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What is American Airlines policy on pet acceptance?

American Airlines allows pets to travel in the passenger cabin, as checked baggage, or shipped separately, as cargo (American Airlines Cargo and Priority Parcel Service).

Service animals are accepted to any destination, free of charge, in the cabin or as checked baggage.

Pets will not be accepted for interline transfer to other airline flights, including codeshare partners.

What pets are allowed to travel on American Airlines flights?

Whether traveling in the cabin or as checked pets, only cats and dogs are accepted on American Airlines flights. American Airlines does not allow brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs and cats to travel as checked baggage.

Are there any restrictions based on destination?

Pets are allowed for travel based on your itinerary. Allowed travel destinations include flights:

  • Within the United States, Puerto Rico, St. Croix and St. Thomas.
  • To or from the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central American and some destinations in South America provided the country of arrival permits entry.

Pets traveling in the cabin are not accepted on flights to Jamaica, to/from Hawaii, Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela, and to/from transatlantic/transpacific destinations.

No pets are accepted on flights to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

You must adhere to all requirements of the region to which you are traveling. Special restrictions may apply for certain destinations:

  • European Union – Pets without a tattoo or microchip that matches the identification number on their vaccination card will not be allowed to enter the European Union.
  • Hawaii – Transportation of pets to or through Hawaii is subject to multiple, stringent restrictions: all pet arrivals/connections in/through Hawaii must be via Honolulu; state law requires 120-day quarantine for dogs/cats; if certain qualifications are met, the quarantine periods can be reduced to 5 days.
  • Japan – Checked pets are allowed only from Japan to Los Angeles and must be booked on flights less than 12 hours (including the time for checking in your pet and clear customs at LAX). Japanese Animal Quarantine Service must be notified at least 7 days in advance of your departure, and the pet must be fitted with a microchip. Additional certificates and documents are also required.
  • Trinidad and Tobago – Pets are not accepted on flights arriving after 4:00 p.m or before 8:00 a.m.

Temperature restrictions are established to help ensure the well-being of pets:

  • Heat restriction – When the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees C) at any location on the itinerary, pets are not accepted.
  • Cold restriction – When the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees C) at any location on the itinerary, pets are not accepted unless the restriction is waived with a written veterinarian statement. When the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.6 degrees C), checked pets are not accepted even with a statement of low temperature acclimation.

How do I book a flight, check in and pay any applicable charges when traveling with a pet?

Pets traveling in the passenger cabin require a reservation to ensure that maximum number of pets allowed on any single flight is not exceeded. Advance arrangements must be made by contacting Reservations.

Checked pets are accepted on a first-come basis, but you need to contact Reservations at least 48 hours before travel.

When traveling with your pet in the cabin or as checked baggage, you must check-in at the ticket counter. Consider allowing extra time beyond suggested times for arriving at the airport. You will have to complete a checklist with an agent (last time the pet was fed, compliance with all government requirements for international destinations, separate food/watering dishes, etc.). Checked pets are not accepted more than 4 hour prior to departure.

For American Airlines itineraries, applicable charges may be paid by cash, credit card or voucher at the airport or American Airlines Travel Centers. If not used, the refund is to the original form of payment. Charges apply for each connection segment if your itinerary includes a voluntary stopover/connection of more than four hours.

American Airlines does not collect pet charges on behalf of another operating airline in the itinerary (even those with an AA flight number). Pets must be claimed and rechecked to each carrier. Charges are payable to each operating carrier upon check-in.

Pets in the passenger cabin

To be allowed in the passenger cabin, dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old. A health certificate for pets traveling in the passenger cabin is not required by American Airlines, but proof of current rabies vaccination for dogs over 12 weeks old is required in all states, and for cats in some states.

Restrictions

Only one pet per kennel and only one kennel per ticketed passenger may be accepted for travel in the cabin. Two animals may be accepted to travel in the same carrier if they are of the same species and the combined weight (kennel plus pets) does not exceed 20 lbs.

A maximum number of 7 carry-on kennels is allowed on American Airlines flights. Service animals do not count in the maximum number of pets allowed in the cabin. A maximum number of 5 carry-on kennels (only one in First Class) is allowed on American Eagle, depending on the aircraft. You should contact Reservations before your flight.

