American Service Pets Logo
United Airlines Service Animal Policy Cover Photo

2023 Service Animal Travel Guide for United Airlines

If you’re planning a flight on United Airlines with a service animal or service animal in training, this article will help you prepare for it. You’ll learn how to add a service animal to your flight, where to sit, what forms you need, and how to get your pup task-trained so you stay in compliance with the United Airlines Service Animal policy.

Table of Contents

Difference between an ESA and PSA When Flying

American Service Pets serves as a bridge between individuals and licensed healthcare professionals. These professionals assess eligibility and furnish signed letters that attest to the individual’s requirement for an emotional support animal (ESA) or a psychiatric service animal (PSA). While ESAs cater to housing needs, PSAs, often referred to as service animals, serve both housing and travel purposes.

In the eyes of airlines and many other institutions, service animals are viewed as medically necessary, whereas emotional support animals are simply regarded as pets. PSAs, therefore, fly in most cabins with their owners at no extra cost, as long as they meet all requirements outlined by the airline.

First Step to Comply with the 2023 United Airlines Service Animal Policy: Task Training

The United Airlines Service Animals page clearly defines service animals as “dogs over 4 months old who are trained to perform tasks for someone with a disability.” The airline also recognizes service dogs in training as being more than a pet; these dogs, too, can fly for free. Therapy dogs and emotional support animals are considered pets.


So how do you get your dog trained to perform tasks?

Enter I Train Academy, our 100% online self-paced service dog training program that we recommend working through in just 15 minute increments each day.

Save thousands of dollars on service dog training when you enroll in I Train Academy, a program that’s only $29.99 per month (and you can cancel any time).

Taught by celebrity trainer Jas Leverette, I Train Academy starts with Obedience Training and ends with Psychiatric Service Task Training for reminders, assistive activities, deep pressure therapy, and more. Once both modules are completed, you’ll be able to print, carry, and display certificates in both Obedience and PSA Task Training.

Learn more about I Train Academy here.

Get Your ESA Today

United Airlines Service Animal Policy - Notifying the Airline

United Airlines’ Service Animal Requirements

Notify United Airlines about Your Service Dog

You must give United Airlines advance notice that you’ll be bringing a service dog with you on your flight. For domestic flights, you do this either when booking your flight online or after you book your flight, when viewing your trip online. In both scenarios, choose the option for adding a service animal.

For international travel, you must call the accessibility desk at 1-800-228-2744 to add a service dog to your flight. United Airlines provides a list of destinations with restrictions for service dogs, which you should be familiar with before booking your flight.

Choose the Right Seat for Your Service Dog

Your service animal should sit in front of you on the floor – not in the aisle, another seat, or in your fellow passengers’ floor space. You can put your service animal in a carrier if you’d like, as long as size requirements are met.

You and your service animal cannot be in an exit row.

Submit the DOT Form

When flying with a service animal domestically, you must complete the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form and add it to “My Trips.” When flying with a service animal internationally (or to Hawaii or Guam), you must print a physical copy and keep it with you during your flight.

United Airlines Service Animal Policy - Dog in Carrier
  • This form is your legal sign-off on a few areas regarding your service animal:
  • Your service dog’s health
  • Your service dog’s training and behavior
  • Your pledge to keep your service dog restrained at all times and your understanding of your liability if your dog causes any damage

The secondary DOT Form you’ll need applies to flight durations of 8 hours or more. It’s the DOT Service Animal Relief Attestation Form and pertains to your service animal not creating a health or safety issue by not being able to go to the bathroom during the longer flights.

To Sum it Up...

United Airlines’ pet policy for service animals is very reasonable and easy to follow. Be sure to review it each time you are planning a flight, as policies may change. And most important, be sure you and your dog are in compliance, starting with obedience and task training through I Train Academy.

United Airlines Service Animal Policy - Dog in Airport

Note: This article summarizes United Airlines’ service animal policy as of August 2023. Policies are subject to change, so please review the latest requirements on the United Airlines website prior to planning a flight with your service animal.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


More Great Resources

American Service Pets Logo only

You're In!
Check your inbox for your 15% off code.

You've got 15% off waiting for you

Enter your email for your code, plus other offers & updates from American Service Pets

You're In!

Check your inbox for your discount code.

Please allow a few moments for delivery, and be sure to check your spam/junk folder if you don’t see it.