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Topic: Here's some info you might find useful  (Read 1695 times)

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Here's some info you might find useful
« on: October 27, 2016, 08:28:01 PM »
Warning, long post with lots of info:

I do not wish my experience on my worst enemy, so I am sharing the info I have found in the hopes it may help someone else. We tried to fly our dog and cat out on Tuesday, after thinking we had dotted the is and crossed the ts, but according to United, we were missing a health certificate.

We had Annev IV, as required by the UK gov't to import the dog and cat. There had been NO mention anywhere of any other health certificate. When I booked the flight, they only asked if I had the health certificate with the raised seal, endorsed by the USDA. No mention of any other type of health certificate.

After my pets were denied boarding, I contacted United's PetSafe desk, only to be told I was wrong, and I needed form 7001, NOT annex IV, and that the form 7001 had to be endorsed by the USDA.

I phoned the vet, the USDA, as well as HARC (Heathrow Animal Reception Centre). HARC will not tell you which form is the correct one unless they can see it themselves. As of this post, there is an updated Annex IV. The USDA have this on their website. The vet staff told me form 7001 is no longer endorsed by the USDA, because it is required by the airline, NOT the country the dog and cat are flying to. There is a letter from the USDA to this effect. The airlines have been informed of this, so to have encountered several United employees who do not know this is a bit scary. I even spoke to a supervisor, who refused to acknowledge that the form 7001 is only needed by the airline, and not required to be endorsed.

I will give links at the end of this post, one with the letter from the USDA showing that form 7001 does not need to be endorsed, a link to the part of the USDA website where you choose the correct health certificate based on what country you are exporting to, as well as a link to the most up to date health certificate available as of this post.

ALSO, and I think this is where pretty much EVERY airline falls short: *Pets* cannot fly into the UK in the cabin or in the hold AT ALL. Service animals travel under different rules, but I am not aware of them. Pets flying into the UK from the US have to fly as manifest cargo. So do not be fooled by airlines that say they will fly a dog or cat into the UK as excess baggage, because it simply isn't allowed.

From what we could tell, unfortunately, United is the only airline that will allow a person to book their own flight and send their own pet through their dedicated pet cargo service. All the other airlines require a third part IATA certified company to send your pets, and it can get incredibly expensive. Our dog alone was going to be $6k through a third party. It will be $1612 for him through United. Also, United do not allow you to clear customs with your pet yourself. They contract with PBS, and I am not sure of the breakdown of the fee, but for our dog and cat coming in on the earliest flight, the cost for PBS to do their part is $740. It is cheaper on flights coming in later in the day, I think the 11:20 arrival from Chicago was going to be $614. PBS will be the receiver, and part of the fee you pay to them is for the animals to clear customs, so all you have to do is pick up your pet from HARC.

Also, customs clearance takes about 4 hours when coming from the US.

HARC have been really kind and helpful. USDA were the same. United on the other hand, see you as a paycheck and don't give a crap about you. Hopefully they treat the animals better than the humans.

Here are the links.

letter: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/pet-travel/letter-to-pet-owners.pdf

how to choose the correct form:

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/eu/eu-echinococcus/health-certificates-eu-with-dogs*this will always have the most up to date form. Don't download from 3rd party sources, because the forms could change at any time.

The current Annex IV as of Sept 1, 2016:
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/pet-travel/health-certificates/English-echinococcus-over-16wks-carrier-noncomm.pdf

I hope that helps someone!

Moved to the UK April 2006
Married March 2007
Moved to the U.S. June 2009

Husband accepted new job in UK April 2016
Returning to UK Aug/Sept 2016!


Three princes, and one princess!
McFarlane 12/2000
Emma 10/2006
Liam 08/2011
Henry 04/2014


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Re: Here's some info you might find useful
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2016, 12:31:05 AM »
I'm sherry you had such a horrible experience. Such a stressful time made me stressful. United were brilliant with me, emailed them my documents before hand to check them and did the same to pets on jets, the reception at Manchester airport so I knew everything was ok. Shocking how it has changed in 3 years tho

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Re: Here's some info you might find useful
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2016, 02:09:26 AM »
I'm sherry you had such a horrible experience. Such a stressful time made me stressful. United were brilliant with me, emailed them my documents before hand to check them and did the same to pets on jets, the reception at Manchester airport so I knew everything was ok. Shocking how it has changed in 3 years tho

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

Yeah it seems they've gone downhill quite a bit in recent years. I was told by United they don't allow email for security purposes. HARC was quite happy for me to email them though.  :D

Honestly I was really disappointed in pretty much every airline that claimed they carry dogs and cats, except Virgin. They let me know right away they didn't accept dogs and cats anymore due to the weather, and that they do require a third party approved shipper. I tried Lufthansa, SAS, IcelandAir, Air France, KLM, and I know I'm forgetting at least 2 more.

