The Adventures of Django and Arya

United Airlines

The United Airlines pet policy 2023 includes options for flying with dogs or cats in the cabin. Only military dogs can travel as checked baggage, but you can use United Airlines pet cargo company, PetSafe for larger cats and dogs. For puppies and kittens to fly in the cabin, they must be at least 2 months old on domestic flights, and 4 months old on United international flights. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are no longer accepted under the United Airlines ESA pet policy 2023 due to changes in US laws. However, trained and registered Assistance & Service Dogs may fly in the cabin free of charge. If you’re importing a dog to the USA, your dog’s age and vaccine requirements depend on the risk of rabies where your trip starts. At the moment, there’s a travel for dogs being imported to the USA from high risk rabies countries. Check out United Airlines pet travel reviews, or leave a pet travel review for United Airlines. Read on for the full United Airlines pet policy for 2023.

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Dogs & Cats in the Cabin of the Plane
Dogs & Cats flying as Checked In Baggage
Pets flying as Cargo
Assistance Dogs in Cabin
Psychiatric Service Dogs in Cabin
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in Cabin
United Airlines Pet Policy 2023

Does United Airlines Allow Dogs & Cats in the Cabin?

The United Airlines pet policy 2023 accepts dogs and cats to fly in the cabin within their travel bag.

The travel bag or kennel must meet the United Airlines specifications outlined in their pet travel policy, with maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels of L 17.5″ x W 12″ x H 7.5″. The recommended maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are L 18″ x W 11″ x H 11″.

On the flight, the travel bag will be stowed underneath the seat in front of you, you can’t remove your cat or dog during the flight for safety reasons. In addition, the following rules apply when flying your pet in the cabin with United Airlines:

  • Pets must be able to stand and sit up, turn around normally and lie down in a natural position in their kennel, without touching any side or the top of their travel bag.
  • Non-collapsible kennels can’t exceed the under seat dimensions of any aircraft included in your journey. Contact American Airlines Reservations Department to verify the maximum dimensions for your journey.
  • Soft-sided collapsible kennels can be slightly larger but still need to fit under the seat in front of you. They also have to be secure, padded, made of water-repellant material and have nylon mesh ventilation on two or more sides.

IATA Regulations for Cats & Dogs Flying in the Cabin

While you need to ensure that your pet’s travel crate meets the maximum dimensions set by United Airlines to fly in the cabin, remember that you must also adhere to the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This includes calculating the minimum inner crate dimensions allowed by the IATA LAR for your cat or dog to fly in the cabin. In addition, the airline pet travel carrier must adhere to the criteria set by the IATA LAR, in terms of ventilation, design etc.

If you’re new to pet travel, check out 8 IATA Compliant Airline Pet in Cabin Carriers.

Cost of Flying a Pet in Cabin with United Airlines

It cost $125 one way to pay for your pet as additional carry-on baggage with United Airlines. But, there’s also the option to travel with your cat or dog in their travel bag along with one personal item.

However, you won’t be permitted to bring a carry-on bag in addition to a pet carrier and personal item, as the pet carrier replaces your carry-on bag.

Numbers of Pets allowed In Cabin with United Airlines

As with all airlines, there’s a limit on the number of cats or dogs that can travel in the cabin. With United Airlines, the number of pets permitted in the cabin depends on the aircraft:

  • Two pets per flight are allowed in premium cabins on select aircraft. Pets are not permitted in premium cabins on Boeing 757-200, 767, 777 or 787 aircraft because of limited storage space under the seat
  • Four pets per flight are allowed in United Economy® on all narrow-body aircraft operated by United (including the Boeing 737 and 757, or the Airbus 319/320)
  • Six pets per flight are permitted on wide-body aircraft (including the Boeing 767, 777 and 787).
    (A customer traveling with an in-cabin pet in United Economy on Boeing 757-200 aircraft will need to be seated in a window seat because of limited storage space under aisle and middle seats)

    For flights on the Boeing 737 MAX 9, the maximum kennel height is 10 inches (25 cm).

Does United Airlines Allow Pets in the Hold as Checked Baggage?

Unfortunately, United Airlines doesn’t allow pets, including cats and dogs, to fly in the hold as checked baggage. However, if your pet is too large to fly in the cabin, they can still travel as cargo in the hold with United Airlines pet cargo company, PetSafe®.

United Airlines Pet Cargo Travel with PetSafe®

In some cases, your pet may have to fly as cargo, rather than checked baggage. For instance, if you’re travelling on a different flight as your pet, or you’re flying to a country that doesn’t permit pets to arrive in the cabin. For example, all animals, including cats and dogs must arrive in the United Kingdom (UK) as cargo, they can’t enter in the passenger cabin or in the hold as checked baggage.

