United Airlines Pet Policy

United Airlines Pet Policy

Traveling with pets can be a delight, but it comes with its own set of rules and regulations with United Airlines’ pet policy. If you’re planning to take to the skies with your four-legged companion on United Airlines, it’s essential to be well-informed about their specific pet policies. So that you can prepare effectively and enjoy a stress-free journey with your pet.

Here’s everything you need to know about United Airlines pet travel, from in-cabin requirements to booking procedures and more.

Brief Overview of United Airlines

United Airlines is a friendly airline that connects people all around the world, on a daily basis. They cater to a large number of people thus making the travel smoother and also very convenient. However, if you want to travel with your pet, you must be familiar with all policies applied by United Airlines in this area.

Nobody likes to get a surprise, especially when it is related to the transfer of their beloved pet. Each air company has its own orderings concerning the transporting of an animal. The understanding of the policy will allow a person to understand what steps he should undertake to make his pet’s transfer comfortable and avoid any unexpectedness at the airport.

Understanding United Airlines Pet Policy

United Airlines allows certain pets to fly with you, provided you follow their requirements.

Pets allowed for travel:

United Airlines permits you to travel with small dogs and cats. These pets may not come out of the pet carrier during the flight. Moreover, carriers must be small enough to be a carry-on item placed under the seat.

Guidelines for traveling with pets:

Do not forget that your pet must remain in the carrier for the entire flight. However, if the pet’s carrier adheres to United Airlines standards, you may open it and check on your pet. Specifically, carriers must be made of non-collapsible and well-ventilated materials. The carrier must also have enough space for the animal to move and sit.

Eligibility and Pets Allowed

Firstly, United Airlines allows pets to travel in the cabin only in the form of cats and dogs. If you’re curious about whether United Airlines allows pets in other categories, such as birds or reptiles, the answer is currently no. They’re restricted to cats and dogs to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers.

United Airlines Pet Travel Options

This airline provides multiple options for pet travel, including:

United Airlines Pet Carry-On Policy:

If your pet is small and fits under the seat in front of you, you can bring it as carry-on luggage for a fee. Pets should stay inside their carrier under your seat, and you can’t take them out during the flight.

United Airlines Pet In Cargo:

Larger pets that don’t fit under your seat might be able to travel in the cargo hold in some cases. However, they have stopped this service for regular flyers and only allow it for official military and government personnel with relocation notices.

Carrier Guidelines for United Airlines Pet In Cabin

For those planning to keep their pet close, United Airlines pet in cabin rules are clear:

  • Pet Carrier: Pets must fit comfortably in a hard-sided or soft-sided carrier that fits under the seat.
    • Hard-sided carrier dimensions: Height- 9 inches (22cm), Length- 17.5 inches (44cm), Width- 12 inches (30cm)
    • Soft-sided carrier dimensions: Height- 11 inches (27 cm), Length- 18 inches (45 cm), Width- 11 inches (27 cm).
  • Carrier Placement: During the flight, the carrier must remain under the seat with the pet inside.
  • Number of Pets: A passenger may travel with up to two pets, but an additional seat must be purchased for the second pet.
  • Travel Availability: Not all destinations and flights permit pets, so checking United’s destination-specific policies is crucial.

Booking a Flight with Pets

Booking a flight with pets is not too different from booking a flight for yourself.

Steps to book a flight when traveling with pets

  • Let United know you’re bringing a pet when you book your ticket, whether you do it online or over the phone.
  • You can also add a pet to your trip later by using the ‘My Trips’ section on United Airlines official website.

Important considerations during booking

  • Destination laws: Check into the laws of your destination. Some places have rules about what pets they allow.
  • Flight duration: Think about how long your flight is. Long flights might be tough for your pet.
  • Layovers: If your trip includes a stop, there could be extra costs or limitations to consider.

Preparing Your Pet for Travel

To make sure your pet is ready for the big trip, there are steps you should take.

Steps to prepare your pet for travel

  • Visit the vet: Take your pet to the vet to make sure it’s healthy and safe to travel.
  • Get used to the carrier: Let your pet spend time in the travel carrier at home, so it’s not scared or confused during the trip.

Recommendations for reducing pet stress during travel

  • Exercise before the flight: A tired pet is usually a calm pet. Give your pet lots of exercise before you leave for the airport.
  • Comfort items: Bring something familiar, like a toy or blanket, to help your pet feel safe.
  • Feeding: Don’t feed your pet right before you fly. Eating a few hours in advance is better.

By following these simple steps and taking care of the required documentation, you can make traveling with your pet a straightforward process. Always stay informed about any updates to policies, so you and your pet can enjoy a smooth journey.

In-Cabin Pet Fees

  • A fee of $125 applies each way for in-cabin pet travel.
  • Additional fees for layovers longer than certain hours are charged: $125 for layovers over four hours within the U.S. and over 24 hours internationally.

United Airlines ESA Pet Policy (Emotional Support Animal)

If you have an emotional support animal, United Airlines has rules that you must follow. First, your ESA has to be a dog or a cat; no other types of animals are allowed as ESAs.

Regulations for traveling with ESAs

  • Service dogs are allowed without extra cost if they help you with a disability.
  • Emotional support animals are treated differently from service animals and usually require a separate fee.

Required Documentation

  • For service animals: You might need a letter from a doctor or another medical professional saying the animal is necessary for your health or emotional well-being.
  • For ESAs: You’ll likely need similar documentation, but it’s important to know that the rules for these animals are stricter and can change, so always check with the airline.

