United Airlines only accept 2 dogs in the cabin on most of their flights, so they advise you to contact the Customer Service Team as soon as you confirm your travel plans. They accept reservations between 30 days in advance (maximum) and 5 days (minimum) prior to travel for customers traveling with their pets and/or for pets traveling alone. Require additional conditions for acceptance (see below) prior to reservation confirmation.You can speak directly to them at 1-800-864-8331 and make your reservations over the phone.
Pets in the Cabin
United Airlines welcomes passengers with small pets (dogs, cats and rabbits) in the cabin. Pets must remain inside their pet carrier underneath the seat in front throughout the journey. You will be prompted to see an agent at check-in to receive a pet tag to attach to Fido's carrier. Only 1 adult cat or dog is allowed in each carrier. The fee for pets in the cabin is $125 each way on United Airlines flights.
Pets in Cargo
United Airlines has partnered with American Humane to improve their pet transportation service, PetSafe. If your pet doesn't qualify for travel in the cabin (too large or traveling alone), then they can be transported with the PetSafe program instead, offering airport-to-airport travel for cats and dogs traveling to approximately 300 destinations. Pets from 2 lbs (1 kg) all the way up to 770 lbs (350 kg) can be transported with PetSafe. Rates vary depending on the size of your animal and the country of departure. Transporting a pet under 11 lbs (5 kg) from America to various destinations domestically and around the world will incur a charge between $201-417, whereas transporting the largest pets 300-770 lbs (136-350 kg) will incur a charge between $963-2410. You can contact the PetSafe Desk at 1-800-575-3335 or 1-832-235-1541 for more information and to book Fido's spot.
For pets traveling with you in the cabin, carriers must be hard or soft-sided. Hard-sided carriers can be a maximum of 17.5" x 12" x 7.5" (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm) and soft-sided carriers can be a maximum of 18" x 11" x 11" (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm). Your dog must be able to stand up and safely turn around in their carrier. For pets traveling with PetSafe, carriers must be large enough for your pet to move freely and stand with its head erect, to turn around and to lie down in a normal position, and be tall enough to provide enough room for your pet to stand and sit without its head and ears touching the top. The carrier must be constructed of rigid plastic, wood or metal, properly ventilated, and secured by metal bolts. Food and water dishes must be securely attached to the inside of the crate and must be accessible from the outside so they can be filled without opening the door. PetSafe does not accept crates taller than 30", including the 700 series crates. Customers should also remember that United Airlines no longer sell or provide crates at airport facilities.
United Airlines no longer accepts emotional support dogs on flights. The dog breeds that are no longer accepted on United flights are the Affenpinscher, American Bully, American Pit Bull, Terrier/Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier/"Amstaff", Belgian Malinois, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bulldog, American Bulldog, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Old English Bulldogges, Shorty Bulldogs, Spanish Alano/Spanish Bulldog/Alano Espanol, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chow Chow, English Toy Spaniel/Prince Charles Spaniel, Japanese Chin/Japanese Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Mastiff, American Mastiff, Boerboel/South African Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Ca de Bou/Mallorquin Mastiff, Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff, Dogo Argentino/Argentinian Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff, English Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro/Brazilian Mastiff/Cao de Fila, Indian Mastiff/Alangu, Kangal/Turkish Kangal, Neapolitan Mastiff/Mastino Napoletano, Pakistani Mastiff/Bully Kutta, Pyrenean Mastiff, Presa Canario/Perro de Presa Canario/Dogo Canario/Canary Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff / Mastin Espanol, Tibetan Mastiff, Tosa/Tosa Ken/Tosa Inu/Japanese Mastiff/Japanese Tosa, Pekingese, Pug, Dutch Pug, Japanese Pug, Shar-Pei/Chinese Shar-Pei, Shih-Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier/"Staffys", Tibetan Spaniel. United Airlines also doesn't accept the following cat breeds: Burmese, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian.
- CariSep. 28, 2021Never United!!!
