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Pet Crate Regulations

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Airline Approved Pet Crates and CarriersAirlines and their passengers must follow USDA regulations on the size of pet kennels used to transport animals by aircraft. Any kennel used must be sturdy, properly ventilated, and large enough for your pet to stand, lie down and turn around freely.

The kennel must close securely with a mechanism that requires no special tools to operate. Prescribed kennels are available from most airlines for a fee. If you have any doubts about the appropriateness of your kennel, check with a United representative, as the USDA assigns full responsibility to the airline for accepting only proper kennels.

Fees for checked kennels
For fee information, please view Airline Pet Policy Tab.
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Kennel requirements
Each checked kennel may:

  • Contain up to:
    • 1 dog or cat;
    • 2 puppies or kittens (minimum 8 weeks old/maximum 6 months old);
    • 2 household birds; or
    • 2 rabbits, hamsters or guinea pigs.
  • Display “LIVE ANIMAL” labels, with letters at least one inch high, on top and on at least one side. (Labels are available at airport check-in counters.)
  • Have a note certifying with a signature the last time (within four hours before bringing your pet to the airport) that your pet was offered food and/or water.
  • Indicate your name, address, phone number and pet’s name.
  • Have arrows or a “This End Up” designator to show which panel is the top. (Labels are available at airport check-in counters.)
  • Include food and water dishes (both empty), secured inside the kennel and accessible from outside. Pet owners may freeze water in dish before departure.
  • Contain absorbent material or bedding, such as newspaper.
  • If needed, water and feeding schedule checklist, including the weight of the animal.

Kennel checklist

  • Kennel construction meets USDA regulation requirements (no wheels; no wire kennels; no collapsible kennels); must have leakproof bottom and absorbent material
  • One-inch spacer bar around the kennel
  • Hardware (bolts/screws) complete and assembled
  • Door lockable and secure
  • Kennel size is sturdy and sufficient to allow your pet freedom of movement, so it is able to stand, lie down and turn around freely
  • Ventilation standards: three sides for U.S./Canada flights, four sides for international flights (includes door)
  • Health certificate (in most cases health certificates dated within 30 days of scheduled travel will be required)
  • Correct labeling (“LIVE ANIMAL” and “This End Up”)
  • Water/food dishes (two dishes or divided dish)
  • Completed feeding and watering certification and schedule

Kennel types
On all flights, United will only accept kennels secured with nuts and bolts. Kennels secured via other methods, such as twist locks or snap locks, are not acceptable.

Not accepted
Not accepted
METAL Nuts/bolts
Twist lock
Snap lock
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Kennel purchase
United offers kennels for purchase at select airports that we serve within the United States. Kennels may not be available for purchase at most United Express®-served airports and airports outside the U.S. Purchases may be made with cash or check and are subject to availability. Kennels are available at the prices listed below and include a water dish.

Kennel prices*

For pets traveling in a checked kennel

Small $50
Medium $60
Intermediate $70
Large $100
Extra-large $120

For pets traveling in the cabin as carry-on baggage

Hard-sided** $60
Soft-sided** $60

Kennel sizes

Size/Type Model Size (in.) Size (cm) Crate weight††
Hard-sided** 60 17.5 x 12 x 7.5 44 x 30 x 19 9 lbs. (4 kg)
Soft-sided** 18 x 11 x 11 46 x 28 x 28 9 lbs. (4 kg)
Small 100 21 x 16 x 15 53 x 40 x 38 9 lbs. (4 kg)
Medium 200 27 x 20 x 19 68 x 50 x 48 13 lbs. (6 kg)
Intermediate 300 32 x 22 x 23 81 x 55 x 58 20 lbs. (9 kg)
Large 400 36 x 24 x 26 91 x 60 x 66 25 lbs. (11 kg)
Extra-large 500 40 x 27 x 30 101 x 68 x 76 30 lbs. (14 kg)
XX-large 700 48 x 32 x 35
*Prices do not include state and local sales tax. Kennel prices are subject to change without notice.
**For carry-on use only. These kennel types will not be accepted as checked baggage.
†Permitted only on United flights within the U.S. United does not sell XX-large kennels.
††United will not accept kennels with a combined crate and animal weight exceeding 150 lbs. (68 kg).

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