10 Tips to Make Summer Travel a Breeze - United Hub

10 tips to make summer travel a breeze

By The Hub team

It's time for a summer vacation. You've booked your 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 summer travel plans are seamless.

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

Download the refreshed United mobile app before your flight to check flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, find your gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. New features will streamline your experience by giving you quick access to these important details.

If you're registered for TSA Pre✓® your mobile boarding pass in the app will indicate this. You can even use our airport maps to find a beverage or snack prior to boarding.

2. 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.

3. 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 summer 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.

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 summer vacation destination in advance.

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.

Also, keep in mind we can't accept hoverboards, smart wheels and other self-balancing recreational devices powered by lithium batteries as checked or carry-on bags. You must remove spare lithium batteries from any checked or gate-checked bags, including batteries that are part of the bags themselves. Once removed, you can bring these batteries on board. We don't allow bags with non-removable lithium batteries 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.

4. 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.

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 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.

5. 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. 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.

6. 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 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 the necessary documentation before arriving at the airport. Learn more about international travel document requirements

7. Check flight status, important notices and weather

Hit refresh. Check the United app regularly for the latest updates, weather conditions, flight status, and 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.

8. Before you board

Better Boarding. Once you're through security, check the United app or the screens at the airport for the latest gate assignments and boarding times. Arrive early to charge up your devices at our available 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. 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 and free DIRECTV® on select aircraft. 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 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 summer vacation onboard

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

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