Pets and PCS Travel

Update on Pets and PCS Travel

UPDATE June 20, 2018, United Airlines “Return Home Exception” Pet Travel Policy for Military Members

Please carefully read the information below. If you have questions, your best source of information is United PetSafe. They can be reached at 1-800-575-3335 or 1-832-235-1541. 

  • - Through the RHE, United will make a “one-trip-only” exception for military customers who want to return pets previously flown on United, but who are no longer eligible to fly with United under their new policies to anywhere globally that United services.

    - Other species of pets previously flown may also be transported via the RHE. Military members should contact United PetSafe to inquire about specific species.

    - If you wish to take advantage of the RHE, contact the PetSafe Customer Service team and request to begin the process. PetSafe agents will be able to send you the RHE form.

    - When the you return the form, the PetSafe team will verify your previous pet travel. If the qualify for the RHE, the PetSafe team will assist you with your reservation and preparation for your pet’s transport.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • - The pet must have previously traveled via United PetSafe.

    - The origin and destination of the pet’s travel must be locations that United services.

    - For RHE booking and travel, the policies governing accepted species and breeds, maximum crate size, weather-embargoed cities and maximum number of connections are those that were in effect prior to March 20, 2018.

    - There is a 5 days minimum/30 days maximum reservation time, and will require additional documents and photos to be submitted to United before travel.

Our thanks to United for continuing to work with DoD to find solutions to get pets back home!

Please contact United PetSafe Customer Service at 1-800-575-3335 or 1-832-235-1541 and request to begin the reservation process. United PetSafe  agents will send you the “Return Home Exception Form” and will be able to answer any additional questions you might have.


YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan - Effective immediately, service members who PCS’d to Japan with their pet(s) on United Airlines will now be eligible to fly back to the United States using the United PetSafe program, regardless of new restrictions.  

Members will be required to provide proof that United originally moved their pet(s) to Japan using a fillable form that can be downloaded HERE. The form will also be distributed through command channels.

If your pet is on the restricted breed list but it did not come over to Japan on a United Airlines flight, you are not eligible to return to the states via the United PetSafe program.

If you are eligible under this program, please fill out United’s PetSafe Military Booking Request form with as much information as possible and submit it to Service members can expect a reply from United via phone within 48 hours of submission. It’s important to note that for United PetSafe customers, there will be a brief pet service interruption from June 18 to July 8, 2018, as United makes adjustments for future pet movement. This applies to all pet movements on United.

In addition to this updated PetSafe policy, TRANSCOM is working to expand Patriot Express pet capacity in the near future. Discussions are ongoing and more information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. 

If you have questions regarding the United Airlines PetSafe program update, please contact United PetSafe at or at 1 (800) 575-3335 or 1 (832) 235-1541. Other questions should be directed to your local installation Transportation Management Office.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What are my options for flying back to the United States with my restricted breed pet?

    A: It depends on the situation. The rotator will fly all pets up to a certain size limit, including restricted breeds. The maximum weight of the dog and kennel must not exceed 150lbs on the rotator. If you brought your pet over on United, United has committed to flying your pet home, regardless of size or breed, as long as you fill out their waiver form and provide proof that United shipped your pet. Other commercial or private shipping options exist, though they may have increased associated costs. 

    Q: Are DoD civilians covered by the United Petsafe waiver?

    A: Anyone who came over here on official DoD or military orders and shipped their pets with United is eligible to fly them back on United, as long as proof is provided. 

    Q: Is the AMC rotator able to expand capacity to take more pets?

    A: Effective 1 June, USTRANSCOM has increased Patriot Express In-Cabin Pet slots. The first Patriot Express mission with increased in-cabin pet capacity will be 5 June. These expanded capacity flights will run through the end of the month. We are continuing to work the expansion of Patriot Express in-cabin pet slots beyond June with USTRANSCOM, based on demand. Transportation Offices in Japan received guidance today on how to book DoD personnel to fill these increased spaces. Cargo hold expansion is still under discussion as there are not immediate solutions.

    Q: If I bought my dog here in Japan and it is a restricted breed, will United fly them back?

    A: Unfortunately, the United PetSafe waiver only applies to those who shipped their restricted breeds here with United; however, as long as your pet does not exceed the size restrictions set by AMC, it is eligible to fly on the rotator. If your pet does not fall within the size restrictions, contact your local Transportation Office for other pet travel options.

    Q: How long is this waiver period with United good for? When does it start and what about next summer?

    A: United has assured us that this waiver will extend as long as necessary in order to get any pets back to the States that came over here originally with United. Please remain patient as United works through the details of implementing this waiver program. 

    Q: What do I do if I don't meet the criteria to fly my pet home on United and the rotator can't take him/her either?

    A: There are a number of commercial pet transport services available. Contact your local Transportation Office to see what other options there are.