Flying with Pets as Checked Baggage on American Airlines

Many pets that don’t fit under the seat will still be able to fly as checked baggage. There are still size and weight limits that apply to pets in checked baggage on American Airlines. Some of these restrictions—like weight—can be overcome if you’re willing to use air cargo, while others—like breed restrictions—apply to all checked and cargo compartment pet travel.  

Don’t book a reservation for your pet in the cabin only to discover at the last-minute that the pet must fly in checked baggage on American Airlines. Without a visit to the vet, the pet likely won’t be cleared to fly at all. Know the rules and you won’t experience any unnecessary headaches on the day of your flight.  

 

How much does it cost to fly with a checked pet? 
$200. $150 when traveling to or from Brazil.  

 

What animals are allowed to fly as checked pets?
Dogs and cats that are at least 8 weeks old. Snub-nosed cats and dogs, including mixes, are not permitted to fly as checked baggage. 

 

What are the maximum size and weight for checked pets and kennels?
Maximum dimensions are 40”L x 27”W x 30”H. Kennel and pet together cannot exceed a combined weight of 100 pounds.  

 

How many animals/pets are allowed on each flight?
Limited availability determined by aircraft. You can travel with up to 2 checked pets.  

 

Can checked pets fly internationally with American?
You’ll be able to fly to the continental U.S., Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and some Central American countries. You can also travel with your pet as checked baggage or cargo to certain South American, Transatlantic and Transpacific countries. Additional pet documentation and travel restrictions may be determined by the destination country.  

 

What pet travel and health forms are needed? 
You’ll need a pet travel health certificate that follows USDA guidelines and is issued within 10 days of travel as well as within 60 days of a return flight issued on the same ticket. You’ll also need to sign a letter stating the pet was given water and food within 4 hours of flight time and additional water and feeding instructions for a 24-hour period. 

 

Are there flight restrictions for checked pets?
Checked pets cannot travel on A321, A321S, A321H, A320, A319 aircraft. Checked pets can only use the following airports as layover stops: CLT, ORD, DFW, LAX, JFK, LGA, MIA, PHL, PHX, DCA.  

 

How to Make a Reservation for Pets in Checked Baggage 

You can book a reservation with American Airlines for a checked by calling 800-433-7300. You can also book a flight reservation online with a free cancellation policy, then make your pet reservation over the phone. Reservations for checked pets must be made at least 48 hours before the flight. 

Allow for extra time to complete a checklist at the ticketing counter, but know that you can’t check in more than 4 hours before your flight. Curbside check-in is not permitted. As with other checked baggage, you and your pet will be required to fly on the same flight. Checked pets are usually picked up at excess bag claim.  

 

Other Types of Pet and Animal Travel with American Airlines 

 

More FAQ Info for Pets in Checked Baggage on American Airlines 

 

How do I pay for my pet travel reservation?
For checked baggage, payment can be made at the airport or at a travel center with cash, credit card or voucher. If you have a layover of more than 4 hours or if a segment of your flight is operated by another airline—even a partner airline—you may be subject to additional charges. 

 

Are there other requirements for pet kennels?
The kennel must be made of sturdy material with a metal door and screws/bolts. The door must be in front not on top of the kennel. It must be fastened with cable ties (provided by airline). The kennel must be escape- and leakproof with absorbent material and ventilated though the door and two sides. Water and food bowls must be accessible but attached inside the kennel with enough food for 24 hours secured to the top of the kennel.  

 

Are there other American Airlines pet travel restrictions?
Although the cargo hold is temperature-controlled, warm-blooded animals are prohibited from traveling in the checked or cargo compartments when temperatures are below 20°F or above 85°F. An acclimation certificate will allow your pet to fly when the expected temperature is between 20°F-45°F. Cold-blooded animals must follow IATA Live Animal Regulations. 

Due to heating limitations, American Airlines Cargo cannot transport warm-blooded animals on any Airbus 319, 320, 321S or 321H aircraft. Acceptable animals that can be transported on the Airbus 319, 320, 321S or 321H include tropical fish, lobsters and other “aquatics”.