bugs with these tips.
- Apply sunscreen before spraying insect repellent
- Use insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET
- Wear lightweight, long-sleeve shirts, long pants and closed-toes shoes
- Sleep in places that are air conditioned or screened against bugs
Learn more and find additional travel tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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
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.
6. Check flight status, important notices and weather
Hit refresh. Check the United app regularly for the latest updates, weather conditions, flight status, gate information and seat assignments.
7. Give yourself extra time at the airport
Arrive early and avoid the stress of the airport hustle. 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 at the gate. Once you are through security, check the mobile app or the flight information displays for the latest update on gate assignments and boarding times. Arrive early to charge up your devices at available United charging stations and then board when your boarding group is called. Additionally, make sure your personal items (such as your backpack or purse) contain your items such as ID, medicine, keys, e-cigarettes and other valuables. If you're heading out on a family vacation and traveling with children under age two, you'll be able to pre-board the aircraft.
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; 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 vacation destination. Have a great experience to share? Tell us about it on social media with #UnitedAirlines.