I would give negative bones to United if I could - they HATE pets! I have Maine Coon Cats, but I'm leaving a review here since traveling is the same whether it's with a cat or dog. I've had a couple previous unpleasant interactions in the past with carry-on kitties on United and I avoided the airline for a long time. I am flying a LOT this year, though, defending my show cat's international placement (currently Best). United is one of the three major airlines that flies out of our small regional airport, so I thought I would give them another try. NEVER AGAIN, United! My cat is heavy and I use a pet stroller, which also gives him a little more room on our frequent layovers. I've gate-checked that stroller a couple dozen times on every major airline INCLUDING 3 FLIGHTS (6 legs) ON UNITED! Never had a problem until yesterday. Returning from Tampa, Fla, the check-in agent saw the stroller and told me they could not gate-check a pet stroller. She REFUSED to check me in, even though the stroller GOT to Tampa being gate-checked. The supervisor backed her up, insisting that the policy was posted on the "flying with pets" page and it was too bad that others had not followed it but they were going to. That policy is NOT posted where *I* or any of my friends could find it on the pets page! I begged them to let me pay the baggage fee that they insisted on, but still gate-check. NO was the answer. SO... I was stuck in SFO hand carrying my cat to a gate in another terminal - I should have made them call a wheel chair for me. I'm on the older side and have some previous injuries so with that extra weight, I was really slow. No time for lunch or the offer of a litter box for my cat. NEVER AGAIN! United Airlines, you SUCK!
- SunnyFeb. 17, 2021Conflicting Stories/No Accountability!
I called United twice ahead of flying with my dog as I was concerned about a line on their website that stated a dog cannot travel within 30 days of their rabies vaccination, and I was going to vaccinate her a few days ahead of my flight to ensure her shots did not expire during our trip. Both customer associates assured me that, as my dog is not a puppy and will have received three rabies vaccines in her lifetime, this policy did not apply to her - it only applied to new puppies who were receiving the vaccine for the first time. With their reassurance, I took my flight.
The outbound one was fine; there were no issues at the front desk. The inbound one was the problem. At the front desk, three different associates scruntinized her shot records and referred to their 30 day policy. I patiently tried to explain to them that 1) she had been allowed to fly a few days earlier and 2) I had been concerned about this issue & for that reason had proactively called United, not once but twice, and received reassurance that I wasn't doing anything wrong. I asked them if I could call United so they could hear it from someone else, but they immediately denied this and continued to be rude and abrasive. They also tried to gaslight me about my outbound flight, saying that there was no way another United front desk would have let my dog fly (although, my standing there in front of them in that city should have been proof enough). Finally, they let me go on the flight with my dog, and for the sake of getting out of there I didn't push the issue. There is something that continues to bother me about this situation, as there was no accountability from United though I tried to be a responsible customer & I was met with rudeness and condescension. I will not fly my dog with United again.
- SeanJul. 5, 2020They lied, misled, avoided me, then denied me
United Airlines screwed me. I called the accessibility desk in mid-June asking if rabbits were allowed as emotional support animals TWICE; BOTH TIMES they said yes, on a case by case basis, but that I'd need to file paperwork through the ESA portal, which I filed on 7/1.
I reuploaded them today on 7/5 after talking to a rep at the desk who said it was never received (despite the portal saying they were all received and the service rep referencing my paperwork while talking to me--oops).
They even indicate here on their own website that they accept rabbits specifically: https://www.united.com/web/en-us/content/travel/animals/
I spent ~250 bucks securing and renewing the necessary paperwork and filed it 8 days early, only to be told 2 days before my flight that rabbits are NOT allowed at all. See attached screenshot of their email contradicting both their website AND what their service reps said.
Why?! WHY lie about this! Just be honest up front! Don't they realize that people with a legitimate need for an ESA have them for severe anxiety and/or depression? They’ve made mine ten times worse. They cost me money and time and sanity for no reason other than wanting to APPEAR that you're supportive of this when you're clearly not. Now I'm sitting in any empty apartment scrambling to find new travel accommodations. United is terrible.
