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Many companies offer discounts and benefits to military members and their families. However, sometimes finding these deals and benefits is fairly difficult. This includes when you’re flying on United Airlines and are trying to determine the number of bags you can take and the fees you’re expected to pay. 

Key Takeway
Active military personnel and their dependents traveling on vacation each get three bags that weigh up to 70 pounds checked without any service fees. Active military and their dependents traveling on orders get up to five bags weighing up to 100 pounds checked without any service fees. 

As with anything, there are some exceptions to these rules. To learn when these discounts apply, and other benefits you may be eligible for, you’ll want to keep reading. 

Baggage Fees for Active Military on Orders

Military members traveling due to orders are allowed to take five bags with them without any service charges or fees.

The bag limits also change. For most passengers, bags have to be around 50 pounds. However, those traveling on military orders are allowed to have bags weighing twice that. The medium bag size allowed is 115 inches. 

Baggage Fees for Active Military on Personal Vacation

If you’re traveling for personal reasons, whether on vacation or to see family, the rules are slightly different. You still get free bags, but the limit is lower. Instead of five bags, you only get three. 

The weight and size limit change as well. Instead of 100 pounds, 70 is the maximum weight per bag without incurring other fees. The medium bag size is also limited to 62 inches. 

Whether you are active or on vacation, equipment that’s too large or irregularly sized is still subject to additional fees. If you’re bringing items like sports equipment, you may want to look at United Airlines’ Sports Equipment Policy

Baggage for Dependents and Spouses of Active Military

Dependents of active military members also get benefits on their baggage. Dependents are classed as anyone who has a relationship with the military sponsor, such as spouses, children, and stepchildren. 

Anyone traveling on the same reservation as an active duty military member gets the same benefits. This means that if you’re going on vacation, you and all of your dependents get three bags weighing up to 70 pounds checked for free. 

However, to get these benefits, everyone must be under the same ticket as an active military personnel. You can’t purchase all of the tickets separately and still expect to receive the same benefits. 

Dependents Traveling Separately

If your dependents are traveling separately from you, then there are different rules. Dependents without active military orders traveling separately from their military sponsor are still expected to pay the normal fees as listed on the United Airlines Baggage Policy

Military dependents traveling due to orders without their sponsor, though, still get some benefits. Dependents with travel orders get two bags, up to 70 pounds and a medium size of 62 inches, checked without any service charges. 

Benefits for personnel who’s been removed from duty

United also understands that things happen. If you are removed from active duty within seven days of leaving for your flight, you still get the same benefits as if you were still active. 

Extra Benefits for Active Military

Checking extra bags without paying service fees isn’t the only benefit that active duty military members get. 

Access to Lounges

In addition to getting many of your bags for free, active military members get access to the United Club. To get this benefit, you need to be in uniform, have present leave orders, or rest and recuperation papers. 

You will only get these benefits on days when you are actively traveling on United and United Express flights. To get into the lounge, you will have to present your boarding pass, your military ID, and sponsoring documentation. 

Lounge access is available for both active duty military members and their family members. Of course, you must all be flying on the same flight or have gate passes to get in. Entry is dependent on capacity and availability. 

Pet Transport

Unfortunately, as of 2020, pet transport through United isn’t allowed. This is true even for military members through the PetSafe program. You can use their standard methods to transport pets if they apply to your flight.

There’s one exception. If you’re an active military member traveling from Guam (GUM) to Honolulu (HNL) or the reverse, you are allowed to still apply for the PetSafe program. 

Four pets (classified as dogs or cats) per household are allowed on flights from Guam to Honolulu. However, only two pets are allowed when traveling from Honolulu to Guam. You also only get one pet move per order, so multiple trips to take multiple pets aren’t allowed. 

The Classes of Service That Get Military Discounts 

United does not discriminate against any class of service. Anyone part of the military is allowed to benefit from these baggage discounts. According to their website, United accepts anyone from the following groups:

  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Marines
  • U.S. Space Force
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. National Guard
  • Cadets of the Air Force Academy
  • Cadets of West Point
  • Cadets of the Naval Academy
  • Cadets of the Merchant Marine Academy
  • Cadets of the Coast Guard Academy
  • Commissioned Officers Corps of the U.S. Public Health
  • NOAA

Benefits for Veterans

While all of the benefits listed above are only for active duty members, there are some benefits for veterans. However, to get any benefits, you first have to enroll in Veterans Advantage

Despite the name, every member of the military, past or present, can take advantage of this plan. This includes U.S. military veterans, active duty military, National Guard and Reserve members as well as their family members. Family members not only include spouses and children, but parents as well. 

With this advantage program, you get a five percent discount on your fares except for Basic Economy flights. Unfortunately, the discounts only apply to adult fares and only eight family members can take advantage of the benefits at one time. 

Other Benefits of the Veterans Advantage Program

In addition to a discount on flights, you get special insurance, drug discount programs, and discounts on hotels, dining, entertainment, electronics, fitness centers, moving programs, gifts, health, and wireless services. When you apply, you’ll immediately receive a 10-digit travel code. You use this code to book all of your travels and reap the benefits. 

Any United or Lufthansa flight is eligible for these benefits as long as the flights travel to and from the locations listed below:

  • The U.S. 
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Central America
  • The Caribbean
  • The Transatlantic

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