American Airlines Pet Policy

American Airlines Pet Policy

On this page we will help you to get an overview of what the regulations of this airline for taking pets look like, what requirements they have and what you should pay attention to.

We sorted all the info for you regarding the “normal” dogs, we are not covering here the special rules for service dogs. 

Recent Information:

Starting June 10, 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a temporary suspension of dogs (carry-on or checked), including fully trained service dogs, traveling to the U.S. from a country considered high-risk for dog rabies. Here is the list of countries affected.


Pet in Cabin or one floor lower in the Cargo area?

Depending on the breed and size, animals may fly as carry-on luggage or via American Airlines Cargo. Only cats and dogs that match the standards for size, age, and destination are allowed as carry-on pets.

These are the criteria for being able to take your dog with you in the Cabin:

  • On flights with American you can bring 1 kennel as your carry-on bag if:
  • You pay the carry-on pet fee.
  • The entire trip, your pet remains in the kennel and under the seat in front of you.
  • You are allowed to bring a pet carrier and one personal item on the flight, but you are not allowed to bring a carry-on bag along with them. The kennel will take the place of your carry-on bag.
  • The combined weight of the carrier and your pet can’t exceed 20 lbs. / 9.07 kgs., weighed at check-in

Pets must be older than 8 weeks to fly with the Airline. If you want to travel with a young puppy, please also ask reservations for any limits in this regard.

Kennel / Bag restrictions

  • Pets must fit comfortably inside the closed/zipped carrier and be able to stand up and turn around.
  • Non-collapsible kennels cannot be larger than the under-seat space on any of the aircraft you will be traveling on. Reservations should be contacted to confirm the maximum dimensions.
  • It is advised to use soft-sided collapsible kennels, which can be slightly larger but still need to fit beneath the seat without being overly collapsed. They must feature nylon mesh ventilation on three or more sides, be secure, padded, and constructed of water-repellent material.
  • Detailed information on kennel size can be found here.

Your Furry mate is too large for the Cabin?

These are the guidelines for Pets as checked luggage

Does your dog not fit under the front seat? Then he has to fly one floor down in the cargo area. Many travelers don’t like the idea of the dog having to be there alone for several hours. Still, this option offers plenty of benefits for the dog (and you too). Please take a look at our report on this.

Here you will find the most important regulations if the dog is checked in as checked luggage.

I don’t like the term, but whoever flies one floor below the passengers in the front cargo area is called that.

The area is air-conditioned because the captain always has information on which animals are flying below and the optimal temperature for them. Pressure equalization also takes place there, of course.

When checking in your pet, there are specific requirements for their kennel:

  • Large enough for your pet to stand, turn, sit and lie down in a natural position (without touching any side or the top of the container)
  • Must not exceed maximum size requirements of the aircraft you’re traveling on
  • Must not exceed maximum weight (combined pet and kennel) of 100 lbs. / 45 kgs.
  • Be made of wood, metal, plastic or similar materials
  • Have a door made of welded or cast metal
  • Secured at the top and bottom with bolts or screws
  • Secured by yourself with release cable ties on all 4 corners (we’ll provide complimentary ties)
  • Be rigid and secure enough so the animal cannot escape through gaps or poke any body part through the container
  • Be leak and escape proof with a secure fastened door
  • Have ventilation on at least 3 sides for domestic U.S. travel and 4 sides for international travel
  • Have separate food and watering dishes attached securely inside the kennel
  • Have a small bag of food for a 24-hour period attached to the top
  • Be clean and have absorbent material (no straw, hay or wood shavings)

If you travel with 2 of your pets in the same kennel, they must be:

  • The same species (2 cats or 2 dogs)
  • A similar size and weigh less than 20 lbs. / 9.07 kgs. each
  • Between 8 weeks and 6 months old

Cat restrictions

We don’t accept brachycephalic cats of any ‘mix’ as checked pets, such as:

  • Burmese / Persian / Himalayan / Exotic Shorthair

Cats must be at least 8 weeks old when traveling within the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Dog restrictions

We don’t accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs of any ‘mix’ as checked pets, such as:

  • 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

Dogs must be at least 8 weeks old when traveling within the U.S. and Puerto Rico. If you’re traveling into the U.S., your dog’s age and vaccine requirements depend on the risk of dog 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 traveling into the U.S.

Check if your trip starts in a high-risk country.

Water and food

According to federal regulations, you must certify in writing that:

Your pet has been fed and offered water within 4 hours (with the specific time noted) before you deliver them to the airplane. 

The certification is firmly and clearly fastened to the kennel’s exterior.

Your signature, along with the time and date that you signed it.

Additionally, you must include feeding and watering instructions for a whole day. You cannot leave instructions stating “no food or water” unless a veterinarian specifies it.


We do not accept animals that have been tranquilized or drugged, as advised by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). At high altitudes, pets who have received sedatives or tranquilizers are more likely to experience respiratory and circulatory issues.

Booking / Reservation

There are restrictions regarding the overall number of pets traveling in the same plane. Contact Reservations to plan for your pet in advance.

Fees and Costs for the dog or cat

You can pay your pet travel cost with a credit card or a paper voucher at the airport or the travel center if you’re flying with American Airlines (where accepted). Cash and cheques are not acceptable forms of payment.

Pet fees for other flying aircraft on your trip are not collected by us (even if it has an American flight number). However, each airline requires you to check in and pay your fees there. Look for the words “Operated by” on your ticket to see whether you are traveling with a partner airline.

As a rough guide, at the time of writing this report, the cost of a carry-on pet was 125 USD per kennel. Please ask Reservations for exact and current pricing.

Country Specific Regulations

Now that you’ve read up on American Airlines’ pet policy, please note one more important point. Make sure you can enter the destination country with your dog without problems. Countries have very different requirements when it comes to importing dogs and cats. Over time, we will publish more articles about other countries and their specifics regarding importing dogs. Until then, please use Google search and search as follows: “germany dog ​​import requirements”
Now see what result represents the official government information and start there. In the case of Germany, this is the website of
Once you have gotten an overview there, you are welcome to use other websites that may explain the requirements more efficiently.
We repeatedly hear from travelers that it looks like a lot of bureaucracy but that the authorities don’t look too closely when entering the country. This is positive, but please do not rely on it. In the worst case you have to fly back with your dog or if you are caught smuggling pets, in extreme cases it can also lead to the animal being euthanized by the authorities.

IATA Approved Dog Crates

Once it has been clarified whether and how the dog can fly with you, you should look for the proper transport box. In an article, we have described what you should pay attention to so that the flight is as less stressful as possible for everyone.

Final advice

We hope that this overview will help you to get a first overview. There are many more details to consider. You can find this on the airline’s website and of course when you call the airline.

To name just a few key points:

– Restrictions in the event of very high or very low outside temperatures

– Dog breed (some dog breeds are excluded from transport)

– Restrictions on certain aircraft models

– Restrictions on certain routes

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Travelled the world. Visited 17 countries together with the dog. Information research expert, others would say an investigator.

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