- ElizabethJan. 27, 2020Went Well Overall
I would give them 3-4 stars (bones?) if not for the great costumer service I received. The first time we tried to bring our dog to the airport for her flight, we were turned away due to an unknown embargo. They said the embargo must've been put in place last minute because they usually call or email if there is an issue, and they had never seen that happen before, but we were still pretty mad about taking our dog all the way to the airport and stressing her out only to be turned away. The staff at the counter were 0 help but the PetSafe rep got us on another flight before her health certificate was expired (in less than the 5 day minimum). We were told to call the ticket counter before leaving the day of her make-up flight to make sure all was good to go but of course the ticket counter won't take calls. But the PetSafe rep assured us she would be able to fly anyway. They recommended we file a complaint through the United Cargo website and after a few weeks (I guess they were investigating) they issued us a full refund for their mistakes. I really appreciate when a company can own up to their mistakes, and I didn't expect more than a hollow apology. Our pup arrived in good health, on time, and happy to see us. Despite the stress and confusion I would use the service again because I think they take care of their cargo and customers.
- PhillipJan. 23, 2020Call before booking
I knew that Delta's minimum age was 10 weeks, but I booked on United anyway. Big mistake! After I booked, the next day I called to pay for my puppy's flight home. As soon as they asked her age they said she's too young. Minimum age to fly is 16 weeks. Had to cancel the flight, and rebook somewhere else. That is okay, because United's ticket was $1100, Justfly.com on Delta was $325! Just call before booking!
- SharonApr. 6, 2019Nightmare!
My 17 pound Jack Russel /Chihuahua mix has flown in cabin with me on every major carrier including United in a soft sided carrier at least 20 times. Today as we are trying to leave Reno the check in agent and then her supervisor said that he was too big for his carrier because he couldn’t “stand up”. He can stand and turn around even if a bit stooped because soft sided carriers are very forgiving. I am stuck in Reno overnight and at great expense had to buy a last minute flight on another carrier tomorrow. I will never fly United with or without my dog again.
- DebbieMar. 25, 2019ANIMAL CRUELTY by UNITED's "NOT" Safe Pet Cargo
Please take to heart my WARNING. DO NOT use United Airlines (NOT) Pet Safe Cargo. Their animal abuse and irresponsible handling continues sadly as my new 9wk pup was a defenseless victim of a BROKEN LEG during her transport. They say they will pay your vets bills yet do not and take no responsibility for their cruel actions! The list is long of incompetent actions by United from changing flights without notice, undisclosed holding locations, to stating problem may have been at locations this pup never visited, such as Paris and Honolulu?? My pup flew from Montana by a reputable breeder, a happy pup with all health certs to me terrified with a BROKEN LEG. A complaint filed with DOT was the only action to get a phone call by a superior with United. This woman was quick to point out several ways they owed me nothing. I wish there were ZERO STARS, please don't risk your loved pet to what has happened to me and so many others! See article 3-24-19 about this very issue. https://www.care2.com/causes/are-changes-to-uniteds-petsafe-policy-enough-to-protect-dogs.html.
- CarolineNov. 13, 2018Smooth Sailing (almost)
I flew my dog on a direct flight from ORD to PHX. I was terrified considering the bad reputation that United has. But they were the only airline who would fly a dog her size with a direct flight from Chicago to Phoenix.
The process leading up to it was very easy. They are very responsive and helpful over email and were quick to update my account when I submitted the required documents.
The only reason I'm giving them 4 stars is my dog was almost not able to fly because I did not bring the "original copy" of her health certificate. I read through the instructions several times and spoke with the PetSafe reps to make sure I had all necessary documents. It doesn't say anywhere that I need the original document of her health certificate. Luckily they made an exception for me but please take note of this if you are flying with United!
As far as the actual trip everything went very smoothly. I was lucky enough to pick a window seat (28F) where I was able to see her being loaded and unloaded. (I actually got a video of her being boarded, too) She was the last to be boarded and the first to come off the plane. She was transported directly from the van to the conveyer belt and they were not unnecessarily rough.
