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United Airlines

United Airlines is a major international airline headquartered in Chicago. It was founded in 1926 and has grown rapidly in the decades since. In 2010, United merged with the now defunct Continental Airlines to become the third largest airline in the world in terms of both fleet size and the number of routes it operates. The airline has eight major hubs across the US, with its busiest at Chicago-O’Hare Airport, operating flights to more than 200 domestic destinations and over 100 international airports spread across five continents. It is also a founding member of the world’s largest airline alliance, the Star Alliance, making it a great option to build air miles for frequent international fliers.

by Business Traveler

October 01, 2022

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Where does United Airlines fly?

United Airlines' central hub is the O’Hare Airport in Chicago, with the company headquartered in the nearby Willis Tower. Its secondary hubs can be found in Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, Washington, and Guam. As well as a strong U.S presence - with over 200 domestic locations available to passengers - United fly to 120 international cities across five continents. Popular destinations include New York, Cuba and Rio. United currently runs 4,500 + daily flights with an extensive fleet of 1,300 aircraft.


What is United MileagePlus?

MileagePlus is the name of the frequent flyer programme for United Airlines and is free to join. Once you have signed up, you can earn points or miles by spending money with United Airlines or any of their partners. Purchasing flights is the primary way to do this – however, there are other ways, including booking hotels and restaurants and shopping with a United credit card. Points can then be spent on airfare, cabin upgrades or holiday experiences.

Regular flyers who build up enough points will start to move through the MileagePlus Levels. For example, the first level beyond basic membership is Premier Silver which gives eligible passengers complimentary checked-in cabin bags and priority boarding, among other perks. Unlike some frequent flyer plans, MileagePlus points never expire, offering flexibility about when you use them.

What are United Airlines' ticketing options?

When you fly with United, there are seven different types of tickets.

Basic Economy

 Seats allocated
 Checked in bags start at $35
 Carry on only allowed on transpacific and transatlantic flights
 No flight changes
 Last to board
 Standard economy seating


 Choose your own seats
 Checked in bags start at $35
 Complimentary carry on
 Flight changes allowed
 Standard main cabin seating

United Plus

 Choose your own seats
 Checked in bags start at $35
 Complimentary carry on
 Flight changes allowed
 Priority boarding
 Additional leg room

* On certain United flights upgrades to Premium Plus are available, which include premium seating and complimentary beverages and food.

United Business Class (transcontinental, Latin America and the Caribbean) / First Class (domestic flights)

 Choose your own seats
 Two checked in bags
 Complimentary carry-on
 Priority boarding
 Extra legroom in reclinable, leather seats
 Charging point
 Wide range of entertainment services
 Premium food and beverages

United Polaris

Polaris is United’s premium offering for long-haul journeys, which, although described as a business class proposition, is the highest level of service they have on offer.

 Choose your own seats
 Two checked-in bags
 Complimentary carry-on
 Lie flat seats
 Charging point
 Private entertainment screening and noise-reducing headphones
 Restaurant quality cuisine and beverages
 First people to board

What are United Airlines' baggage fees?

All United passengers can bring one personal item as standard, such as a rucksack.

Basic Economy

Basic economy passengers are only allowed to bring an additional carry-on bag if they are flying to South America, or on a Trans-Atlantic / Trans-Pacific flight. Any other passengers bringing a carry-on will need to pay the checked bag fee. If they need to pay at the gate, it costs an additional $25.

Economy and United Plus

Economy and United Plus passengers can check in up to two check in bags, standard fees apply.

First and Business Class / Polaris

First, business class and Polaris passengers can bring two complimentary checked-in bags

Standard Fees

 First bag - $35
 Second bag - $45
 Third bag - $150
 Fourth bag - $200

Overweight bags

 Bags above 23kg are chargeable as overweight
 Bags between 23kg and 32kg - up to $200 (Fees vary depending on destination)
 Bags between 32kg and 45kg - up to $400 (Fees vary depending on destination)
 Bags over 45kg will not be accepted

Oversized bags

 Bags between 63 and 115 linear inches - $200 - $400 (Fees vary depending on destination)
 Bags above 115 linear inches will not be accepted