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American Airlines Pet Travel: A Comprehensive Guide

Traveling can be stressful, especially when you have a furry friend in tow. Fortunately, American Airlines allows pet owners to bring their beloved companions along for the journey. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling with your pet on American Airlines.

American Airlines Pet Policy Overview

Before you embark on your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with American Airlines’ pet policy. Detailed information can be found on their website, including carry-on and cargo pet travel guidelines.

Carry-on Pets Policy

For small pets that meet specific requirements, American Airlines allows them to travel as a carry-on. This privilege is extended to cats and dogs that adhere to size, age, and destination guidelines. To bring your pet on board as a carry-on, you must:

  • Pay the carry-on pet fee.
  • Ensure your pet remains in an airline-approved pet carrier under the seat in front of you throughout the flight.

Traveling with a Service Animal

Service animals, specifically fully-trained service dogs, are permitted to fly in the cabin at no additional charge, provided they meet specific requirements. A service animal is characterized as a dog that undergoes individual training to perform tasks or work that benefits a qualified individual with a disability. These disabilities encompass a range of physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental conditions. Examples of such disabilities include, but are not limited to, visual impairments, deafness, seizures, mobility impairments, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Pet Cargo Policy

American Airlines accepts checked pets exclusively for active-duty U.S. military and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel traveling on official orders. Up to two pets may be checked, provided they meet destination-specific age and health criteria. Please note that checked pets are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis due to limited capacity.

According to the American Airlines website, when checking a pet, you need to:

  • Contact Reservations at least 48 hours before travel
  • Check in at the ticket counter with your official orders
  • Allow extra check-in time (at least 2 hours and no more than 4 hours before your flight)
  • Complete a checklist with an agent
  • Provide a health certificate

To ensure the health and safety of your pet, the health certificate you provide must be issued by a vet within:

  • 10 days of your travel
  • 60 days of your return (travel on the same ticket)
  • 10 days of your return (travel on a separate ticket)

If you need to find an accredited vet to prepare your health certificate, offers a free pet travel veterinarian finder. To prepare for your vet visit, you can use the pet travel assistant form, and we’ll send you a handy list of all the documents and steps you’ll need to ensure your pet’s safe and happy travels.

Temperature Restrictions

American Airlines enforces temperature restrictions to ensure the safety and well-being of pets during travel. Restrictions apply to both heat and cold conditions, with guidelines in place to prevent potential health risks.

  • Heat: Pets cannot travel if the current or forecasted temperature exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary. Specific restrictions apply to certain destinations during peak summer months.
  • Cold: Travel is restricted if the ground temperature falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Exceptions may be made with written certification from a licensed veterinarian, except when temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Checked Animal Restrictions

American Airlines does not accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs or cats, regardless of breed mix, as checked pets. Additionally, dogs must meet specific age and vaccine requirements when traveling within or into the U.S., with regulations varying based on the risk of rabies in the departure location.


To prioritize the safety of pets, American Airlines adheres to guidelines set by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) regarding sedation. Pets that have been sedated or tranquilized are not permitted to travel due to heightened risks of respiratory and cardiovascular complications at high altitudes.

Pet Travel Fees

Traveling with your pet incurs additional fees, which vary based on the travel method:

  • Carry-on: $125.00
  • Cargo: Fees vary
  • Service Animals: No charge
  • Checked pets for Active-duty U.S. Military and State Department personnel: $200.00 per kennel ($150.00 to/from Brazil)

By adhering to American Airlines’ pet policy and guidelines, pet owners can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for their furry companions. For additional information or specific inquiries, please refer to American Airlines’ official website or consult with a customer service representative. Happy travels!