American Airlines pets - The Comprehensive Guide to Traveling with Pets on American Airlines - 02/Apr/2024

American Airlines pets – The Comprehensive Guide to Traveling with Pets on American Airlines – 02/Apr/2024

The Comprehensive Guide to Traveling with Pets on American Airlines

Traveling with pets can be a daunting endeavor, especially when you need to navigate the various airline rules and regulations. American Airlines, as one of the largest carriers in the United States, offers specific options and policies for those planning to journey with animal companions. This guide will walk you through all the information you need for a smooth experience flying with your pets on American Airlines.

Understanding American Airlines Pet Travel Policies

Before you plan your trip, it’s crucial to understand American Airlines’ pet travel policies. These policies are designed to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet, comply with regulations, and enable cabin crews to maintain in-flight standards.

In-Cabin Pets

American Airlines allows passengers to travel with pets in the cabin if certain conditions are met. Only cats and dogs over the age of 8 weeks are allowed in-cabin. The pet must be able to fit in a small, ventilated pet carrier that can slide under the seat in front of you. The combined weight of the pet and the carrier must not exceed 20 pounds. Each traveler is limited to one pet carrier, although two pets of similar size and species can share a single carrier if they meet the weight and size restrictions.

To fly in-cabin, pets must remain inside their carriers throughout the entire journey, including while at the gate and during boarding.

Checked Pets

American Airlines permits passengers to travel with larger pets as checked baggage, again primarily limiting this service to cats and dogs. These animals are housed in the climate-controlled and pressurized cargo hold of the aircraft. There are strict kennel requirements for size, strength, ventilation, and labeling.

Checked pet service is temporarily suspended on some aircraft due to temperature considerations or specific regulations. It’s important to check with American Airlines prior to booking about any temporary suspensions that might impact your travel plans.

Pet Travel Fees and Reservations

The cost of traveling with a pet depends on several factors. In-cabin pets incur a fee that must be paid at the airport on the day of departure. As of the cutoff knowledge date, this fee is typically around $125 per kennel for flights within the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

For checked pets, fees vary depending on the destination and you’ll need to refer to the most current prices provided by American Airlines.

In both cases, reservations for your pet cannot be made online and should be arranged by contacting American Airlines directly — this will also ensure that your flight is eligible for pet transportation and that space is available for your animal companion.

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Changes in regulations have led to revised policies regarding service animals and emotional support animals (ESAs). As of recently, American Airlines dictates that only dogs trained to do specific tasks for an individual with a disability are recognized as service animals. ESAs are not permitted in addition to carry-on pets but certain documentation may be required for these service animals.

International Pet Travel Considerations

When traveling internationally, passengers must adhere to the destination country’s rules regarding pet travel. This often includes various vaccinations, health certificates, or quarantine requirements. Confer with American Airlines about necessary paperwork to avoid delayed travel or denied boarding.

Safety Measures for Pets on American Airlines

American Airlines places a premium on the safety of pet travel. Summers often see embargos where pets cannot fly due to temperature concerns — heat poses significant risk for animals aboard an aircraft. Year-round, there are breed restrictions; brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs and cats face particular risks during air travel due to respiratory challenges.

It’s also important for owners to properly acclimate their pets to their carriers well before their trip date.


  • The maximum size for an in-cabin pet carrier is 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high.
  • You can book your pet up to 10 days before departure but no less than 48 hours prior.
  • Temperature restrictions for checked pets: Pets cannot fly if the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius) at any location on the itinerary.
  • American Airlines requires proof of vaccinations from all passengers traveling with pets as checked baggage.
  • A health certificate must be produced for all checked pets within 10 days of travel when flying domestically within the US and usually within a few days if flying internationally.
  • Image Description

    A small dog sitting inside an airplane-friendly pet carrier correctly sized placed under an airplane seat, reflecting American Airlines’ travel policy requirements for cabin-friendly pet carriers.