United Airlines Pet Policy

United Airlines allows certain pets to travel: 

  • In the cabin on certain flights
  • In the checked baggage section
    (currently suspended except for military personnel on PCS orders)
  • As cargo baggage 

United Airlines Pet Policy for In-Cabin Pets


Does my pet qualify for travel in the passenger cabin? 

United Airlines in-cabin pet policy applies only to flights operated by United Airlines and United Express. If you’re travelling on multiple flights, you must check with each airline individually.

  • Pets Allowed. United accepts small dogs, cats, small household birds (except cockatoos), and rabbits on continental U.S. flights (except Hawaii).
  • Forms Required. Your pet must have the following documentation:
    • Rabies certificate administered at least 30 days before the flight.
    • Health certificate.
  • Pet Age. Must be least 8 weeks old for travel within the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • Pet Carrier Requirements.  
    • Hard-sided carriers/kennels must not be more than 44cm long, 30cm wide, 19cm high (15.5in x 12in x 7.5in).
    • Soft-sided carriers/kennels must not be more than 46cm long, 28cm wide, and 28cm high (18in x 11in x 11in).
    • Must be an approved airline pet carrier. 
    • Must have a waterproof bottom. 
    • Must be adequately ventilated and securely fastened. 
    • Must have enough space for the pet to be comfortable in.
  • Restrictions 
    • Route Restrictions. Pets are not accepted in the cabin on flights to/from/via United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Tahiti, South Africa, Panama, India, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia.
    • Aircraft Restrictions. United does not accept pets in the First or Business Class on the following aircraft due to space restrictions: Boeing 747, 757, 767, and 777.
    • Seating Restrictions. Passengers travelling with pets are not allowed to occupy bulkhead or exit row seats, as well as Premium Plus seats due to space limitations. Passengers travelling a on Boeing 757-200 aircraft must occupy a window seat.
    • Only 1 pet per carrier is permitted, but 2 household birds are allowed inside a single pet carrier.
  • Pet Reservations. 
    • Can be made by phone (1-800-864-8331) and online (when booking) or later via My trips. 
    • Must reserve in advance because a limited number of pets are accepted on each flight (only 4 pets per flight are allowed in Economy Class). 
  • Check-in Requirements. You must check in at the passenger counter and your pet carrier will count as a piece of carry-on baggage. 
  • Pet Fee
    • The pet fee charged by United Airlines is USD 125.
    • The pet fee is payable at the reservations counter at the time of check-in.
    • An additional fee of USD 125 will be charged on flights with layovers exceeding 4 hours in the United States and more than 24 hours on flights outside of the United States. 
  • Service Dogs. Can travel free with passengers who have a qualifying disability. 
  • Other Restrictions. 
    • Must travel with an adult responsible for the pet.
    • Must always remain inside the pet carrier/kennel at the airport, in the boarding area, and on the plane.
    • Must stay at your feet, under the seat in front of you.
    • Must travel under the PetSafe program if it doesn’t fit in a carrier/kennel.

United Airlines Pet Policy for Pets in Cargo


What is United Airlines checked pet policy?

Note. The transport of pets as cargo under the PetSafe Program is currently unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If your dog or cat is too large to travel in the cabin or is travelling unaccompanied, you can book your pet under the PetSafe Program, where pets can travel in the cargo hold section of the aircraft.

