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United Airlines bans short snout breeds from cargo

traveling with your pet on airlinesTraveling with your pet on United Airlines has become even more difficult if you have certain breeds- if not impossible.  United Pet Safe, the airline’s program designed to transport pets not eligible to fly inside the cabin of the aircraft, recently announced some sweeping changes. These changes include the exclusion of many species, breeds and restrictions on travel dates to certain locations.

The biggest change is that they will no longer allow brachycephalic pets in the cargo hold due to the risk of adverse health related problems.  If you’re not familiar with the term brachycephalic, it refers to all breeds of pets who have a shortened face or snout. In Latin, ‘brachy’ means short, and cephalic means head.  So you probably figured out that the breeds we’re talking about are bulldogs, boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs and the like.  These breeds can only fly in the cabin of the plane if they meet the necessary criteria.  

Also, certain breeds have been excluded based on jaw strength.  Among these breeds are American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers and all mastiff breeds.  For a full listing of the breeds that are no longer accepted by United Airlines in cargo, follow this link to their website.

If you plan on traveling to the southwestern United States, your pet can’t go in cargo during the summer. Pets will not be allowed to destinations (or as layovers) to the following destinations Between May 1 and September 30:

  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • Tuscon (TUS)
  • Palm Springs (PSP)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)

It should also be noted that if extreme weather conditions exist along your route- any time of year, the airline may decline acceptance, or alter the routing if temperatures are outside of a safe range.

United Pet Safe will only accept dogs and cats in cargo.  They will not accept any other type of household pet. Not sure what other pets they accepted previous to the change, but their website makes it clear that only canines and felines are allowed in cargo- so no birds, snakes, lizards, monkeys or any other species. Only dogs and cats.

These changes and modifications affect pets traveling in the cargo hold, and do not affect pets which are qualified to travel inside the cabin of the plane.  These changes are slated to go into effect on June 18, 2018.  For more information on traveling by air with your pet, and other recent changes the airlines have enacted regarding service animals.