Home > Travel information > Travel for animals > PetSafe frequently asked questions
Before you book
- What features does the PetSafe® program offer for my pet's travel?
The PetSafe program has the following features:
- Pets travel within United's specially designed plane compartments that are pressurized in the same way as passenger cabins.
- A dedicated 24-hour PetSafe desk is available for help at any time (1-800-575-3335 or 1-832-235-1541).
- Each pet receives a confirmed booking prior to departure.
- You have the ability to track your pet's transport from its origin to its destination online.
- On the ground, both plane and warehouse facilities are climate-controlled for the safety of your pet. To ensure comfort in any weather conditions, pets will be the last cargo loaded and the first cargo unloaded from the plane.
- Pets receive personal handling in climate-controlled vehicles for connections in United's hubs if the animal will be exposed to temperatures greater than 85°F (29.5°C) for more than 45 minutes.
- How much does it cost to ship my pet?
The cost to ship your pet depends on the combined weight of your pet plus the weight of your kennel. For more information, go to the PetSafe Rates section of our website. Please note that the posted rates do not include additional fuel and freight processing fees. Certain international routes may also include additional travel fees.
- How do I book PetSafe travel for my pet?
You may use our online booking form or call PetSafe agents at 1-800-575-3335 or 1-832-235-1541.
- How far in advance should I book travel for my pet?
We encourage you to book as far in advance as possible, as space is limited.
- What information is required to book PetSafe travel for my pet?
Please have the following details prepared before booking travel for your pet:
- The origin, destination, preferred date and time of your pet's travel
- The breed, age and weight of the animal, along with the measurements of the kennel your pet requires to stand up and move around comfortably
- The complete name, address and phone number of the person who will drop off the animal
- The complete name, address and phone number of the person who will pick up the animal at the destination
- Why am I unable to book my pet on a flight that I see listed online?
Your pet's safety is our top priority. Due to pressurization requirements, certain aircraft are not able to accommodate pets. In addition, the ability to book your pet on a specific flight is dependent on spaces available for pets.
- Is a health certificate required for my pet to travel?
For both travel within the U.S. and international travel, all animals are required to have a vet-issued health certificate issued within 10 days of travel in either direction. For international trips, customers should contact the appropriate embassy or consulate at least one month before departure to ensure all country-specific entry procedures are followed.
- Are there pet age restrictions for PetSafe travel?
Dogs or cats must be at least eight weeks old. If your pet weighs less than one pound, the pet must be at least 10 weeks old to travel. United recommends, but does not require, that senior dogs and cats (more than 7.5 years old) receive a more extensive health examination (e.g., liver and kidney screens).
- Can more than one pet travel in a single kennel?
Only one adult cat or dog is allowed in each kennel. Two puppies or kittens may travel together if they are younger than six months of age, less than 20 pounds each and of compatible size and weight.
Before you go
- What type of kennel should I use?
The kennel must be sturdy, properly ventilated and large enough for the animal to freely sit and stand with its head erect, turn around and lie down in a normal posture. To prevent accidental injury, no part of the animal's body can protrude through any openings in the kennel. For this reason, kennels made exclusively from wire are not accepted. Please go to the Kennels section of our website for more information.
- What can I include in my pet's kennel?
Toys or medications of any kind are not permitted in pet kennels. Items that can be securely attached to the outside of your pet's kennel include: less than one pound of food, one leash and one collar. Place some type of absorbent material on the bottom of the kennel (towel, blanket, black and white newspaper, etc.). The kennel must also have two dishes that attach to the inside door of the kennel for feeding and providing water to your pet if necessary.
- What can I do to prepare my pet for its trip?
One of the most important steps you can take to ease the stress of travel for your pet is to make sure it becomes familiar with its kennel. Purchase the kennel as far in advance as possible. Veterinarians recommend leaving the kennel door open in the house with an old sock, treats or familiar objects inside so that your pet may spend time near the kennel and perhaps venture inside on its own. Since it is important that your pet be as relaxed as possible during the flight, familiarization with the kennel is essential.
- How should I label my pet's kennel?
Label the top of your pet's kennel with your pet's name as well as the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the customers at both origin and destination. When you drop off your pet, we will provide you with other required labels for your kennel. Please see the Required Labeling section of our website for more information.
- Should I sedate my pet before the flight?
No. We do not accept animals that have been sedated or tranquilized.
- Should I feed my pet before the flight?
We recommend not feeding your pet in the two hours prior to departure, as a full stomach can cause discomfort for a traveling pet.
- Where do I drop off my pet?
Our drop-off locations vary by airport. View our PetSafe Drop-off and Pickup Locations (PDF) page for airport locations in the U.S.
- How early should I drop off my pet?
Pets should check in at least two hours and no more than four hours prior to the flight's scheduled departure time.
- Can I track the status of my pet?
Yes. When you drop off your pet for travel, you will be given an air waybill number. Enter your air waybill number into our online tracking tool to monitor your pet's status.
- What happens if I am delayed in picking up my pet?
If your pet arrives at the airport and you are on a later flight or are otherwise unable to pick up the pet for a short period of time, pets may be kenneled. United operates on-airport kennels at its Chicago O’Hare United Cargo facility, Houston Intercontinental United Cargo facility and at New York/Newark in Passenger Terminal C. Pets traveling to airports other than Chicago O’Hare, Houston Intercontinental and New York/Newark may be boarded at off-site kennels. Depending on the situation, additional kenneling charges may apply.