United shares rose about 6% in late trading to $86.03.
The company said it made $2.41 a share, adjusted for one-time items, vs. expectations of $1.99 from analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Revenue hit $10.5 billion vs. expectations of $10.3 billion.
In the same period a year ago the company posted earnings of $1.44 a share on sales of $9.45 billion.
The stock had fallen about 4.1% since the company last reported earnings on Oct. 16.