American Airlines

  • Travel With Your Emotional Support Animals on American Airlines
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American Airlines ESA (Pet) Policy

American Airlines ESA (Pet) Policy

Air-travel can be really tough for people suffering from mental conditions. Thousands of feet up in the air, controlling your condition gets all the more difficult. Unfortunately, American Airlines will treat emotional support animals as normal pets, and your ESA will be subject to a pet fee. This means that your ESA can no longer fly in-cabin or cargo without paying additional charges. In addition to this, the new pet rules under the American Airlines policy states that it is imperative for the airline to ensure the safety of their passengers and staff. With the recent surge in reports against emotional support animals, the Department of Transportation (DOT) decided to ban ESA’s from airlines. While also allowing airlines to amend ESA policies as per their requirements. So, in order to protect the safety of passengers and airline employees, the airline came out with its own set of rules. Make sure you go through these rules before applying for an emotional support animal letter or booking a flight.

American Airlines ESA Laws: How to Fly With Your Pet?

  1. Carry-on pets may fly in-cabin, provided the pet meets necessary requirements.
  2. Large pets can travel with American Airlines Cargo.
  3. You can bring the kennel as a carry-on bag. No additional carry-on bags are allowed.
  4. Kennels can be slightly large provided they fit under the passenger seat without collapsing or damaging the walls.
  5. The total weight of the carrier and pet cannot exceed more than 20 lbs.
  6. The Pet fee per kennel for carry-on pets is $125.
  7. Dogs and cats must be vaccinated. (The age and vaccination requirements will depend on the rabies risk of your country).
  8. Cats must be at least 8-weeks-old when traveling within the U.S and Puerto Rico boundaries.
  9. Space in the cargo or in-cabin is subject to availability.
  10. Breed restrictions apply to both cats and dogs. Sensitive breeds or very large-sized cats and dogs are not allowed in the cabin or cargo.

American Airlines ESA Rules: Kennel and Document Requirements

As per rules, the American Airline does not hold itself responsible for the safety and well-being of the pet traveling as a carry-on. The rules also enforce that carry-on pets must stand or sit properly inside the kennel without trying to touch the side, top, or any other corner of the kennel. Non-collapsible kennels must not exceed the dimensions suggested under the pet policies. In other words, the kennel must fit under the seat without damaging the seat dimensions. Kennels made up of soft and collapsible material must have padded, are made up of water-repellent material, and have a nylon mesh for ventilation on either side. In addition to this, American Airlines allows seven kennels per flight. This does not include service animals. They still enjoy the privileges as per the new DOT rules.

Besides fulfilling kennel requirements, you also have to complete the American Airline Documentation process. This process requires you to submit documents such as a health certificate within 10 days of departure travel and 30 days of return travel. Rabies certification along with breed verification documents, acknowledgment forms, and temperature assimilation letter is a must. So, make sure that you have gathered and assembled all these documents before you begin your booking process. More vitally, always make sure that you make arrangements for your ESA 48 hours prior to the boarding date. This will help you fly hassle-free.

As far as breed or pet types are concerned, American Airlines will most likely allow dogs and cats to fly, excluding certain breeds. For instance, dog breeds that are sensitive to heat or cat breeds that are intolerant to air pressure. While these are some of the rules that you need to keep in mind, one of the most important things you need to do when flying with a dog on American Airlines is to make sure that your dog is at its best behavior at the airport and onboard.

Although no training is required for your pet to be an ESA, it is preferred that you get your pet basic training so that it remains in your control when flying in-cabin. It is your responsibility to keep your ESA in check and make sure that other passengers face no issues irrespective of your pet’s behavior. The airlines categorically don’t accept emotional support animals who display disruptive behavior like growling, biting, and jumping, or lunging at people. Follow these simple rules and regulations and you can travel with your emotional support animal in-cabin without any hassles. It is a great experience having your pet there with you in-cabin. All the anxiety or stress that you may feel during the flight, the presence of your ESA, even under the seat can help you feel a little less anxious.

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