  • Pets Allowed. Cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, household birds, guinea pigs, etc. 
  • Forms Required. Your pet must have all the documentation required by the destination country if you’re travelling internationally. 
    • Proof of rabies certificate administered no less than 30 days before travel.
    • Health certificate, issued within 10 days of departure.
    • Customer Acknowledgement Form signed by the pet owner.
    • Photograph of pet crate (front side) showing that it is IATA-compliant.
    • A close-up photograph of the pet’s face for breed verification. 
  • Pet Age 
    • Must be least 8 weeks old (and 2lb/1kg heavy) for travel within the United States and Puerto Rico. If your pup or kitten is under 2lb, it must be at least 10 weeks old.
    • Must be at least 16 weeks old to travel into the United States.
  • Pet Crate Requirements.  
    • United Airlines allows 2 pups or kittens in the same carrier if they are: 
      • Of the same species.
      • Under 6 months old.
      • Not more than 20lb/9kg each.
      • Small enough to be comfortable inside the carrier.
    • United Airlines no longer allows Series 700 kennels. 
    • The top and bottom halves must be fastened by metal hardware. 
    • Must be ventilated on 3 sides on domestic flights and 4 sides on international flights. 
    • Can be made of metal, wood, or plastic.
    • The height of the crate must not be more than 34in.  
    • The permissible weight limit is 2lb/1kg to 770lb/350kg. 
    • Must be large enough for your pet to be comfortable in all positions—standing upright, sitting erect, lying down, turning around. 
    • Must have food and water dishes securely attached inside so that they can filled from outside. 
  • Restrictions 
    • Aircraft Restrictions. United will not accept pets in the cargo hold on Boeing 787s until further notice.
    • Route Restrictions. Pets are not accepted: 
      • On flights to Nigeria, Lagos, Australia, India, or Dubai.
      • On flights from Chengdu, Beijing, and Seoul.

Do not fly your pet to Mexico City during weekends when customs offices are closed.

  • Breed Restrictions
    • Brachycephalic dog breeds are not accepted for health reasons. 
    • The following cat breeds are also not accepted: Persian, Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmese.
  • Temperature Restrictions
    • United will not accept bookings between: 
      • May 1 and September 30 to Tuscon, Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas. 
      • June 15 and September 15 to Shanghai or Chengdu (China).
  • Pet Reservations. 
    • Must be made 5 – 30 days before travel. 
    • International bookings must be made through an IATA agent (IPATA.org).  
  • Pick-up and Drop-off. 
    • Ask United Airlines for the location.
  • Pet Fee
    • The pet fee is route-dependent. Check this link for United pet cargo charges by route.
    • The pet fee is payable when you pick up your pet. 
  • Comfort Stops
    • If your pet’s flight exceeds 12 hours, comfort stops are required—and you must pay the applicable fee.  
    • Dogs and cats will not be accepted on itineraries involving more than 2 layovers.

Service Animals (Dogs)

United Airlines accepts trained service dogs (only) to travel in the cabin free of charge with qualified passengers (who have a disability).

  • The service animal must be a dog and at least 4 months old. 
  • The service dog must be trained to assist people with a physical, mental, intellectual, psychiatric, or sensory disability.
  • Dog trainers are allowed to bring 1 under-training service dog free of charge. 
  • Each qualified passenger can travel with up to 2 service dogs free of cost.
  • The service dog must be properly harnessed/leashed. 
  • The service dog must be seated on the floor in front of your seat.
  • The service dog should not stretch into the aisles.
  • The service dog must follow the owner’s directions and behave properly.
  • You service dog’s health and other documentation must be up-to-date and on hand, and must comply with the local regulations of your destination city/country.
  • You cannot travel within 30 days of your service animal’s rabies shot.
  • Therapy animals are not counted as service animals and must travel per United’s standard pet policy. 
  • United Airlines no longer transports emotional support animals.
  • Forms. For each service dog, the following U.S. DOT forms are required at the airport:
    • U.S. DOT Service Animal Training and Behavior Attestation Form
    • U.S. DOT Service Animal Relief Attestation Form on flights exceeding 8 hours
  • If you have any questions or special needs, call United’s Accessibility Desk at +1-844-903-1897.

Frequently Asked Questions on United Airlines Pet Policy

United Airlines allows cats, dogs, small household birds, and rabbits to travel in the cabin on most domestic flights within the United States (except Hawaii). Larger pets can be shipped under United’s PetSafe Program as checked baggage (or as manifest cargo), but this service has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On international flights, the rules can vary by destination. For details, contact United Airlines Reservations by phone or visit the website. 

Pets are not allowed to travel in the cabin on flights to/from/via the U.K., Trinidad and Tobago, Tahiti, South Africa, Panama, India, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia. Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) dog breeds and certain cat breeds (Persian, Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmese) are not allowed to travel in the checked baggage section of the aircraft.

United’s pet policy applies only to flights operated by United and United Express. If you’re travelling on a codeshare flight, check with the airline.

