For many pet owners, leaving home without their furry companion just isn’t an option. American Airlines understands this and aims to make flying with pets easy and comfortable. This article will provide an overview of American Airlines’ pet policy, including fees, crate requirements, and other important details to know before you fly.
American Airlines allows both dogs and cats to travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the U.S. Certain restrictions apply depending on the animal’s size, breed, and destination, but in general small dogs and cats are permitted. The airline also transports larger animals as cargo.
Navigating the Costs: Pet Fares and Fees
American Airlines maintains a fair pet fee structure to ensure the safety and well-being of your cherished pets during their journey. These fees are determined based on your pet’s size:
- $125 each way for pets accompanying you in the cabin.
- $200 each way for in-cabin pets that exceed the standard size limits.
- $300 for international in-cabin pet travel.
For larger dogs and other animals transported as cargo, fees are calculated according to their weight, starting at $150 each way. Additional charges may apply for extended flights or special handling services.
Ensuring Your Pet’s Safe Journey: Crate Requirements
All pets traveling by air must be comfortably housed in USDA/APHIS-approved crates specifically designed for air travel. For cabin-traveling pets on American Airlines, the following crate size requirements must be met:
- Soft-sided crates should be designed to fit under the seat while allowing ample space for your pet to stand and turn around. The maximum dimensions permitted are 18” x 14” x 9”.
- Hard-sided kennels can be slightly larger than soft crates but must still fit under the seat. The maximum size allowed is 19” x 13” x 9”.
- Very small pets, such as guinea pigs, birds, and some cats and dogs, can travel in even smaller in-cabin crates with dimensions not exceeding 8” x 8” x 4”.
To ensure safety, proper identification and “Live Animal” labels must be affixed to all crates. While your pet may enjoy a cozy blanket inside, remember to keep the carrier unlocked throughout the flight for accessibility.
Navigating Restrictions: Restricted Dog Breeds
American Airlines adheres to a set of guidelines that restrict certain dog breeds due to concerns about aggression or flight-related risks. The current list of banned breeds includes:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- Dogo Argentinos
- Cane Corsos
- Presa Canarios
- Wolf Hybrids
Owners of these breeds may be eligible for cargo transport with special approval. Certain destinations may impose additional restrictions on the transportation of these breeds.
Prioritizing Health and Safety
To ensure the health and safety of all pets on board, American Airlines has established several requirements:
- Pets must be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned before they can embark on their journey.
- Dogs and cats must possess a current health certificate issued by a veterinarian within 10 days of travel. Additionally, proof of up-to-date rabies vaccination is mandatory.
- Pets displaying signs of distress, aggression, illness, or any concerning behaviour may be denied boarding at the airport. It is crucial for pet owners to ensure their companions are fit to fly, and the use of tranquilizers and sedatives is strongly discouraged.
Conquering the Skies Internationally
American Airlines extends its pet-friendly services to international destinations, although each country may have its own set of regulations. Some countries limit the types of animals allowed due to concerns about diseases like rabies. International pet travel involves significant paperwork, veterinary checks, and advance planning.
In most cases, small pets can accompany you in the cabin on the same flight. However, fees, quarantine periods, and other regulations may differ significantly from one country to another. It’s essential for pet owners to conduct thorough research on the specific requirements for their destination before booking overseas pet travel.
Your Guide to a Smooth Flight with Pets
American Airlines’ pet policy offers valuable recommendations for a comfortable and safe journey with your pets:
- Familiarize your pet with their crate in advance through positive reinforcement and training.
- Attach identification tags to both the crate and your pet’s collar, including your cell phone contact information.
- Feed your pets lightly 4-6 hours before the flight, and avoid using sedatives.
- Introduce carry-on items, such as leashes and food dishes, before the flight to reduce stress.
- If traveling with large dogs, consider reserving a bulkhead seat for extra legroom.
- Arrive at the airport early and allow extra time for the check-in process.
- Consider your pet’s temperament; highly anxious or reactive pets may not be suitable for air travel.
- Bring cleaning supplies in case of accidents, along with potty pads for long flights. Carpet protectors can help safeguard airline seats.
- Never administer tranquilizers to your pets without explicit veterinary approval and dosage guidelines, as many Airlines prohibit sedated animals.
- For international travel, ensure all required animal import permits for the destination country are obtained well in advance.
While air travel can be a bit stressful for pets, proper planning and preparation can significantly improve their comfort and safety during the journey. Be sure to consult American Airlines’ pet policy well in advance of your next trip with your furry companion. Safe travels!
Special Tips for Traveling with Different Pet Types
Every pet is unique, and their needs during air travel can vary. Here are some specialized tips for flying with specific animal companions on American Airlines:
American Airlines Dog Policy
- Feed your dog a light meal 4-6 hours before the flight and ensure they have a pre-flight walk.
- Bring collapsible food and water bowls, as well as bottled water.
- Pack puppy training pads, potty spray, waste bags, and cleaning wipes.
- For extended flights, consider a doggie travel toilet.
American Airlines Cat Travel
- Confirm that your cat is comfortable in their carrier by taking them on test car rides.
- Bring a lightweight litter box with absorbent litter for bathroom needs.
- Avoid sedating cats before flying, as it can impair their breathing.
- Drape a blanket over the crate to reduce stress and provide a sense of security.
For Small Pets:
- Line crates with secure bedding, such as fleeces, and include food treats. Avoid loose substrates.
- Attach accessible food cups and water containers to cage doors.
- Pack vitamin supplement pastes or gels to keep your small pets hydrated during the flight.
- For small mammals, bring Timothy hay as a snack and litter for waste absorption.
- Create a quiet and dark space by draping a sheet over the birdcage.
- Avoid bringing food and water that can spill during the flight.
- Use secure perches with cage clips and stable food and water bowls, while removing any toys that could roll around.
By adhering to these guidelines and planning ahead, pet owners can embark on a worry-free journey with their furry and feathered friends. American Airlines provides valuable resources to simplify the process and ensure your pets’ safety and comfort throughout their flight.