Service animals

Helpful travel reminders

  • The animal is required to be seated in the floor space directly in front of your seat.
  • The animal should not extend into the aisles.
  • The animal must behave properly in public and should follow directions from its owner.
  • If you’re traveling with an animal in cabin, we require you to bring an up-to-date copy of your animal’s vaccination certificate with you on your trip. You should also have it on hand in case we ask to see it, and you can’t travel within 30 days of your animal's rabies vaccination.
  • When traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal, you'll need to submit all three forms together to the Accessibility Desk at least 48 hours before your flight. If you want to bring a pet on board, you’ll need to buy an extra ticket for that pet and pay an additional $125 each way. Your pet must also always remain in the floor space under that seat.
  • Contact the United Accessibility Desk at 1-800-228-2744 if you have any questions or special requirements.

Task-trained service animals

Task-trained service animals are animals that receive specific training to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities. These animals usually include cats and dogs (any other animal species would have to comply with DOT regulations and will be evaluated for accommodation on a case-by-case basis) and must be a minimum age of four months for acceptance on United. Examples include animals that assist with visual limitations, deafness, seizures and mobility limitations.

Task-trained service animals are accepted in cabin for qualified individuals with a disability. A service animal should sit in the floor space in front of the customer's assigned seat and cannot protrude into the aisles or the foot space of adjacent passengers. Customers may use an approved in-cabin kennel for smaller animals provided its use meets stowage requirements. Exit row seating is prohibited. Documentation may be required for an animal traveling to international destinations.

Emotional support and psychiatric service animals

Emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals provide emotional, psychiatric or cognitive support for individuals with disabilities, but may or may not have task-specific training with respect to a disability.

Emotional support and psychiatric service animals are also accepted in cabin for qualified individuals with a disability if certain information and additional documentation that United requires are provided in advance of travel. In addition to providing a letter from a licensed medical/mental health professional, customers need to provide a veterinary health form documenting the health and vaccination records for the animal as well as confirming that the animal has been trained to behave properly in a public setting. With prior documentation and clearance, a customer may travel with no more than one emotional support animal that is usually either a cat or dog (any other animal species would need to comply with DOT regulations and will be evaluated for accommodation on a case-by-case basis) and must be of a minimum age of four months. If the animal weighs more than 65 pounds, United will evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether the animal may safely travel on the passenger’s scheduled flight(s). Multiple emotional support animals for a single customer are not permitted. Whether an emotional support or psychiatric service animal is safely capable of traveling on flights eight hours or more in duration will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Passengers may be held responsible for cleaning fees required as a result of any sanitation issues caused by their emotional support or psychiatric service animal’s travel. United will consider all relevant information, including information from the required documentation, when determining whether an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal may safely travel in the aircraft cabin on the passenger’s itinerary.

Additional documentation beyond United’s requirements described above may also be required for an animal traveling to an international destination, Hawaii or certain other locations. Please note that not all international destinations allow the entry of animals, and restrictions vary by country. Customers should contact the appropriate consulate or embassy to make sure that all necessary procedures are followed.

An animal must sit at the customer's feet without protruding into the aisle, the foot space of adjacent passengers, or certain other areas that must remain unobstructed to comply with safety regulations. Customers may elect to use an approved in-cabin kennel for smaller animals. Unless in a carrying container, the animal will need to be leashed at all times in the airport and in flight. Exit row seating is prohibited. Refer to the U.S. Department of Transportation 14 CFR Part 382 or contact United for additional information.

Customers traveling with an emotional support animal or a psychiatric service animal must submit the required documentation at least 48 hours before the customer’s flight via our secure portal. If we are unable to validate the documentation, if the customer does not provide completed documentation, or if advance notification is not given, the animal may be denied boarding or may be eligible to be transported as a pet, and pet fees may apply. Contact the United Accessibility Desk at 1-800-228-2744 if you have any questions about this process or are booking a flight within 48 hours of the departure time. See Rule 16 of United’s Contract of Carriage for additional information on service animals.

Forms and documents for emotional support and psychiatric service animals

If you’re traveling with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you’ll need to complete these forms and submit them for approval through our secure portal:

Your forms will be valid one year from the date of the earliest signed authorizations, and you’ll need to submit them at least 48 hours before each trip that you take with your support animal, but the earlier the better. Please bring your original forms with you while you’re traveling and be prepared to show them if we ask to see them.

Service animals in training

United only recognizes service animals that have been trained and certified. Animal trainers are permitted to bring one service animal that is training to assist disabled passengers onboard free of charge. These service animals must not occupy a seat. Trainers transporting service animals in the ordinary course of business or service animals who are not in training must check these animals.

Therapy animals

Therapy animals, which are pets that have been trained and registered by a therapy organization in order to visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools and other facilities, are not considered to be service animals. When traveling with a therapy animal, standard pet-related regulations and restrictions will apply.

Destination-specific information

United States

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has exemptions for dogs arriving from certain rabies-free countries, we require each animal entering the U.S. to have a valid certificate of rabies vaccination, signed by a licensed veterinarian. Vaccinations must be completed at least 30 days before arrival in the U.S.

Hawaii

There are restrictions regarding the entry of service animals into Hawaii. Customers planning to travel to Hawaii should contact the Hawaii Animal Quarantine Branch manager directly for quarantine requirements. The 24-hour phone number is 1-808-837-8092. You may also view animal quarantine information at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture website.

Republic of Ireland

Customers traveling with a service animal to Dublin, Ireland, should review the entry requirements at www.agriculture.gov.ie/pets/. Significant advance notice is required.

United Kingdom

United is approved under the United Kingdom's Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to accept service animals on flights to the UK. Review the entry requirements on the gov.uk website. Please provide a minimum one-week advance notification. Additional fees may apply.

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