American Airlines pet policy accepts cats and dogs for pet travel including carry-on, checked baggage, and cargo—one of the few airlines that permit all three modes of pet air travel. At the same time, there are many American Airline pet policies and travel rules that you’ll need to know to safely make the journey. One rule that applies to a lot of pets is that they must fit under the seat while in their carrier to be able to fly in the cabin. Larger animals will have to travel as checked baggage or as pet cargo.    

Here is the American airline pet policy information you need to know to determine if, how, and where your pet will be able to fly with American.

  • Flying with Pets in the Cabin: Small pets are usually flown in the cabin of the airplane under the seat in front of you. If your pet is reasonably chill inside its carrier and doesn’t have serious health concerns, this is probably a viable travel option for you. Read more about the rules for pets in the cabin on American Airlines. 
  • Flying with Pets in Checked Baggage: American Airlines only accepts pets in checked baggage for active-duty U.S. military and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel traveling on official orders. Read more about the rules for pets in checked baggage on American Airlines. 
  • Flying Pets in Cargo: This is a better option for pets traveling by themselves. In fact, pets are prohibited from flying unaccompanied in the cabin of the plane. These reservations are made by a certain department of American Airlines. Read more about pets in cargo and American Airlines Cargo. 
  • Service Animal Policy: American Airlines welcomes service animals for customers with disabilities. Emotional support animals may travel as pets, but not as service animals. While following the federal guidelines for these animals and passengers with disability, the airline also has some of its own policies for service animals. To determine if your dog qualifies to be certified as a Psychiatric Service Dog and can be accepted as such on American Airlines, you can visit Pettable’s PSD service.


Other American Airlines Pet Policies and Programs 

Other than service animals and emotional support animals, pets must stay in their carriers at all times when flying. They must also stay in their carriers at the airport except when passing through security or when visiting an animal relief area. We recommend visiting our Airport Travel Guide for these airport amenities, but American Airlines also provides its own airport info 

American Airlines does not generally recommend sedating your pet, but if you choose to or if your vet recommends it, you’ll have to provide the name of the medication, the quantity, and the date and time that you administered the medication. American Airlines is committed to animal and pet safety during every step of the journey. Thus, while the cargo hold is temperature-controlled, the airline’s temperature restrictions are also established to protect your animal from extreme temperatures in animal holding areas, at terminal facilities, when moving animals between terminal and airplane, and on the airplane awaiting departure. 

American Airlines also maintains a wide network of partner airlines that help deliver additional travel destinations and services to American Airlines customers. However, these partner airlines still have their own set of pet travel rules and fees. If your chosen itinerary includes language like “Operated by….”, you need to be aware that you may be subject to multiple fees and travel rules. You can find additional information about these codeshare flights here