American Airlines Relaxed Their Pet Policy · The Wildest

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American Airlines Just Made It Easier for You to Travel With Your Pet

It just got simpler—and cheaper—for you to bring your bestie along on your journey.

by Sio Hornbuckle
April 2, 2024
Woman traveling with her brown and white dog.
Su Arslanoglu / iStock
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They say travel is good for the soul, but making the decision to leave a pet at home can be hard on the heart — and bringing them along can be tough on the wallet. No one wants to leave behind their pal (or figure out all the logistics that go along with it, like pet sitters and daycare), but airlines don’t always make it easy to travel hand in hand (...hand in paw?) with a pet.

But finally, there’s some good news for adventurous animals: American Airlines has adjusted their pet policy, making it easier (and cheaper!) than ever to cross the world without making any tearful goodbyes. 

American Airlines has a new pet policy 

In the past, people who brought pets along on flights could only bring one small personal item aboard, which had to fit under their seat. A larger carry-on bag — like the ones that typically go in the overhead compartment — would need to be checked, which was an additional $35. Basically, their pet counted as their carry-on. 

But now, passengers can bring a pet onto the flight and choose between bringing a carry-on bag or a personal item. Passengers still have to pay the pet fee, which is $150. 

According to the American Kennel Club, most airlines still count pets as carry-ons. So, while there’s still a pet fee on American Airlines, this new policy could reduce costs for pet parents who need that extra suitcase space. More room for toys and treats, right? 

Traveling with pets

There are a few things to keep in mind before heading off for a pet-filled vacation. Every airline is different, so be sure to review the specific restrictions and fees on your flight before heading to the airport. Alaska, Delta, and Southwest are a few other airlines that allow pets — but they each have their own rules. Most airlines limit how many pets you can bring aboard; for American Airlines flights, only two pets who fit in the same carrier can join you. 

For people with service dogs, including psychiatric service dogs (dogs trained to perform specific tasks related to their handlers’ physical and/or psychiatric needs), flying with a pup shouldn’t be a problem. According to the United States Department of Transportation, airlines are required to accept service dogs on board with no additional cost for flights within the U.S. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for emotional support animals, which don’t require special training; airlines can refuse them or charge fees for their flights.

Whatever airline you’re flying, you’re going to want to find your pet an airline compliant carrier and bring along your pet’s vaccination records. And seriously, pack some extra treats. It can’t hurt.

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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