What are in-cabin pets?
In-cabin pets are domesticated cats and dogs that can fit in a travel carrier underneath the seat in front of you.
Pets can’t be in-cabin on flights to, from or through Hawaii and these international locations, but they are allowed in-cabin on select United flights.
You can bring aboard your in-cabin pet’s kennel in addition to your carry-on bag allowance. There’s a $125 service charge each way and an additional $125 service charge for each stopover of more than four hours within the U.S. or more than 24 hours outside of the U.S.
We know that pets are important members of your family, but to keep them and other travelers safe, you must follow the rules below:
Requirements for in-cabin pets
- On domestic flights, puppies and kittens must be at least 2 months old. On international flights, puppies and kittens must be at least 4 months old due to rabies vaccination requirements.
- Pets can’t travel with unaccompanied minors.
- Pets must travel on the same flights as the traveler responsible for them.
- If there’s an emergency, oxygen service won’t be available for pets.
- There are various state and country entry rules for animals, and it’s up to you to know what they are and to comply with them.
- If you’re traveling internationally, please see the “Hawaii and international travel” section below. And if you’re traveling to the U.S. from another country, please see the “Health declarations and vaccination requirements for dogs and cats entering the U.S.” section below.
Carriers and kennels
A pet traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of you and remain there at all times. The maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). The recommended maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm). Soft-sided pet carriers can exceed these dimensions slightly because they are collapsible and able to fit underneath a seat without blocking the aisle.
Only one pet is allowed in a kennel and must fit comfortably inside. The animal must be able to stand up and turn around. This illustration shows the correct fit for your pet:
For questions, please contact the United Customer Contact Center at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331).
Booking an in-cabin pet
If you want to bring your pet into the cabin, you’ll need to indicate you are traveling with your pet ahead of time. You can do this when booking your trip on united.com and indicating the number of travelers in your reservation. Follow the prompts under “Pets in cabin.” You can also add your pet to your existing reservation through Manage Reservations on united.com
Please note: United's in-cabin pet policy applies to flights operated by United and United Express® only. For codeshare flights, please check the operating carrier’s in-cabin pet policy. If you are traveling on multiple airlines, please check with each carrier individually to make sure your pet can travel and for each airline’s restrictions. United can only accept your pet for flights operated by United and United Express.
At the airport with an in-cabin pet
When you arrive at the airport with your in-cabin pet, please check in with a United customer service representative who will give you a bright yellow bag tag to attach to your pet’s kennel. The tag will inform you of the requirements for traveling with your pet in the cabin and must be signed as an acknowledgement of our policies.
On board with an in-cabin pet
- Your pet must stay in their kennel with the door closed at all times while in the airport, at the boarding area and while on board the plane.
- Your pet’s kennel must stay at your feet, underneath the seat in front of you.
Dogs from high-risk rabies locations temporarily barred from entering the U.S.
As of July 14, 2021, the U.S. government is temporarily suspending the transportation of dogs into the U.S. from countries considered high risk for rabies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The suspension is in place until further notice.
As of December 1, 2021 dogs vaccinated in the United States by a US-licensed veterinarian may re-enter the United States from a high-risk country without a CDC Dog Import Permit if the dog:
- has a valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate;
- has proof of a microchip;
- is at least 6 months old;
- is healthy upon arrival; and
- arrives at an approved port of entry
Expired US-issued rabies vaccination certificates will not be accepted. If the US-issued rabies vaccination certificate has expired, you must apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit, if eligible.
United currently serves the following affected locations:
Belize, Brazil, Colombia, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, South Africa
Customers connecting to United from other locations may be affected. Dogs from high-risk countries will be denied boarding unless a CDC Dog Import Permit, which must be requested at least 6 weeks before travel, or a US-issued rabies vaccination certificate is presented. Dogs without a permit or vaccination certificate will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the importer’s expense. Learn more about the CDC guidelines.
United doesn’t allow in-cabin pets on flights to, from or through:
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan)
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
Before you travel, you’ll need to find out if pets are allowed to enter your destination. For more information, or to book international in-cabin travel for a pet, contact the United Customer Contact Center. Rules for international in-cabin pets vary.
Animals entering the U.S. need to be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before arrival. Pet owners must show a valid certificate of rabies vaccination signed by a licensed veterinarian and completed 30 days before they arrive in the U.S. Even if you’re coming from a rabies-free country, or a destination with a shorter waiting period, your pet needs to be vaccinated for at least 30 days before entering the U.S. Since puppies and kittens cannot be vaccinated against rabies before three months of age, puppies and kittens under four months old won’t be accepted for travel.
The certificate should include the following information:
- Name, phone number and address of the owner
- Identifying information for the animal, including breed, sex, age, color and markings
- Date of vaccination and the name of the vaccine used
- Date when the vaccination expires. If no expiration date is given, the vaccination must have been completed within 12 months before arrival in the U.S.
- Confirmation of a booster shot is acceptable
- You can book your pet for in-cabin travel only if there is space available.
- If you’re traveling with an in-cabin pet, you cannot be seated in the bulkhead or an emergency exit row.
- If you’re traveling with an in-cabin pet, you cannot be seated in a United Premium Plus℠ seat because the footrest limits the storage space under the seats.
- Two pets per flight are allowed in our premium cabins on select aircraft. Pets are not permitted in our 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), or six pets per flight 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).
- The number of in-cabin pets allowed varies by United Express partner airline. For more information about the operating carrier’s in-cabin pet policy, contact the United Customer Contact Center.