If your pet isn’t allowed to fly in the cabin, they may travel as cargo with the United Airlines Pet Cargo company, PetSafe®. However, from 12 April 2021, due to government restrictions, and the current COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines has suspended all PetSafe® animal transport, including flights for Military Service Dogs.

IATA Requirements for Pets Flying in Hold

For the safety of your pet during air transport, the airline travel kennel must meet the legal requirements of the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Therefore, in addition to ensuring that your cat or dog in their travel crate adheres to the maximum weight and dimensions set by United Airlines, the minimum inner kennel dimensions defined by the IATA LAR must also be met.

You can calculate the minimum inner space permitted by the IATA LAR, in addition to learning about the required construction, design etc for the pet in hold travel crate.

IATA dog crate calculator pet kennel dimensions formula airline approved cat dog carrier

Should you need a new travel kennel, check out 4 Popular IATA Compliant Pet in Hold Crates.

United Airlines Assistance & Service Dog and Emotional Support Animal (ESAs) Policy

As of 11 January 2021, the United Airlines pet policy no longer recognises Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), therefore no new ESA reservations will be accepted. Emotional Support Animals are now subject to the standard United Airlines pet travel policy.

Only professionally trained Assistance & Service Dogs (SVANs) can fly in the cabin free of charge in a United Airlines cabin if they meet the requirements. A service animal is defined as a dog that’s individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, including but not limited to:

  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Seizures
  • Mobility impairments
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Trained Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSVD) are therefore permitted to travel with United Airlines.

United Airlines Restricted Pet Routes

Due to government pet travel rules, you can’t fly your cat or dog in the cabin to certain countries. These rules are in place in some pet friendly destinations that are currently rabies free, in order to protect their borders. For example, when flying to the UK (Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland) all pets arriving on a plane must travel as cargo in the hold.

As previously mentioned, only cats and dogs are permitted in the cabin on flights to Hawaii.

Pet Travel Documentation & Vaccines

United Airlines is an American international pet friendly airline, so for flights to the USA, your pet must meet the requirements of the US Pet Travel Scheme. Note that Hawaii has different pet travel requirements to the rest of the USA. Also, be aware that there’s currently a dog import ban in the USA from high risk rabies countries. The same rules apply if your dog has visited one of these destinations within six months of their travel to the US.

For flights to the EU, your cat or dog has to meet the EU Pet Travel Scheme criteria. This means that you’ll need to arrange either a Pet Passport or Animal Health Certificate, and ensure that your cat or dog is microchipped and vaccinated against Rabies.

You can also check out the pet travel laws for other worldwide destinations in 2023.

Are Pets Safe on Planes?

If you’re worried about your furry travel companion’s wellbeing when flying, check out our comprehensive post regarding pet safety on planes.

In the USA, a monthly report is provided for pet incident rates for each airline by the US Department of Transport (US DoT). An incident is defined as the loss, injury or death of a pet during airline transport. Incidence reports for 2021 showed that United Airlines had the third highest incident rate out of all pet friendly airlines in the USA that transport pets in the hold.

  1. Hawaiian Airlines: 2.15 Incident Rate for 9,302 pets
  2. Delta Airlines: 1.06 Incident Rate for18,934 pets
  3. United Airlines: 0.99 Incident Rate for10,152 pets

Be sure to purchase a strong, safe crate for your pet to travel in the hold.

No doubt, at some point your trip will involve a car ride, so have a look at our 12 Essential Pet Car Safety Tips too. Should your cat or dog suffer from motion sickness, we’ve also compared some of the treatments, strategies and medications for pet travel nausea.

It’s important to be aware that you can’t sedate or tranquilize your cat or dog for their flight, whether your pet, or pets, are travelling in the United Airlines cabin or hold.

In addition, to protect your pet’s health and wellbeing in a new country, be sure to keep your cat or dog safe from vector-borne diseases. In particular, Heartworm from mosquitoes and Leishmaniasis from sandflies in Southern European destinations pose a serious threat.

You might also want to check out 10 Pet Friendly Airlines in the EU and Pets in Cabin from the UK and 7 Transatlantic Pet Friendly Airlines.

And don’t forget the all important Essential Pet Travel Accessories!

Prior to booking, always view the United Airlines pet travel policy on their website for any recent changes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines are frequently amending their rules for pets on planes.

Have a safe and wonderful trip, and remember to leave a pet travel review for United Airlines if you fly your pet cat or dog, in the cabin or hold!

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