- United Airlines does not allow pets to be checked in as cargo, except for US military and State Department personnel traveling between Honolulu and Guam.
- Travelers can bring their pets in-cabin for a fee of $125 each way, but there are size restrictions, and pets must remain in their carriers throughout the flight.
- Traveling internationally with pets on United Airlines can be challenging, as specific rules and restrictions depend on the destination.
With travel demand soaring over the past few months, more and more people are looking to travel with their pets. However, rules on traveling with pets can be tricky, and they can be very different from one airline to another.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
United Airlines is not known to be the most pet-friendly airline in the sky. In fact, NerdWallet ranked United last out of the nine major US carriers in terms of pet-friendliness. So, what exactly are the rules for traveling with pets on United Airlines flights?
No pets in cargo
To start, it is essential to note that United Airlines does not allow pets to be checked in. The carrier stands out as one of the few airlines in the US not to have a program that facilitates checking pets into the cargo hold as checked luggage.
Some might be familiar with the PetSafe program United used to have, which allowed some pets to be checked in as cargo on United-operated flights. However, the program has been suspended and has yet to make a comeback, so it has proven to be a challenge for some travelers who wish to travel with their furry friends.
Photo: Bulgaria Air
There is a single exception to the rule. If you are a US military or State Department personnel traveling between Honolulu and Guam on a flight operated by United Airlines, you are in luck. Qualified travelers can transport their pets as checked baggage on flights between the two cities with a few limits and rules.
Traveling with pets in-cabin
When it comes to traveling with pets in the cabin, there are a series of rules to follow. Before traveling, travelers need to choose the ‘travel with pets’ option when booking and ensure that their pets are over two months old if traveling domestically and over four months old when traveling internationally. It can also be added as an additional option later on, and there is a $125 fee each way for traveling with pets.
There are some size restrictions on pet carriers, and the pets must be able to stand up and move around. Once on the plane, the pet carrier goes under the seat, and pets must not be let out at any time. Last year, a cat escaped on a United flight from Dallas and wandered around the cabin.
Photo: Tsuguliev / Shutterstock
Internationally, it can be tricky as travelers must adhere to local rules and are often required to complete additional paperwork. For example, it is not possible to travel with pets to a number of countries that United flies to, including the UK, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, and several more. It is best to check United’s “Flying with Pets” page before traveling to keep up with the latest rules.
Your Stress-Free Guide To Traveling With Furry Friends
Flying with pets doesn’t have to be a trial — it can be simple, easy, and even fun if you know how! Here’s our guide to flying with pets.
What about service animals?
On United Airlines, service animals can fly for free with their owner or trainer if they are over four months old. Travelers flying with service animals must indicate their choice after booking through United’s website and fill out several DOT forms. More information can be found on United Airlines’ page on service animals.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Scott Kirby
- United States