How can I check in for an United Airlines flight?
Check-in reminders, courtesy messages offered by United Airlines by email, if you provide a valid email address when making your reservation or by phone, will automatically notify you when you can check in and obtain your boarding documents.
When traveling with United Airlines, you may check in using one of the following methods:
- Online Check-in, on united.com.
- Mobile Check-in, from your mobile device.
- Voice Check-in, over the phone.
- At the airport (kiosk, curbside, ticket counter).
When must I check in when traveling with United Airlines?
Minimum check-in time requirements¹ set by United Airlines vary depending on the type of flight (within the United States², international, or domestic flight as part of an international itinerary³), departure airport, and whether you check bags or not.
For domestic flights, except those that are part of an international itinerary, the following minimum time requirements apply:
- Passengers with carry-on baggage only must check in at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure from any airport, with the following exceptions: Baltimore (BWI), Kahului (OGG), Salt Lake City (SLC), San Juan (SJU), Aguadilla (BQN) – 45 minutes before scheduled departure, and Guam – 60 minutes before scheduled departure.
- For passengers with checked baggage, the minimum check-in time is 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.
For international flights, all passengers must check in at least 60 minutes prior to scheduled departure, with the following exceptions:
- 75 minutes – for flights from Lima, Peru (LIM), Dublin, Ireland (DUB), Tel Aviv (TLV), and from Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL).
- 90 minutes – for flights from Manila (MNL), St. Thomas (STT), and to/from the Marshall Islands (Majuro – MAJ and Kwajalein – KWA) and Micronesia (Kosrae – KSA, Pohnpei – PNI, Truk -TKK, Yap – YAP).
²The area composed of the 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Midway, and Wake Islands.
³If the itinerary includes an international destination, the international time limits apply to all flights in the itinerary.
Which check-in requirements apply for codeshare flights?
Arrangements with certain other carriers enable United Airlines to provide codeshare services to passengers on flights operated by these carriers. Each codeshare partner has rules with respect to the operation of its own flights, and some, including check-in time limits, may differ from United Airlines’ rules for flights operated by United Airlines.
When checking in for a codeshare itinerary and your first flight is operated by a codeshare partner, you must check in with the operating carrier. More information about checking-in with the operating carrier will be provided to you in the check-in reminder.
You may check in online up to 24 hours before your scheduled departure. You may check in even if you have bags to check. The easiest way to check your bags, after you checked in online, is to use a dedicated kiosk (available at United Airlines hub airports and select cities). Also, you have the option of checking your baggage at the ticket counter or curbside skycap (where available). As for the minimum time requirement for Online Check-in, you must check in online and drop your baggage within the time limit set for your departure airport.
You must print your boarding pass, but you can also obtain your boarding pass from an airport kiosk. For eligible itineraries, you may request a link to your mobile boarding pass.
Online Check-in is available for all United Airlines flights, domestic and international, if the following conditions are met:
- You have an electronic ticket.
- The first flight of the itinerary is operated by United Airlines.
- Your itinerary contains no more than four flight segments.
- You are traveling on a group reservation of fewer than 9 persons.
- You have not requested a special service that requires you to see a United representative at the airport.
- You have previously scanned your passport for an international flight. If not, passports can be scanned with the United app or at an airport kiosk to complete check-in.
- If you have a Basic Economy reservation other than for a transatlantic flight, you must check in at least a bag.
To begin check-in, you need to enter a confirmation number, ticket number, or MileagePlus number. During Online Check-in, you can make updates to your travel plan such as:
- Change flight.
- Modify loyalty account number.
- Request seat changes.
- Check your baggage.
- Pay fees for checked baggage.
You may check-in from your mobile device, on United’s mobile website or through the United app, up to 24 hours before your scheduled departure. Minimum check-in time set for your departure airport applies for Mobile Check-in.
Mobile Check-in is available for flights operated by United and United Express. The United app is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) and Android devices. Mobile Check-in is available under the same restrictions as the Online Check-in, so if you are unable to use Online Check-in you will not be able to check in using the app.
Mobile Boarding Pass
Mobile boarding passes are available for travel from all U.S. airports United serves and certain international airports¹. If you are not provided with the option to receive a mobile boarding pass, it could be because you are traveling through a city that does not offer this feature yet, or your reservation was not eligible to receive a mobile boarding pass.
After you check in, your mobile boarding pass is stored on your device, and you can access it even when you don’t have an Internet connection. The boarding pass will update automatically with the latest upgrade confirmations, gate information or any seat changes if your device is connected to the Internet.
One of the options United Airlines offers for checking in is over the phone, by calling United Reservations and saying “check-in” during the automated menu. This check-in method is only available for customers traveling with less than 10 people in their party within the U.S. or Canada. During Voice Check-in, you can select how many bags you want to check and hear your baggage charges. Your boarding documents can be delivered by email or picked up at an airport kiosk.
To begin check-in at an airport kiosk you need to activate the kiosk. If you are unable to activate the kiosk, a United Airlines representative will be available to assist you. To activate the kiosk you have the following options:
- Swipe a credit card, MileagePlus card, or passport (select passports with a magnetic stripe are accepted).
- Scan your boarding document or passport.
- Enter your confirmation number or eTicket number.
Kiosk Check-in is available for flights departing from the U.S. to any destination (domestic or international) and for flights departing from most international destinations. In some cases, your international travel documents must be checked by a United Airlines representative.
You may check in using an airport kiosk even if you have bags to check. When checking baggage, you must make sure before beginning the check-in process that you are at an appropriate kiosk for checking bags (baggage kiosk). Not all airport kiosks offer the option to check baggage. Only kiosks at designated check-in counter locations offer this option.
You are not eligible for using a kiosk to check in in the following situations:
- Your itinerary begins with a flight segment operated by another airline.
- You have changed your ticket without proper fee collection.
- You are checking oversized baggage.
- You travel as an Unaccompanied Minor.
You can use the kiosk for a number of flight-related activities including checking in, printing out your boarding pass, changing flights, requesting standby for an earlier flight, viewing seat maps and changing your seat, requesting an upgrade, adding your frequent-flyer member number to a reservation, checking and tagging baggage at select kiosks and printing a receipt.
For United Airlines flights, passengers must be present at the boarding gate:
- For domestic flights, except flights departing Guam and flights that are part of an international itinerary, at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
- For international flights, including flights departing Guam and flights that are part of an international itinerary, at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure, with the exception of the following locations, where the time limit is 60 minutes: Brussels, Belgium (BRU), Sydney (SYD), the Marshall Islands (Majuro – MAJ and Kwajalein – KWA), and Micronesia (Kosrae – KSA, Pohnpei – PNI, Truk -TKK, Yap – YAP).
Courtesy messages announcing any change in gate assignment will be sent to all passengers by email or phone.
The boarding process starts with pre-boarding: Unaccompanied Minors, customers with disabilities, active military personnel, Global Services members, families with children aged 2 and younger, and Premier 1K members.
General boarding (groups 3-5 – Economy Class passengers) begins after boarding groups 1 and 2 (group 1 – Premier Platinum & Gold, Star Alliance Gold, Polaris, First, and Business; group 2 – Premier and Star Alliance Silver, Premier Access, Priority Boarding, and United Explorer, Club, Presidential Plus and Awards cardmembers) have boarded the aircraft. When traveling with a companion who has a higher boarding status, you also may board with the earlier group.