Service and Emotional Support Animals

  • Service dogs are permitted without additional fees.
  • Documentation is required no sooner than 48 hours before departure.
  • Puppies under 4 months are not accepted as they do not meet vaccination requirements.
  • United Airlines’ pet policy allows properly trained emotional support animals to travel in the cabin.

Pre-Trip Preparations for Pets

Before heading to the airport, ensure:

  • Pets are comfortable and familiar with their carriers.
  • All vaccinations are current, and you carry proof and other necessary documentation.
  • A pet-friendly travel kit that includes essentials like collapsible bowls and toys that may help relax your pet.

Airport and In-Flight Protocols

At the airport, United Airlines offers specific assistance for pet travelers:

  • Check-In: This is done at the ticket counter, not curbside.
  • Pet Relief Areas: Use the United app to locate these at the airport.
  • In-Flight: Pets must stay in their carriers under the seat throughout the flight.

United Airlines Pet Travel Destinations

If you plan on flying with your pet, there are many destinations to which United and United Express operate flights that accept pets. However, for international flights and reservations involving multiple Airlines, including partner Airlines, there are additional steps you should take. 

For international travel, contact 1-800-864-8331, and United Airlines will add your pet to your reservation. Additionally, it is important that you understand the pet policy of the carriers that are accommodating the additional flights on your itinerary.

United Airlines reported that although there are many destinations that accept pets, there are some states and countries to which your pet may not travel, pass through, or be exposed. The States and Countries listed follow:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Brazil
  • Cuba
  • French Polynesia (Tahiti)
  • Guam *
  • Guyana
  • Hawaii
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia, Federated States of
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan)
  • Palau
  • Philippines
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Arab Emirates (Dubai)
  • United Kingdom

Note: Pets can accompany passengers on flights from Guam to Tokyo-Narita. However, pets are not allowed on return flights to Guam.

By staying informed and understanding these regulations, you ensure a successful and stress-free journey for you and your pet.

Restrictions and Limitations

Certain states and countries have strict no-fly zones for pets on United flights. These include but are not limited to Australia, Hawaii, and the United Kingdom. Always check before traveling to ensure your destination is pet-friendly.

United Airlines PetSafe Program

As for United Airlines pet in cargo queries, United no longer offers the PetSafe program except for military and State Department exceptions.

Age and Health Certifications

Pets must meet age requirements—2 months old for domestic and 4 months old for international flights. Health certificates that cover your pet’s vaccination history and wellness status might be required, especially for international travel.

Final Tips to Make Your Journey Smooth

  • Make reservations as early as you can to ensure you have a spot with United Airlines.
  • Understand your pet’s behavior and arrange for their needs to be fulfilled adequately.
  • Check United Airlines’ pet policy directly with the airline in the weeks leading up to your trip as policies are always evolving and can vary between outgoing and return flights.
  • Discuss your travel plans with your vet, particularly if your pet has not flown before or has an anxiety trigger that makes them stressed and anxious.
  • Get your pet accustomed to their carrier weeks before your scheduled trip. Doing so can minimize your pet’s distress during the journey.
  • Try to book direct flights since it is better for your pet and will decrease the total time they have to spend traveling.
  • On the day of the flight, allow your pet to exercise, play, and relax.

Final Thoughts

Traveling with pets with United Airlines’ pet policy requires some preparation and understanding of all policies related to canceling or changing the flight, but it can be a smooth process with the right planning. Whether your furry friend is tagging along in the cabin or meeting certain requirements for cargo travel, the key is to stay well-informed of the latest airline policies and prepare your pet for their journey.

Remember, every pet’s travel readiness and comfort levels are unique. It’s important to consider not just the airline’s policies but also your pet’s health, behavior, and well-being when planning your trip. 

Safe travels to you and your pet on your next adventure with United Airlines!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my pet on an international flight?

Yes, pets can join you on certain international flights, but you need to look up the rules for where you’re going. Some countries are strict about bringing in pets and may require a quarantine period, or they may not allow your pet to come in at all.

Are there any breeds that are not allowed to fly?

United Airlines does not have a ban on specific breeds for flights where pets can stay with you in the cabin. They don’t allow pets to act aggressively, though. If you’re worried about your pet breed’s acceptance, it’s a good idea to talk to United Airlines beforehand.

What if my pet needs to relieve itself during a long flight?

United Airlines suggests putting a pet pad in your animal’s carrier to handle any messes on longer flights. There are also places in many airports for your pet to go to the bathroom before and after the flight; look for the spots on the United app or follow airport signs.

Can my pet eat or drink during the flight?

You can give your pet a little bit of food and water during the flight, but try to limit this on short trips to keep your pet comfortable. Bringing along a water bowl that can be squished down will help save space and be handy for your pet.

Are there temperature restrictions for pet travel?

When pets travel in the cargo hold, there are times when United Airlines won’t let them fly because it’s too hot or too cold. Be sure to check with United Airlines for the latest information before you travel.

What happens if my pet gets sick during the flight?

Be sure to visit a vet to make sure your pet is okay to travel before you go. But if something does happen and your pet seems unwell or upset on the flight, let a flight attendant know right away. They will work with the crew of the plane to take care of your pet.

Does United Airlines allow pets?

Yes, United Airlines lets pets fly. The rules depend on the pet’s size, breed, and the rules of where you’re going. Check their website first.

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