The Adventures of Django and Arya

American Airlines

The American Airlines pet policy 2024 includes options for flying with dogs or cats in the cabin. Only military dogs can travel as checked baggage, but you can use American Airlines (AA) pet cargo company, PetEmbark for larger cats and dogs. For cats and dogs to fly in the cabin, they must be at least 8 weeks old. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are no longer accepted under the American Airlines ESA pet policy 2024 due to changes in US laws. However, trained and registered Assistance & Service Dogs may fly in the cabin free of charge. If you’re importing a dog to the USA, your dog’s age and vaccine requirements depend on the risk of rabies where your trip starts. Dogs arriving from high-risk countries need to be at least 16 weeks old and have their rabies shots before travelling into the US. Note that the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has extended the flight ban on dogs arriving from more than 100 high risk rabies countries. Check out American Airlines pet travel reviews before you book. And, remember to leave an American Airlines pet travel review if you’ve flown your cat or dog in the cabin or as cargo with AA!

Submit your review

Create your own review

American Airlines
Average rating:  
 0 reviews

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Dogs & Cats in the Cabin of the Plane
Dogs & Cats flying as Checked In Baggage
Pets flying as Cargo
Assistance Dogs in Cabin
Psychiatric Service Dogs in Cabin
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in Cabin
American Airlines Pet Policy 2024

Does American Airlines allow Dogs and Cats in the cabin?

The American Airlines pet travel policy 2024 accepts dogs and cats to fly in the cabin within their travel bag.

The travel bag or kennel must meet both the International Air Transport Association (IATA) rules, and the American Airlines specifications outlined in their pet travel policy. The maximum pet carrier sizes in the AA cabin are:

Hard-sided kennel

  • Mainline flights on American Airlines
    L 19″ x W 13″ x H 9″ or 48 x 33 x 22 cm
  • Regional flights on American Eagle
    L 16″ x 12″ x 8″ or 40 x 30 x 20 cm

Soft-sided kennel (Recommended by AA)

  • L 18″ x W 11″ x H 11″ or 46 x 28 x 28 cm

On the flight, the travel bag will be stowed underneath the seat in front of you, you can’t remove your cat or dog during the flight for safety reasons. In addition, the following rules apply when flying your pet in the cabin with American Airlines:

  • Pets must be able to stand and sit up, turn around normally and lie down in a natural position in their kennel, without touching any side or the top of their travel bag.
  • Non-collapsible kennels can’t exceed the under seat dimensions of any aircraft included in your journey. Contact American Airlines Reservations Department to verify the maximum dimensions for your journey.
  • Soft-sided collapsible kennels can be slightly larger but still need to fit under the seat in front of you. They also have to be secure, padded, made of water-repellant material and have nylon mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides.

Note that American Airlines only stipulates a maximum in cabin weight for cats and dogs flying in Business Class on an A321T aircraft.

IATA Regulations for Cats & Dogs Flying in the Cabin

While you need to ensure that your pet’s travel crate meets the maximum dimensions set by American Airlines to fly in the cabin, remember that you must also adhere to the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This includes calculating the minimum inner crate dimensions allowed by the IATA LAR for your cat or dog to fly in the cabin. In addition, the airline pet travel carrier must adhere to the criteria set by the IATA LAR, in terms of ventilation, design etc.

If you’re new to pet travel, check out 8 IATA Compliant Airline Pet in Cabin Carriers.

Cost of flying a Pet in Cabin with American Airlines

It cost $125 one way to pay for your pet as additional carry on baggage. But, there’s also the option to travel with your cat or dog in their travel bag along with one personal item. However, you won’t be permitted to bring a carry on bag in addition to a pet carrier and personal item, as the pet carrier replaces your carry on bag.

Which American Airlines Routes Allow Cats & Dogs in the Cabin?

You can fly with a pet in the American Airlines passenger cabin on most flights, up to a maximum duration of 12 hours, on routes to and from:

  • The 48 contiguous United States
  • The U.S. and Canada
  • Alaska
  • Central America
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Croix
  • St. Thomas

Pet in Cabin Restrictions American Airlines (AA) First or Business Class

On AA First or Business Class flights on an A321T aircraft, the following conditions apply:

  • Pets need to remain in their kennel during the flight and they will be placed in a dedicated animal friendly compartment at the front of the plane during taxi, take-off, landing and turbulence
  • The combined weight of the carrier and your cat or dog can’t exceed 20 lbs (9.07kg), which will be weighed at check-in

Also, American Airlines doesn’t allow carry on pets in First or Business Class on the following aircraft models:


  • 777-200
  • 777-300
  • 787-8
  • 787-9

Does American Airlines Allow Pets in the Hold as Checked Baggage?

American Airlines only accepts checked pets for active-duty US military and US State Department Foreign Service personnel, who are travelling on official orders. Up to 2 pets may be checked in, and they must meet the minimum age and health requirements of the destination. Since capacity is limited, checked pets are accepted on a first-come basis.

When checking a pet, you need to:

  • Contact Reservations at least 48 hours prior to 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

If you’re unsure of the difference between flying your pet as checked baggage or cargo, be sure to read our detailed explanation. Should you prefer to fly your cat or dog as checked baggage in the hold, rather than cargo, check out Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

IATA Requirements for Pets Flying in Hold

For the safety of your pet during air transport, the airline travel kennel must meet the legal requirements of the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Therefore, in addition to ensuring that your cat or dog in their travel crate adheres to the maximum weight and dimensions set by American Airlines, the minimum inner kennel dimensions defined by the IATA LAR must also be met.