United Airlines allows small dogs, cats, household birds (except cockatoos), and rabbits to travel in the passenger cabin. Other/larger pets must be transported under United’s PetSafe Program.

You can make pet reservations on United Airlines online or by phone. If you’re traveling with a pet in the cabin, be sure to book in advance because the space is subject to availability. 

United Airlines pet policy (cargo) applies to pets travelling as cargo baggage. Under this policy, pets that are too large or heavy to travel in the cabin, or pets travelling unaccompanied, can travel under the PetSafe Program. However, this program is currently unavailable because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

To be eligible to travel, the pet must be between 2lb/1kg and 770lb/350kg, and at least 10 weeks old (16 weeks if travelling into the U.S.). Your pet’s health certificate must have been issued within 10 days of travel, and the rabies certificate must show that the rabies shot was administered at least 30 days before departure. Brachycephalic dog breeds and certain cat breeds (Persian, Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmese) are not allowed due to health reasons.

You must book your pet 5 – 30 days before travel. The pet fee will depend on your route and can be accessed from this page. However, if your pet’s flight exceeds 12 hours, a comfort stop is a must. Also, cats and dogs will not be accepted on itineraries that involve more than 2 layovers.

For more details, refer to the section titled United Airlines Pet Policy for Pets in Cargo

United Airlines does not accept pets in the cabin on flights to, from, or through Hawaii.

United Airlines ESA pet policy has changed. Emotional support animals are no longer allowed to travel free of cost with their owners. However, they can travel on a paid basis if they meet United Airlines’ pet policy requirements. 

United Airlines carry-on pet policy allows you to travel with small domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits, and small household birds (except cockatoos) in the cabin on continental U.S. flights (except Hawaii), subject to weight and size restrictions. To be eligible for travel, cats and dogs must be at least 8 weeks old (within the U.S. and Puerto Rico), healthy, and fully weaned. Plus, they must travel in an airline-approved pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of yours.

United Airlines pet cost for in-cabin travel is USD 125 per way. The pet fee can be paid at the check-in counter at the time of checking in. An additional fee of USD 125 will be charged on flights with a layover of more than 4 hours on domestic routes and more than 24 hours on international flights. 

Under United Airlines pet policy for military personnel, any active-duty U.S. military personnel travelling (and spouses) on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) are allowed to transport pet dogs and cats on flights to or from an international destination. 

Your pet will be allowed to travel in the passenger cabin with you if your pet:

  • Is a domesticated cat, dog, rabbit, or a household bird such as a parakeet, finch, or canary.
  • Is at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned.
  • Is not travelling to/from/through the U.K., Trinidad and Tobago, Tahiti, South Africa, Panama, India, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia. 
  • Can remain comfortably inside its carrier and under the seat throughout the journey.
  • Is travelling in a carrier that is made specifically for transporting animals.
  • Has all its papers and vaccinations in order. 

The service has been temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, except for active-duty military personnel and their spouses travelling on PCS orders. 

Under normal conditions, your pet would be allowed to travel as checked baggage if:

  • Your pet is a domesticated dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, household bird, guinea pig, etc.
  • Your pet dog/cat is at least 2lb/1kg and 8 weeks old for domestic travel and at least 16 weeks old if travelling into the U.S.
  • Your pet dogs or cat must be fully weaned.
  • Your pet’s carrier/kennel complies with the airline’s requirements. 
  • Your pet’s health documents comply with the destination city’s requirements. 
  • Your pet is not travelling: 
    • To Nigeria, Lagos, Australia, India, or Dubai.
    • From Chengdu, Beijing, and Seoul.
  • Your pet is not travelling to/from May 1 through September 15 to Tuscon, Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas; or to Shanghai or Chengdu in China between June 15 and September 15 (due to extreme heat).
  • You book at least 5 – 30 days before departure.
  • Your itinerary does not include more than 2 layovers. 
  • Your flight has a comfort stopover if it exceeds 12 hours.

If you’re comfortable sending your pet as unaccompanied cargo baggage, or if your pet does not qualify to travel in the passenger cabin or as checked baggage, you can have your pet shipped as cargo. To make a booking or for information, call United Airlines Cargo at 1-800-UA-CARGO.

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