Traveling with your pet

How to Book United Airlines Pet Travel

It’s not every day that you have to book a flight for your pet, which is why this may seem like the most complicated part of your move. What should you expect when contacting the airline? If you are wondering how to safely move and travel with your pet, take a look below!

Booking U.S. Domestic vs. International Pet Travel

Booking your pet on a U.S. domestic flight with United is a straightforward process – you just need to make sure you have the right kennel, a rabies vaccination, and a health certificate within 10 days of travel (unless your pet will be moving to 

However, international flight bookings become a little more complex. If you’re moving to Australia, Italy, New Zealand, or Singapore, United requires that you hire a professional pet-shipping company to help due to quarantine and other import requirements. Also, if you’re traveling with your pet to the United Kingdom, Ireland, or Micronesia (including Guam), your pet is required to travel unaccompanied.

No matter where you’re traveling to with your pet, it is important to review the import requirements for your destination. Does your destination require an import permit for your pet? If so, you might have to present the import permit number in order to book and confirm an international flight for your pet. Please make sure you follow every detail of the import rules to avoid any issues with your pet’s flight booking, check-in, or clearance.

In-Cabin Pets

1)  First, you will need to determine whether your species of pet can travel in-cabin.

Small dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds (excluding cockatoos) can travel in-cabin with United. If you have another species of pet, go to step 4.

2) Your pet will need to travel in an approved hard-shelled kennel:

It can not be larger than 44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm or in an animal travel bag (soft-sided) that expands to a recommended maximum of 46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm.  Only one pet may travel in the kennel (except birds) and your pet must be able to stand up and turn around comfortably inside the kennel.  If your pet cannot fit comfortably in a carrier or kennel of this size, go to step 4.

3) Call to Book Your Flight:  

To make reservations by phone, please contact your country’s United Customer Contact Center

Keep in mind that even though your pet will be traveling with you in the cabin, you’ll still need to follow the Pet relocation (pet import requirements) for your destination country.

Pricing Structure for Pets Traveling In-Cabin

In-cabin pets can be carried in addition to a carry-on bag and are subject to a $125 USD one-way service charge. Also, if you have a stopover that is longer than 4 hours, you are subject to another $125 USD service charge.

PetSafe -Unaccompanied Pets or Pets Traveling as Cargo

United has a program dedicated to unaccompanied pet travel called PetSafe. This program ensures that every pet traveling with United unaccompanied is handled properly and safely. Not only are the cargo areas pressurized and temperature-controlled, but often times United will even have vans available at major airports to transport pets to and from aircrafts to avoid exposing them to the conditions on the tarmac as much as possible.

4) Your pet should be transported unaccompanied by United PetSafe if:

  • Your pet and kennel are too big to travel in-cabin
  • The pet is traveling to the United Kingdom, Ireland, or to Hawaii or Micronesia (including Guam)

For your pet to travel unaccompanied via United PetSafe, you will need to find a travel crate that meets IATA (International Air Transport Association) standards for type and size. We have more information on what these standards are, including the best way to find the right size for your pet, on our website. A PetRelocation consultant will also be happy to guide you through this process. (see: Pet Travel Crates)

5) Call to Book Your Flight:

To make reservations for your pet to fly in cargo from the United States, call the PetSafe Desk at 1-800-575-3335 or 1-832-235-1541.  If you are looking to book from other countries, it is best to work with an IPATA service provider like PetRelocation to plan your pet’s move.

Also, keep in mind the PetSafe Desk will expect you to be aware of your country’s import requirements. Sometimes, they will even require an import permit number to book your pet’s flight and ask for the following information when you book:

  • Shipper information (name, address, and telephone number)
  • Consignee information (name, address, and telephone number)
  • Travel details (departure and arrival airports, desired flight day)
  • Pet details (name, age, sex, species, breed, weight, kennel size)

Pricing Structure for PetSafe

Rates vary depending upon your origin and destination but are based on the total weight of the pet and the kennel combined. Each kennel + pet amount is charged separately (you cannot combine the weights of multiple pets and kennels to fit in a rate bracket). Also, other charges like broker fees, kenneling charges, or surcharges may apply.

Booking Delta Airlines Pet Travel

Booking U.S. Domestic vs. International Pet Travel

Domestic pet travel within the United States requires that your pet have a travel kennel and a health certificate within 10 days of travel at the very least. However, it is always a good idea to check your specific destination state’s requirements to ensure there will be no issues when your pet arrives.

If your pet will be traveling internationally with Delta Cargo, you will be required to work with an IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transportation Association) member, like PetRelocation. Regardless, it’s important to be aware of the import requirements involved with moving a pet internationally.

Pets as Carry On

Your pet can travel with you in-cabin for a one-way fee. These range from $75 USD to $200 USD/CAD/EUR depending upon your destination, that will be charged at check-in. Pets permitted in the cabin include dogs, cats, and household birds. However, household birds are only allowed to travel in cabin on domestic flights within the US.

The following restrictions apply:

  • Your pet must be small enough to fit comfortably in a kennel under the seat directly in front of you. Maximum carry-on kennel dimensions are determined by your flight. You must contact Delta Reservations to determine the appropriate kennel size.
  • Your pet must remain inside the kennel (with door secured) while in a Delta boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), a Delta airport lounge, and while onboard the aircraft.
  • Your pet must be at least 10 weeks old for domestic travel in the US. 16 weeks old if traveling internationally to the US, or 15 weeks old for travel in the EU.
  • You may not carry on more than one pet. This is unless you’re traveling with a female cat/dog with an un-weaned litter (and the litter is between 10 weeks and 6 months old).
  • Your pet in-cabin counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.
  • If you’re traveling to one of the following locations, Delta will not accept pets as in-cabin travelers: Australia, Barbados, Dakar, Dubai, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates.

Exception: Two pets of the same type may be allowed in one kennel, for example, two dogs or two cats. Speak with Delta for more information.

Also, Delta limits the number of pets per flight to:


Pets as Cargo

Delta Cargo addresses the special and delicate needs of shipping live animals around the world. Delta cargo offers personalized and safe care for traveling pets.

Unfortunately, due to health and safety reasons, Delta Cargo no longer accepts dogs and cats that are considered as snub-nosed breeds including mixes. You can check if your pet falls under this list on the Delta Cargo website.

If your pet is able to travel with Delta Cargo, you will first need to find a travel kennel that meets USDA and IATA regulations.

Bookings with Delta Cargo must be made within 14 days of departure. Additionally, traveling pets are required to have a minimum two-hour connection to allow time to safely transfer them to and from each aircraft. You can book domestic pet travel by using Delta’s online booking system or by contacting 1-800-352-2746. As mentioned previously, if you’re booking internationally, you will be required to work with an IPATA member.

Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call Delta in advance at 800-221-1212 to arrange to bring your pet on board.

We hope this info was beneficial to you. If you are in need of moving, contact us here at All Around Moving.

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