You can calculate the minimum inner space permitted by the IATA LAR, in addition to learning about the required construction, design etc for the pet in hold travel crate.

IATA dog crate calculator pet kennel dimensions formula airline approved cat dog carrier

Should you need a new travel kennel for your American Airlines pet flight, check out 4 Popular IATA Compliant Pet in Hold Crates.

Cost of Flying A Military Dog with AA as Checked Baggage

$200 per kennel, per flight, or $150 to and from Brazil

American Airlines Pet Cargo with PetEmbark

If your pet is too large to fly in the cabin, they may travel as cargo with the American Airlines Pet Cargo, American PetEmbark. Costs vary, but if you’re flying your pet domestically in the USA, Hawaii or Puerto Rico, you can calculate your rate online. You can also receive a quote for your specifications by contacting American PetEmbark.

Dog Breed Restrictions with AA

American Airlines doesn’t accept brachycephalic breeds of cats and dogs to fly as checked baggage. This includes:

  • Burmese
  • Persian
  • Himalayan
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Affenpinscher
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer (all breeds)
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog (all breeds)
  • Cane Corso
  • Chow Chow
  • Dogue De Bordeaux
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff (all breeds)
  • Pekingese
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Pug (all breeds)
  • Shar Pei
  • Shih Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel

American Airlines Assistance & Service Dog and Emotional Support Animal (ESAs) Policy

As of 11 January 2021, the American Airlines pet policy no longer recognises Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), therefore no new ESA reservations will be accepted. Emotional Support Animals are now subject to the standard American Airlines pet travel policy.

Only professionally trained Assistance & Service Dogs can fly in the cabin free of charge if they meet the requirements. A service animal is defined as a dog that’s individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, including but not limited to:

  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Seizures
  • Mobility impairments
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Trained and registered Psychiatric Service Dogs are therefore permitted to travel with American Airlines.

American Airlines Excluded Pet Flight Routes

AA doesn’t fly pets in the cabin to international destinations other than those stated above.

Are Pets Safe on Planes?

If you’re worried about your furry travel companion’s wellbeing when flying, check out our comprehensive post regarding pet safety on planes.

In the USA, a monthly report is provided for pet incident rates for each airline. The US Department of Transport (USDoT) defines an incident as the loss, injury or death of a pet during airline transport.

In 2020, the two US airlines that transported the most pets were Alaska Airlines (107,042) and American Airlines (80,817). Between January 2015 and December 2020, American Airlines reported the third highest number of pet deaths (16), after United Airlines (45), and Delta Airlines (27).

In December 2021, American Airlines reported two pet incidents, which weren’t caused by the airline. In most airline pet incidents, the kennel has not been secure or safe, so, be sure to purchase a strong, safe crate for your pet to travel in the hold. You can read more about the types of incidents in December 2021 on American Airlines pet flights.

No doubt, at some point your trip will involve a car ride, so have a look at our 12 Essential Pet Car Safety Tips too. Should your cat or dog suffer from motion sickness, we’ve also compared some of the treatments, strategies and medications for pet travel nausea.

It’s important to be aware that you can’t sedate or tranquilize your cat or dog for their flight, whether your pet, or pets, are travelling in the American Airlines cabin or hold.

In addition, to protect your pet’s health and wellbeing in a new country, be sure to keep your cat or dog safe from vector-borne diseases. In particular, Heartworm from mosquitoes and Leishmaniasis from sandflies in Southern European destinations pose a serious threat.

You might also want to check out 10 Pet Friendly Airlines in the EU and Pets in Cabin from the UK and 7 Transatlantic Pet Friendly Airlines.

And don’t forget the all important Essential Pet Travel Accessories!

Prior to booking, always view the American Airlines pet travel policy on their website for any recent changes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines are frequently amending their rules for pets on planes.

Have a safe and wonderful trip, and remember to leave a pet travel review for American Airlines if you fly your pet cat or dog, in the cabin or hold!

Flying with Pets

Comprehensive guides to flying with cats and dogs in the cabin, and in the hold as checked baggage or cargo.

Pet Friendly Ferries

Prefer sailing the seas to soaring the skies? Then check out our selection of global pet friendly ferries.

Pet Friendly Trains

Read about rail routes and pet policies for worldwide train networks.

Pet Travel Schemes

Do you need a Pet Passport, Animal Health Certificate or Import Permit for your next trip? Discover the documentations and preparations required under each country’s pet travel scheme.

Protecting Cats & Dogs

Remember to keep your pet safe from vector-borne diseases when you travel to a foreign destination.

Pet Cargo & Couriers

Discover airline cargo companies, and pet couriers to transport your cat, dog, ferret, rabbit or bird by road.

Pet Friendly Destinations

Check out our directory of worldwide pet friendly destinations

Pet Friendly Hotels

Once you decide where you're heading for your next trip, find the paw-fect pet friendly accommodation, reviewed by other cat and dog owners..

Dog Friendly Beaches & Parks

Locate the best dog friendly beaches and parks to visit with your four-legged friend.

Add a Pet Friendly Place to our Global Directory

Add your favourite pet friendly destination, hotel, transport, beach or park to let other cat & dog owners hear all about it!

Recent Posts

Quarantine for Cats & Dogs

Pet quarantine used to be commonplace when travelling with cats and dogs. But, following the introduction of the European Union (EU) Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)

Read More »