Mainline non-fuel unit costs are expected to be up between 1 percent and 1.5 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2008.
UAL said it expected to end the fourth quarter with an unrestricted cash balance of about $3 billion, excluding $250 million from financings completed in the fourth quarter.
The airline industry has been battered in 2009 by economic weakness that hurt demand for business travel. Most major airlines have slashed capacity in the last year to better match their supply with demand.
Shares of UAL were down 27 cents at 10.99 on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Kyle Peterson, editing by Dave Zimmerman)