American Airlines Pet Policies

American Airlines

American Airlines Pet Policies

With dogs/cats, you can travel to the U.S.

The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has temporarily suspended dogs (carry on or checked), which includes fully trained service dogs, who are traveling from a country high-risk for dog rabies.

Only service dogs from high-risk countries may travel to the U.S. with an approved CDC Dog Import Permit or meet CDC U.S. vaccinations and microchip requirements. For assistance, contact Special Assistance.

Transport your pet by carrying it on

They can be carried on board as a carry-on pet or transported via American Airlines Cargo, depending on the animal's breed and size. Only cats and dogs must meet the requirements for carry-on pets.

Only checked pets are allowed at the ticket counter for U.S. Military personnel on active duty and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel travelling on official orders. There are restrictions and fees.

If they are fully trained service dogs, they may fly free in the cabin if they meet all requirements.

Flying with a service pet

If they are fully trained service dogs, they may fly free in the cabin if they meet all requirements.

A service animal can be defined as a dog trained to perform work or tasks for a person with a disability. This could include a sensory, intellectual, physical or mental disability.

  • Visual impairments
  • Deafness
  • Seizures
  • Mobility impairment
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Our team members have been trained to ask questions in order to determine if your animal can travel as a service animal.

Service animals that are trained, supported by emotional or support animals and comfort animals can travel with you as pets. All applicable fees and requirements will be followed.

Advance notice and forms

You must submit the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form attesting that the animal is healthy, trained, and behaved to the Special Assistance Desk 48 hours prior to your flight. Once your document is approved, we will notify you.

If you purchased your ticket less than 48 hours prior to departure, the form can be completed at the airport. Arrive early.

This form is compatible to the most recent versions of JAWS or NVDA screen readers. It can be completed on a desktop computer or mobile device with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

You will need to contact the partner airline if your trip involves a flight.

Fly to the U.S.

The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has temporarily suspended service dogs and dogs from high-risk countries for dog rabies.

Only service dogs that have been approved by the CDC or meet the CDC U.S. vaccinations and microchip requirements can fly on American.

Flying over 8 hours

If your flight is more than 8 hours long, the Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation Sanitation form is required. This forms states that your animal will not need to relieve itself or can do it in a manner that does not pose a health or sanitation problem.

This form is compatible to the most recent versions of JAWS or NVDA screen readers. It can be completed on a desktop computer or mobile device with Adobe Acrobat Reader.


  1. Complete the DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form.
  2. If applicable, complete the DOT Service Animal Relief Attestation Formula
  3. Send your submission at least 48 hours prior to your flight
  4. Keep the completed form handy for your next trip

Service Animal ID

After you submit your form, and it has been approved, you will receive an email with your Service Animal ID. The SVAN ID can be added to any future travel arrangements with the animal. Your SVAN ID expires one year after the date you signed or the expiration of the animal's vaccine, whichever comes first.

Travel requirements

  • At all times, the animal must be harnessed or leashed.
  • Service animals may not be transported by animals under 4 months old
  • Animals must be well-behaved and clean
  • The animal must be able fit under your seat, at your feet or in your lap. Lap animals should not be larger than a 2-year-old child.
  • You will only be allowed to travel once you have arrived at the airport.
  • If you are placing the animal in a kennel it must fit under your seat.
  • A person can only have 2 service animals

Animals may not:

  • Take a seat in the exit row
  • Block or protrude into aisles
  • Take a seat
  • Tray tables are great for eating

You may have to relocate your animal if it is too big or heavy to fit in the cabin

  • Book a flight with more seats
  • Purchase a ticket to the animal
  • You can transport the animal as a pet that has been checked.

Animal Behaviour

Animals must learn to behave in public. If they exhibit disruptive behaviour, they will not be allowed in the cabin.

  • Growing
  • Biting or trying to bite
  • Jumping on people or lunging at them

This behaviour will be considered pet if it is not corrected or controlled. All fees and requirements will be followed.

Your pet may not be allowed to fly if you do not meet the requirements. All fees and requirements will be followed.

Carry-on pets

American Airlines allows you to bring one kennel on board your flight if you are:

  • The carry-on pet fee is payable
  • You can keep your pet in the kennel or under the seat in front of the plane for the duration of the flight

Your pet carrier and one personal item are allowed to travel, but you won't be allowed to bring your personal item or a carry-on bag. The kennel will replace the carry-on bag.

Your pet must travel with American Airlines Cargo if it is too big to fly in the cabin. Please note that we accept only checked pets for U.S. Military personnel on active duty and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel travelling on official orders.

The pet carrier must also meet all kennel guidelines. These requirements must be met before your pet can travel. There are restrictions and fees.

Checked pets require kennel guidelines

There are some requirements that must be met when checking in your pet.

