Does American Airlines Still Allow Emotional Support Animals?
No, American Airlines is not one of the emotional support animal airlines.
Due to a final rule from the department of transportation (DOT) that no longer protects ESAs the same way it protects trained service animals, American Airlines emotional support animal flying is not allowed.
With this new ruling, airlines can choose whether to allow emotional support animals (ESAs) on the flights, and most of them have chosen not to.
However, they still allow carry-on pets to board the planes if the size and kennel specifications are met. So, to bring an ESA on an airplane, an ESA owner must abide by American Airlines’ pet policies.
Is American Airlines Banning Emotional Support Animals?
Yes, American Airlines has banned emotional support animals.
The new ruling from the U.S. Department of Transportation allows air travel providers to choose whether they permit ESAs, and most of them, including Alaska Airlines, Delta, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and JetBlue, have decided to ban emotional support animals from boarding their aircraft.
However, pet owners are still allowed to bring pets on an airplane, although every airline has its policies. For American Airlines specifically, you can get a pet into the cabin if the pet carrier can fit under the seat and the pet remains in the carrier for the flight duration.
A pet fee is required, and reservations must be made before the flight. If your pet does not fit the carry-on requirements, it must be shipped in the cargo hold. However, they have specific scenarios in which cargo pets are allowed.
A checked pet must be active-duty U.S. military or with U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel traveling on official orders. The pet carrier must meet pet carrier specifications for checked pets. If these requirements are not met, the animal is not permitted to travel on American Airlines.
What is the American Airlines Pet Travel Policy?
Here are the American Airlines emotional support animal policies.
Pets in the American Airlines Plane Cabin. Pets are allowed in the cabin if the pet carrier can fit under the seat. The pet carrier must be waterproof, well ventilated, and large enough for the animal to stand and lay naturally.
Assistance animals are not recognized as service animals, so they must follow the same rules as pets. They are to be able to fit under the plane’s seat and remain in the carrier at all times during the flight. Trained service animals are allowed in the cabin at no cost per the requirements of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
Regardless of the situation, the dog‘s behavior should be well-mannered and not interfere with other customers. Service animals must remain in the handler’s lap or at their feet during the flight. They are not permitted to occupy an empty seat, sit on a tray table, or wander into the aisle.
Those traveling with service animals are not to sit in emergency exit rows and are recommended not to sit in aisle seats. If a person is traveling with a service animal, they must fill out a service animal air transportation form and turn it in 48 hours before the flight to allow the airline to go over the form.
There are also destination restrictions for carry-on pets. You cannot travel to or from Australia, Hawaii, or the Caribbean. All animals traveling to the U.S from a foreign country must also meet government regulations on vaccinations.
Pets in the American Airlines Plane Cargo. Unless you are active-duty U.S. military or working with the U.S. State Department of Foreign Services and traveling on official orders, you are not permitted to check an animal into cargo.
Even with these specific cases, there are specifications for kennel sizes. Kennel sizes on mainline flights are not to exceed 19” L x 13” W x 9” H, and on regional flights, 16” L x 12” W x 8” H.
How do I Fly With my Pet on American Airlines?
These are the steps to take for American Airlines emotional support animal and pet flying:
- Make Reservations. Reservations should be made as soon as possible as there is limited space for animals on a plane. Contact reservations at least 48 hours prior to travel so they can notify you of any requirements or travel changes that may affect your flight.
- Ensure your Carrier Fits the Specifications. American Airlines has strict requirements for what size and type of carriers they allow on a plane. These requirements vary from one plane to the next, so it is essential to check to see if the carrier you have will fit within these specifications.
- Arrive Early and Check-In. Since you will need to go through security, arriving at least two hours early is recommended to allow enough time to complete the boarding process. Your pet will also need to go through an X-ray scan at this point.
- Complete the Checklist with an Agent. This includes checking the animal’s age, breed, and health, as well as carrier specifications. The ticket agent will go through this process with you.
- Provide Health Certificates if Necessary. There may be health certificates you will need to provide to board the flight with an animal. They depend on the situation of the animal.
For instance, certificates will be required for pregnant animals. Also, dog breed certificates are needed to verify the breed as there are certain dog breed restrictions. Pit Bulls, for example, are a restricted breed.
What Pets are Allowed on an American Airlines Flight?
American Airlines allows only cats and dogs that cat fit inside a pet carrier that can fit under the seat of the airplane.
They have breed restrictions such as snub nose breeds of cats and dogs like Himalayan Cats and Pugs and dog breeds deemed dangerous such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.
How do I Travel With a Service Animal on American Airlines?
Traveling with a service animal is similar to traveling with a carry-on pet. Reservations must be made, check-in is required, and paperwork must be provided to the agent to prove the animal is a trained service animal.
They may ask questions regarding the nature of the dog’s training and what precisely the dog assists the handler with. You will need to complete and provide the DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form as well.
How do I Submit Service Animal Documents to American Airlines?
To submit service animal documents to American Airlines, you will go to their contact page on the website and enter the details there.
What are American Airlines’ In-Flight Requirements for a Service Animal?
The animal must be tethered at all times, must be older than four months, be clean and well behaved, and must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat, or in your lap, although they require lap animals to be smaller than a two-year-old child.
Final approval will not be given until you arrive at the airport and it is confirmed the animal cant sit at your feet for the flight, and an individual is allowed up to two service animals.
How Much is Flying With a Pet on American Airlines?
Here are the American Airlines emotional support animal and pet fees:
- American Airlines Fees for Pets Flying in Cabin: $125.00 per kennel
- American Airlines Fees for Pets Flying in Cargo: Fees vary and must be confirmed at booking, but typically they will be $50-$250 per pet
- American Airlines Fees for Flying with Service Dogs: There is no fee to bring a service dog on board.
How Much does American Airlines Charge for Emotional Support Animals?
Because of the ruling by DOT, American Airlines does not recognize emotional support animals as assistance animals, so pet owners are to pay the usual pet fees associated with flying.