United Airlines Pet Shipping Policy

Published November 2001

November 15, 2001

Great News! United Airlines has changed its Live Animal Cargo Shipping Policy! This change will make it much easier for cat breeders to transport their cats.

For some time, United has only accepted cargo shipments from breeders who had a "Known Shipper" status with them, meaning they had shipped at least 3 times within the previous six months.

Many breeders do not ship that frequently and so were not able to ship on United Airline flights.

United has now changed their policy. You will no longer be required to be a "KNOWN SHIPPER" with United Airlines before they will accept an animal for shipping.

You will be required to remove your cat from the carrier so that the interior of the carrier can undergo a security search. This is the policy with all airlines since the changes in airport security in response to the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.

I have found one of the easiest ways of dealing with this requirement is to bring your cat in a different carrier, allow the actual shipping carrier to be inspected, then simply transfer the kitty into it after inspection.

Please Note: United still does not accept animals as excess baggage, however their new cargo policy change brings United closer in line with the policies of other major carriers.

Other airline policy changes will require foreign carriers to comply with the Animal Welfare Act shipping guidelines, including temperature limitations, and will be subject to penalties for failure to do so with respect to flights arriving in and departing from the US.

The American Kennel Club remains fully committed to ensuring safe and affordable air travel for dogs. For over a year, AKC has spearheaded a campaign to improve pet policies among all major airlines.

In related news, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reportedly preparing to assert its regulatory authority over foreign carriers incoming and outgoing from the United States.

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