  • Your pet can stand tall enough to turn and sit in a natural place (without touching the container's top or sides).
  • You must not exceed the maximum dimensions of the aircraft on which you are traveling
  • Maximum weight (combined pet/kennel) must not exceed 100 lbs. / 45 kgs.
  • You can be made from wood, metal, plastic, or other similar materials
  • A door can be made from welded or cast steel
  • Bolts or screws are used to secure the top and bottom of the container.
  • Secure yourself using release cable ties at all four corners (we'll supply complimentary ties).
  • You must be firm and secure enough to ensure that the animal does not escape through any gaps or poke through the container.
  • Securely fasten your door to make sure you are leak- and escape-proof
  • For domestic travel within the United States, you should have ventilation on at least three sides and four sides for international travel.
  • Attach separate food and water dishes to the kennel
  • Attach a small bag of food to the top for 24-hours.
  • Use absorbent material such as straw, hay, or wood shavings to keep your skin clean

You must bring 2 pets with you when you travel.

  • Two species of the same species (cats and dogs)
  • Similar in size, but less than 20 lbs. / 9.07 kgs. Each
  • Between 8 and 6 months of age

Pets that have been checked

Only active-duty U.S. Military personnel and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel travelling on official orders can have their pets checked. You can check up to two pets. They must be at least 18 years old and meet all health requirements. We accept checked pets only if we have the capacity.

You must:

    • Call American Airlines Reservation at least 48 Hours Prior to Travel
    • With your official orders, check in at the ticket counter
    • You should allow extra time for check-in (minimum 2 hours, maximum 4 hours) before you fly.
    • Discuss the checklist with your agent


  • A health certificate is required


A vet must issue a health certificate within 48 hours to ensure your pet's safety and health.

  • Ten days of your travel
  • 60 days before your return (travel with the same ticket).
  • You can travel on a separate ticket for 10 days after your return

Emergency Veterinary Care

We will seek veterinary care if an animal is injured or becomes ill while under our care. If the consultation veterinarian finds that the conditions or diagnoses were pre-existing the customer will be responsible to reimburse American for any veterinary costs and related expenses such as feeding and housing the animal.

You sign the Customer Acknowledgment form to authorize American to transport your pet into a veterinary clinic or animal hospital for emergency care. American will not be held responsible for any injury or illness to your pet. American will be reimbursed for any fees and charges it incurs for your pet's veterinarian care.

Frequently Asked Questions (Faqs)

Our customers have a similar climate-controlled and pressurized aircraft compartment for their pets. Your pet will wait for their flight in a climate-controlled area before being taken to the departure gate. Your pet will be the last to board the plane and the first to get off when it is time for them. They're taken back to their destination and then transferred to a climate-controlled area, where they will wait until they are picked up.

Yes. We will give you an airwaybill number when you book your animal. To monitor the status of your pet, you can use our online tracking system to enter your airwaybill number.

Contact our 24-hour animal helpline at 1-800-227-4622, or

All dogs and cats must be certified fit to travel by a licensed veterinarian within 10 working days of departure for both outbound and return flights. You will need to have a new exam and a health certificate for your return flight if you fly more than 10 days after the issue of their health certificate.

It all depends on how big your pet is and if they are flying domestically or internationally.

Your pet can be booked up to 10 days ahead. Please contact us at least 24 hours before your pet's flight to book.

Although we are happy to allow your pet to travel on any of our flights with us, certain aircraft do not have the proper heating or ventilation for your pet's comfort. We will not transport pets on these aircraft types: Airbus 319 and 320, 321E, 321H and 321X, 32Q, 32Q, 32B and 32B. This excludes New York JFK.

A mismatch between the size of your kennel and the space available on our plane could also be a reason your pet may not be accommodated.

We may decide to place your pet in an off-site kennel if your pet arrives at the airport with you on a later flight. Additional kennelling fees may be applicable depending on the circumstances.

If your pet is ever injured or becomes ill while under our care, we will provide immediate medical attention to ensure that your pet is safe and secure.

We will be in touch with you when we have a flight available.

We will offer a comfort stop at the local kennelling facility if your pet has to lie down between connections. The kennel will conduct a well-being exam to ensure that your pet is healthy and happy while they are at the comfort stop. You can allow your pet to go outside and, depending on how long they have been traveling, you will provide food and water.

Comfort stop fees will be assessed based on the connection city.

If your pet is unable to travel on the booked flight due to circumstances beyond our control, we will book your pet onto the next flight. We will refund 50% of freight charges for PPS and 100% for Expedites if your pet is not picked up within the time limit.

We will not issue a refund for delays caused by weather conditions, mechanical issues, termination, postponement, delay or force majeure of flights due to strikes, riots or civil commotion, international circumstances, any governmental regulations or order demands or requirements, shortage of labour or fuel facilities or labour difficulties, or any other cause beyond our control.