I've had my mom print out the letter to show United, as well as emailed the local USDA office in IL, and contacted United's PetSafe to give them all of this info as well. USDA replied right away asking the names of the people at United giving out misinformation. So hopefully soon this won't happen again, at least for people dropping off in Chicago. And fingers and toes crossed we get our babies back Sunday! 
Moved to the UK April 2006
Married March 2007
Moved to the U.S. June 2009

Husband accepted new job in UK April 2016
Returning to UK Aug/Sept 2016!


Three princes, and one princess!
McFarlane 12/2000
Emma 10/2006
Liam 08/2011
Henry 04/2014


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Re: Here's some info you might find useful
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 09:44:54 AM »
Ugh, that's awful.  Someone posted asking about using United yesterday.  You might want to give her a headsup.

Glad HARC was helpful.  I've always been told they are.  I can't imagine the stress of the animals being refused.

I know the process is much easier now than when I moved here (changed a couple of years after I moved).  But I am still glad I used a transportation company.  But it was *only* $3300 for my two cats.

Sounds like they are here now?  Enjoy having your fur babies home with you.  I'm currently covered in purring cats!    ;D


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Re: Here's some info you might find useful
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 05:44:05 PM »
Ugh, that's awful.  Someone posted asking about using United yesterday.  You might want to give her a headsup.

Glad HARC was helpful.  I've always been told they are.  I can't imagine the stress of the animals being refused.

I know the process is much easier now than when I moved here (changed a couple of years after I moved).  But I am still glad I used a transportation company.  But it was *only* $3300 for my two cats.

Sounds like they are here now?  Enjoy having your fur babies home with you.  I'm currently covered in purring cats!    ;D

No, they haven't made it over yet. Their new flight is tomorrow, fingers crossed. We've got people at the USDA who will handle any issues should any arise when our cat and dog are dropped off tomorrow.

We've since been told though that our dog and cat COULD have flown on Tuesday, had United been bothered to actually do their job. The form 7001 wasn't necessary at all, this information came from a USDA director, so I know she knows what she's talking about. Unfortunately I had no way of contacting anyone at the time and couldn't miss my own flight, so I had to wait until I'd gotten back to the UK.

I definitely don't recommend United, but hopefully after this they will be providing proper training to their staff, and might want to consider firing those people who can't be bothered to do anything at all. The man at the pet safe desk did NOT make me feel like my pets were going to be looked after very well. :/

Moved to the UK April 2006
Married March 2007
Moved to the U.S. June 2009

Husband accepted new job in UK April 2016
Returning to UK Aug/Sept 2016!


Three princes, and one princess!
McFarlane 12/2000
Emma 10/2006
Liam 08/2011
Henry 04/2014


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  • Posts: 1069

  • Liked: 18
  • Joined: Dec 2005
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Here's some info you might find useful
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2016, 09:19:40 AM »
Just an update to say they made it safe and sound :D In the end, I contacted the CEO of United, and everyone on down the line, as well as the USDA. Within 24 hours I received an email apologizing for the issues we'd had, and United waived my pet's cargo fees. We had to pay for customs clearance, but I was very surprised (and thankful!) United let them fly completely free. They got a call from the USDA and the woman told them they would find room on the flight for my pets no matter what (I did book in advance, but basically the USDA agent was saying United couldn't try to pull anything lol).

They also didn't like my cat's crate and were going to look for a donated one, but then they looked it up and saw you are allowed to modify a crate to make it safer by drilling holes and adding more bolts. Just a heads up, I bought the compass crate sold by Petsmart, it had a bolt in each corner and slides together. It says online that it's IATA compliant, but they ended up adding 6 bolts, two on each side and two on the back.

I am hopeful now that United are training their employees properly, and that this won't happen again to anyone. Someone has to stick up for the little guys!
Moved to the UK April 2006
Married March 2007
Moved to the U.S. June 2009

Husband accepted new job in UK April 2016
Returning to UK Aug/Sept 2016!


Three princes, and one princess!
McFarlane 12/2000
Emma 10/2006
Liam 08/2011
Henry 04/2014


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