Pet carriers

A pet kennel counts as either a passenger’s one carry-on bag or personal item. However, a cabin pet charge still applies. Dimensions of the carry-on kennel must not exceed 19″ x 13″ x 9″ (length x width x height). To be accepted, a soft-sided pet carrier must be constructed of water-repellent, padded nylon and ventilated on two or more sides. Sherpa bags may exceed the maximum dimensions slightly because they are collapsible.

The kennel must be of an appropriate size i.e. pets must be able to lie down in a natural position, stand up and turn around in the kennel. At any time while onboard the aircraft pets must stay in their closed kennel and the kennel must be stored under the seat in front of you at all times.

Fee

American Airlines charges $125 per kennel for travel within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Central America and the Caribbean (except to Hawaii).

Pets as checked baggage

For pets to be accepted as checked baggage, American Airlines requires a valid health certificate that must be issued by a veterinarian within 10 days of originating travel or when return travel is on a separate ticket, and 60 days of return travel on the same ticket.

Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old to be accepted. For two animals to travel in the same carrier, they must be of the same species, comparable size and weigh less than 20 lbs each and between 8 weeks and 6 months old.

Restrictions

A maximum of 2 checked pets per passenger is allowed.

Checked pets cannot travel on A321, A320, A319 aircraft and all flights operated by Air Wisconsin.

Checked pets are not accepted for flights over 12 hours due to USDA restrictions that an animal must be offered water every 12 hours.

Pet kennels

The maximum dimensions for checked kennels are 40″ long x 27″ wide x 30″ high (series 500 kennels – 102 x 69 x 76 cm). The allowed maximum weight of the kennel (including the pet) is 100 lbs (45 kg). Kennels must:

  • Be large enough for animals to lie down in a natural position, stand up and turn around in the kennel.
  • Be constructed of plastic, wood, metal or similar materials.
  • Be leak-proof, clean with no offensive odors and contain absorbent material or litter (no straw, hay or wood shavings).
  • Be secured with bolts or screws when the kennel is designed as two piece (top and bottom).
  • Be enclosed with a door constructed of welded or cast metal, fasten securely.
  • Be secured by the customer with releasable cable ties attached from the door to all four corners (American Airlines will provide the ties at no cost).
  • Be ventilated on two sides in addition to the door.
  • Be provided with a small bag of food for a 24-hour period attached to the top and separate food and watering dishes securely attached inside the kennel.

Type 500 series kennel for checked pets cannot be accepted on McDonnell Douglas MD-80 (S80), Boeing 737 aircraft and all American Eagle aircraft.

Fee

American Airlines charges $175 per kennel for travel within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. As an exception, American Airlines charges $150 per kennel for travel between the U.S. and Brazil. Charges for travel to any other destination may be obtained from American Airlines Reservations.

More information here >>

Service Animals

Service animals are accepted by American Airlines and American Eagle at no charge. A service animal may accompany a customer with a disability in the passenger cabin as long as the animal does not obstruct an aisle or other area used for emergency evacuations. If such accommodation is not possible, the service animal will need to travel in the cargo hold, in a kennel provided by the passenger.

Emotional support and psychiatric service animals may travel as a pet in the cabin or checked as baggage if your documentation couldn’t be validated or if you didn’t notify American Airlines at least 48 hours before your flight. American Airlines requires appropriate documentation 48 hours before departure to permit emotional support and psychiatric service animals to travel in the passenger cabin.

When traveling with a service animal to the following destinations, the following restrictions apply:

  • Hawaii – Service animals other than dogs and cats are allowed to travel only to/through Honolulu. All service animals traveling to Hawaii must have proper entry documentation and comply with Hawaii’s import requirements. Before you travel, necessary arrangements with Animal Quarantine must be made. At check-in, you must provide quarantine documentation for the animal to be allowed to enter Hawaii.
  • The United Kingdom – You’ll need to get a pre-approval letter from the Animal Reception Center in your destination city.
  • Edinburgh, Scotland – You’ll need to email Scotland’s animal travel agency at least 48 hours before your flight and carry an ID card or valid certificate from the organization that trained or supplied the service animal.

More information here >>