Hazardous materials

When transporting hazardous materials, our primary concerns are the safety of people and freight and the well-being of the environment.

For more information about the transportation of hazardous materials and TSA security requirements, please contact United Cargo. Hazardous material shipments cannot be booked online.

Service description

  • Airport-to-airport air freight service
  • Booked on selected flights
  • High priority and special handling
  • IATA-approved shipments containing or consisting of dangerous goods can be accepted using EXP, GEN or QuickPak

In addition to all other applicable transportation charges, supplementary surcharges and fees may apply to each unique type of dangerous goods contained in a shipment. Shipments containing five pounds or less of dry ice are exempt from dry ice surcharges.

Shipper’s responsibility

The shipper must ensure that the articles or substances tendered to United are not prohibited for transport by air, and that the articles or substances are properly identified, classified, packed, marked, labeled and documented in accordance with IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, as well as all government regulations in the countries of origin transit and destination. Before packing dangerous goods for transport by air, the shipper must:

  • Identify, correctly and fully, all dangerous articles and dangerous substances within the consignment.
  • Classify each item as a dangerous good by determining under which of the nine classes it falls and, where relevant, determine any subsidiary hazards.
  • Where relevant, assign each item to one of the three packing groups within its class.
  • Ensure that the documentation accompanying the shipment is complete and in accordance with IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. For further assistance, we recommend that you contact a Dangerous Goods Handler (i.e. Freight Forwarder) in your area.
  • Ensure advanced arrangements are made for the shipment.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) categorizes dangerous goods into nine classes:

  • Class 1 - Explosives
  • Class 2 - Gas
  • Class 3 - Flammable liquids
  • Class 4 - Flammable solids
  • Class 5 - Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides
  • Class 6 - Poisonous (toxic) and infectious substances
  • Class 7 - Radioactive materials
  • Class 8 - Corrosives
  • Class 9 - Miscellaneous articles and substances: asbestos; dry ice; environmentally hazardous substances; life-saving devices; machines incorporating internal combustion engines; magnetized material; polymeric beads; self-propelled vehicles; zinc dithionite; any liquid or solid which has anesthetic, noxious or other similar properties which could cause extreme annoyance or discomfort to passengers and/or flight crew members

Exception: EXP guarantee is applicable for the following dangerous goods: dry ice, magnetized materials, radioactive - Class 7, (with no transport index (T.I.), white label only, with research diagnostic treatment). No other dangerous goods will be guaranteed.

Packing group criteria

Dangerous goods are assigned to the relevant packing group according to the degree of hazard they represent:

  • Packing Group I - Great danger
  • Packing Group II - Medium danger
  • Packing Group III - Minor danger

Please see the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations or contact a dangerous goods handler concerning packing group criteria for specific classes of dangerous goods. United reserves the right to inspect and/or refuse any consignment presented for shipment.

UA variations

In addition to the requirements of ICAO, IATA and the US Code of Federal regulations 49CFR, United Cargo also applies the following variations on hazardous material shipments.

UA – 01

All liquid dangerous goods in all classes and divisions must be packed in combination packaging. Single packaging is not allowed.

  • An overpack, by definition, is not a combination packaging. (See definitions in IATA Appendix A) (See
  • UN 3082 in drums with quantity greater than 128 L are excepted from this provided they are securely banded to wooden skids.

UA – 02

Division 6.1 Toxic Substances are only accepted:

  • When shipments are PG II or PG III
  • Without inhalation toxicity
  • The shippers declaration for the toxic materials must contain a certifying statement which indicates that the shipment contains materials intended for use in, or incident to medical purposes.

Limited quantities are subject to the same requirements.

UA – 03

The carriage of Carbon dioxide, solid (Dry ice), UN1845, are limited by aircraft type and must be booked with weight of the dry ice to determine whether aircraft limits may be exceeded.

United Express and regional partners are limited to:

  • 2.5 kg net per package
  • 35 kg net per aircraft

UA – 04

Not Used.

UA – 05

UN 3171, "Battery-powered vehicle" will not be accepted by United Airlines. In addition, devices containing lithium ion batteries will not be accepted if:

  • The device with the installed lithium ion battery meets the definition of a vehicle as set out in Special Provision A214,or
  • The lithium ion battery is packed with a device that meets the definition of a vehicle as set out in Special Provision A214.