When I picked her up she was obviously tired but overall she was fine. I could tell they gave her some water because her bowl was wet when I let her out.
I wanted to leave this positive review for anyone else like me who was terrified of flying their pet and wants any confirmation that it is not going to be a traumatic experience. Just make sure you bring the original copies of their health certificates. That was the only negative part of my experience.
- KevinJul. 22, 2018New restrictions on customer-paid carry-on pets are rediculous
First, I have to admit--and be greatful--that UA allows pet birds on board. I have gladly paid the $125 each way, even though it was often more expensive than my own ticket. But now they say the carry on pet counts as one of your carry-ons. That means the real cost is $150 since you have to check a bag. And the new rules are uninformed. Read the instructions. At the airport, under no circumstances, can you take the dog out of the carrier. TSA disagrees with that, obviously. And until United owns the airport, I don't think they can regulate this outside of their gate areas. Is American Airlines going to let United regulate the behavior of people passing by their gates? I think not.
- JessicaMay. 8, 2018United will kick you off your flight!
Do not fly United with pets. My parents were kicked off their flight today. They purchased their tickets and my dog’s ticket on the phone with no issues. Then when they got to O’Hare airport they were informed no dogs are allowed in cabin anymore. My parents had to drive the 3 hrs from the airport back home because all other airlines were too expensive for same day ticket. United did nothing to help.
- AnneMar. 16, 2018DON'T FLY UNITED WITH YOUR PET
Just don't; they are actively trying to eliminate pets from their flights. I've flown twice with my dog in the last month and horrible experiences both times - can't gate check stroller as special handling, must go with checked luggage even though smaller than child strollers. Can't unzip carrier 2 inches for extra air circulation when no air in hot cabin. On and on. Just don't fly United if you care for your pet.
- AlyssaDec. 18, 2017Awful PetSafe customer service experience
My disaster began yesterday with United. I am (still) in the process of shipping a dog from DFW to BOS to get my puppy home. He's a 5 month old non-Pit breed, but he looks like one. What's important is that his health cert says otherwise.
When the breeder brought him to the airport on 12/17, a cargo supervisor (with an authority complex) said, "That looks like a Pit, he can't fly). The breeder turned around, drove 2.5 hours home and had to do it all over again today. I called United and DM'd them on Twitter and they supposedly called DFW to intervene.
They let her check the dog in, but not without a fight. The workers discriminated against the dog based on looks only, not the health cert signed by the vet. I'm SO relieved to know that United's cargo workers are dog breed experts. I can rest easy tonight just praying my dog makes it to Boston in one piece.
- MaryMore than a year agoSatisfied Customer
My new puppy came from Indiana to Reno last July and she was 7 weeks old which I thought might be too young. I offered to go pick her up because I had heard horror stories. The breeder reassured me that said she only flies the puppies on United and she used a booker and hadn’t had any problems. Puppy had one short layover in Denver. We met her in Reno. She was the first one off the flight before other passengers and baggage. I went to the UA baggage service and gave them the claim email and they tracked the flight and as soon as it was on the runway the UA employee went to the tarmac with her radio and was communicating with everybody to ensure that she was the first one off the place. The UA employee was back in about 5-7 minutes after leaving. Our puppy was calm and clean. She was curious but not distressed. Her carrier was clean and spotless. She wasn’t thirsty or hungry when we took her out of the carrier. She needed to pee which UA gave us a pee pad to use. They also offered to get her fresh water and also gave us time to acquaint ourselves with puppy at their luggage area. The breeder and I compared photos of her drop-off to my receiving and they were almost exactly the same. I would recommend UA pet cargo service.
- JudyMore than a year agoFrom fearful to delighted
I recently flew United with my 9 yr old Jack Russell who can be very jittery (I rescued @ 7 years so don't know the issues surrounding her behaviors.) Due to some of the harsh reviews I was nervous about having the proper carry on crate etc. From the moment I encountered the person who printed our boarding passes I sensed we were in for a good experience. EVERYONE was extremely helpful & reassuring. The entire process was flawless and would definitely again fly United with my pet!
