Our Thoughts on the United Airlines PetSafe Suspension

And what we can all do to improve pet travel.

In light of the recent events involving United Airlines pet travel and the subsequent suspension of their PetSafe program, we wanted to provide some perspective based on our experiences shipping thousands of pets with them over the past 15 years.

First and foremost, it is always deeply saddening when any circumstance results in the injury or loss of a pet. As a company of animal lovers who dedicate our days to moving pets safely around the world, we sympathize with anyone affected by an unexpected event such as this.

As an expert in the pet shipping industry, we do everything we can to educate pet owners on the role they can play in a pet’s safe travel experience. It is our responsibility as a service provider to continually evaluate industry standards and work with all parties involved to make improvements that ultimately benefit pets and their owners. We believe that a holistic focus on travel preparation from in-home crate training to consistently re-evaluating pet shipping methods, can only create more success stories and help significantly reduce avoidable incidents.

The United Airlines PetSafe program (which is unrelated to in-cabin travel) in particular is a pet shipping method we have not only worked with but have spoken highly of for several years—a position born out of thousands of happy reunions and relocations that perhaps may have never happened without PetSafe.    

The decision to halt and conduct a thorough and systematic review of the country’s largest program that moved over 130,000 pets last year is an indication of a commitment to ensuring the comfort and safety of animals in their care, and while we acknowledge that no pet shipping program is devoid of human error or unexpected (and sometimes uncontrollable) events, we would not recommend booking pets with an airline we feel is inherently unsafe for pet travel.

It is important to remember that over 99% of healthy pets can and do travel safely, but that percentage can still go up, and we would like to encourage everyone involved in this industry to join us in continuing a mission to ensure even more pets around the world complete their journeys in safety and comfort.

If you would like to read testimonials from pet owners across the globe whose pets traveled on United Airlines in recent years, we invite you to visit our PetSafe Travel Stories page to learn more about all of the safe and often heartwarming relocations PetSafe has facilitated over the years.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines, News



United States


Add a Comment

By Brenda on October 10, 2018 at 12:04 pm

We flew our beloved Weimaraner from DC to Madrid on United using their PetSafe program. They were wonderful!! They answered all of my questions with patience and kindness. It was 4 years ago. Even in Madrid (where you are free to walk your dog anywhere in the airport while waiting for your connection) we were treated exceptionally well.I was able to go with her through “pet security” for our connecting flight on Iberia to Jerez (30min flight) where we lived for 4 years. When we were preparing to leave Spain recently, I was saddened to read that United had stopped the PetSafe program- I understand,however, it seems to be a much more difficult time to travel with a pet that is not in the cabin.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on October 12, 2018 at 10:13 am

Hi Brenda! Thanks for sharing your experience! The PetSafe program was suspended but is currently operating with a few new restrictions. We've always had a great experience with United an appreciate you sharing your feedback!

By Debra Adrian on March 27, 2018 at 11:53 am

In Portland, Oregon I work with United Airlines PetSafe program and its employees. Every single experience with them has been pleasant and professional. These great people are very caring and they treat each pet with special attention.

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