Founded in 1926, United Airlines, along with sister company United Express, operates more than 4,000 flights a day - to and from destinations around the world. The carrier has one of the most comprehensive networks of routes and hubs in the world. Serving more than 300 airports, United Airlines has hubs in Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York and Houston. The airline is also part of the Star Alliance of carriers, which includes Scandinavian Airlines, Air Canada, and Lufthansa.
The United Airlines headquarters is in the world-famous Willis Tower in Chicago. Based on the carrier's fleet of planes, it is currently the world's third-largest carrier. There are currently more than 800 planes in United's fleet, with another 80 on order. Most of the planes flying today were built by Boeing. The 787 Dreamliner is one of the most popular with passengers. But the 777 does the majority of the long-haul flights for United Airlines. There are also two Airbus planes in the fleet - the Airbus 319 and the Airbus 320.
United Airlines is a household name in the US. However, the carrier also operates several transatlantic and trans-pacific routes. The popularity of the airline has risen substantially in recent years, thanks, in part, to its MileagePlus frequent flyer program. Passengers are awarded miles every time they fly. How many miles depends on the distance of the flight and the cabin class. Miles can be spent on upgrades, tickets, hotels, car rentals and purchases with one of the airline's retail partners.
The onboard travel experience on a United Airlines flight is one of the best in the world. Every long-haul passenger has their own seat-back, touchscreen TV, which shows the very latest movie and TV shows. The United Private Screening option gives passengers the opportunity to watch new releases that are still in movie theatres. All planes offer Wi-Fi for an hourly charge. However, there are also options to purchase connectivity for the duration of a flight, a month and a year.
A basic ticket for a United Airlines flight excludes checked baggage and the ability to reserve a seat. However, there are two great premium classes to choose from - Polaris Business Class and United First. The standard seats in Economy Plus and Economy Basic cabins offer a seat pitch of 78 cm (31 inches). Business Class passengers get a seat pitch of at least 96 cm (38 inches). Passengers flying in a United First cabin can expect a seat pitch of at least 127 cm (50 inches).
United Club is the airline's airport lounge, which offers members a range of free refreshments and somewhere to escape the madness of a busy airport. Passengers also receive personalized assistance, free Wi-Fi and a comprehensive selection of alcoholic drinks. Memberships are purchased via an annual subscription, but the lounges can only be used on the day of travel. Passengers must present a valid ticket to gain access.
United Airlines offers a range of check-in options for all its passengers. Check-in usually opens 24 hours before departure, and passengers can log in to their account to print a boarding pass. There's also a mobile app that allows passengers to use their devices as a ticket. Passengers flying within the U.S. must check-in at least 45 minutes before departure, so they should aim to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before the scheduled takeoff time.
United Business and United First passengers are given a checked baggage allowance of 32 kg (70 lbs). This extra-large allowance is also given to Mileage Plus Silver, Gold, Platinum and 1K members.
Passengers on United Airlines flights are allowed one item of carry-on baggage and one personal item. Carry-on bags must not exceed 56cm x 23cm x 36cm (22 x 9 x 14in). A personal item is a small bag or an item that can easily be stowed under the seat in front of the passenger.
Basic Economy tickets don't automatically include a checked baggage allowance. United Economy passengers have an allowance of 23 kg (50 lbs). Carry-on luggage allowances are the same for all passengers - one carry-on bag and one personal item.
There is a maximum size for standard items of luggage. In most case, bags can't exceed 157 cm (62 inches) in total dimensions (length + width + height). These dimensions include any wheels, handles and accessories.
Bags can't exceed 292 cm (115 inches) in total dimensions. Charges apply to bags that exceed the standard dimensions of 157 cm (62 inches). Excess weight charges vary between flights, airports and airplanes. However, United Airlines won't accept any bag that weighs more than 45 kg (100 lbs). Passengers flying with infants may take one essential carry-on item in addition to their standard carry-on allowance (small stroller, car seat etc.).