In addition to flying millions of people all over the world, United Airlines also transports many of our furry friends—cats, dogs, rabbits, and household birds. United Airlines allows passengers to travel with their pets both in the cabin and in the cargo hold. As of June 18, 2018, their PetSafe cargo option will shift and begin to accommodate new pet travel standards. Even if you’ve flown an animal with them, you may not be familiar with this new process. One of the biggest airlines in the world, United is a popular choice among small animal owners worldwide. 

United Airlines pet policy takes travel safety very seriously. The airline’s rules are designed to accommodate safe travel for you and your pet while allowing other passengers to experience a pleasant flight.

Here’s what you need to know about United Airlines pet policies—no matter your destination or method of pet travel. 

  • Flying with Pets in the CabinTo fly in the cabin, your pet must fit comfortably within the appropriately-sized carrier, which must then be slid under the seat in front of you. To ensure you can successfully fly with your pet, know the United Airlines pet policies for animals in the cabin. 
  • Flying Pets in Cargo: United Airlines’ PetSafe program is a popular mode of transport for animals too large to fly within the cabin. To ensure your pet qualifies for this program, read about the United Airlines cargo service.  
  • Service Animal PoliciesService animals are welcomed on any United Airlines flight. Though certain exemptions are provided to these animals, some rules and restrictions still apply. United Airlines no longer allows emotional support animals to travel as service animals. To determine if your dog qualifies to be certified as a Psychiatric Service Dog and can be accepted as such on United Airlines, you can visit Pettable’s PSD service. 


Other United Airlines Pet Policies and Programs

In addition to providing exemptions for assistance dogs, United Airlines notes the potential for U.S. Military and State Department pet exceptions. Active duty U.S. military personnel on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) and their spouses, along with State Department Foreign Service Personnel (FSP) and their spouses are provided additional benefits when transporting cats and dogs. Qualifying pets receive specialized handling and are issued a tag during check-in. This tag allows the animal to skip customs, saving both fees and time. The pets will not need to be dropped off at a cargo facility. Rather, you may drop him at airport check-in or QuickPak counter. These exceptions do not apply to military personnel who are on leave or traveling for leisure. These guidelines are similar to those provided by other U.S.-based airlines.

When flying, we recommend using our Airport Travel Guide, which can help you find maps of pet relief areas for all major U.S. airports. The United Airlines pet policy requires that you take sole responsibility for your in-cabin animal, and preparation is the best strategy for ensuring a smooth trip.