- KristinMore than a year agoDog was WELL taken care of
We flew from Dulles International in Virginia to Honolulu on a non-stop flight for our move there. We had a WONDERFUL experience. The petsafe guy at Dulles was FANTASTIC. He calmed all our fears, explained how she is taken care of, made extra sure that she could reach her water and food bowls, took out a drill to screw extra holes in the attachable bowls so he could make sure they wouldn't fall during the flight, and was very gentle with our dog. You could tell that he really cared and he mentioned to us a couple of times about how he really loves his job and all the animals. He put us at ease.
When we boarded the plane we asked one of the pilots (didn't know he was a pilot at the time since I missed the bars on his uniform shoulder) to make sure that we didn't leave without our dog. He got off the plane and waited on the tarmac for our dog to be boarded, took a picture of her with his phone, and then came all the way back to coach to show us the picture. Just, WOW. He didn't have to do that.
We saw the air conditioned van pull up to the plane right before we took off and we saw it waiting for us at the gate when we landed in Hawaii. When we picked up Basie at Hawaii she was sleeping in her crate. There was no food or water spilled and she had no injuries. We are very happy with our experience and will definitely use petsafe in the future.
- ThomasMore than a year agoHorrific Nightmare
From the actual boarding to ridiculous requirements on size, dimensions, waterbottle length etc for transport to the fact that they demanded all of my brand new champion puppy's original documents only to lose them and be unable to ever find them on the other side...this was the most traumatic and stressful and expensive experience for our family, and the employees were all completely incompetent. Everyone tells you a different thing. If the website says the carrier must be 17.5 inches wide, when you arrive there is someone insisting it be 16 inches wide. My pitiful spaniel was terrified amongst all these militarized, huge killer breed dogs barking ferociously. His entire cage was covered with feces, and he was swimming in his own urine. I paid thousands of dollars for this. United is the worst.
- BreannaMore than a year agoOverly impressed
After reading the horrid reviews I was dreading sending my dog on any airline, let alone United. Unfortunately this was my only option. I went to the cargo area to send out my 4 month old puppy and the workers were nothing but helpful. They helped me with the paperwork, adding stickers, and gave her ice chips. Also pet her and calmed her with me. I was pretty upset and nervous leaving. During the time I was at the cargo office there was severe wether, which didn't help, knowing her flight will likely be delayed. Once they said they were ready I sent her off after a rough goodbye, worrying completely about her trip. I constantly checked her flight status and shipment tracking status. Then I saw the news that her flight was delayed. I was unsettled even more because the delay was an hour and a half. Called in to check on her status and was told they were checking on her, talking to her, and giving her ice chips and that she was calm. They also said her flight may potentially be cancelled, and if so they will get her on the next flight which unfortunately was still 4 hours later. Waited on the flight status, and found that the flight was still delayed. We called the worker and he personally said he would go get my puppy and care for her at his desk. He went above and beyond for me and my puppy. He even recommended that we switch her flight since the plane she was meant to be on was having mechanical problems. When it was time to board, he called us and told us she was being loaded onto the plane. I can't believe how far he went to care for our puppy and ensure her safety and happiness. When she arrived in Chicago she was promptly unloaded and when we received her she was cleaned up and her crate was as well. They also took great care of her. I cannot give anything but praise for this experience! Thank you for taking care of my precious cargo united!
- RobMore than a year agoOutstanding - pilots are fully on board
We've taken dogs on United 9 times now. Several flights ago, our dog appeared to be late in getting to the plane. The pilot's response: "I will not leave the gate without your dog."
I mentioned this experience to the pilot on the next flight. He not only said the same thing, but when there was a delay in leaving the gate, personally went to check on my dog. He then looked for me in the cabin to report back.
On my most recent flight, the pilot went to cargo and took a selfie of the dog, then found me at my seat to show me.
This is outstanding service in my book!