American Airlines Makes It Easier To Travel With Pets

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Javier Brosch/Shutterstock

They say to travel is to live, but deciding to leave a beloved pet at home can make you feel guilty - and bringing them along on an adventure can be tough on the bank account. No one truly wants to leave their four-legged best friend behind and figure out whether to hire a pet sitter or look for a boarding facility, but airlines don’t always make it easy for pet parents to travel with their fur babies.

Finally, there’s some good news for pet parents and their four-legged companions! American Airlines has changed their pet policy, making it easier and more affordable for pet owners to fly with their fur babies.

On flights with American, you can bring one pet carrier as a carry-on if: You pay the carry-on pet fee; Your pet stays in the pet carrier and under the seat in front of you the entire flight,” shared American Airlines’ on their website. The company added that passengers can also bring “only one additional item on board with your pet” which can be a small personal item like a handbag or a purse, or a carry-on bag that meets the airline’s requirements and fits in the overhead bin compartment. 

The important thing to note is that you can only bring one with your pet carrier, not both.

In the past, people who traveled with pets could only bring one small personal item abroad, which could fit under the seat. Anything bigger than that - for example, a larger carry-on bag that usually goes in the overhead bin - had to be checked, which was an additional $35. 

As an alternative, pet owners could transport their pets in the cargo hold if they wanted to take a bigger bag with them on the flight. 

Thanks to recent policy changes, people traveling with pets can now bring a pet aboard and choose whether they’ll travel with a carry-on bag or a personal item. 

At the same time, no changes to American Airlines' pet travel fee have been made. According to the company’s website, the fee remains fixed at $150 and applies per kennel, each way. For now, pet strollers must be checked at the ticket counter, and all checked bag fees apply. 

There are a few things to keep in mind before flying off into the sunset with your four-legged friend. All airlines are different. Every airline has its own policies for traveling with pets, so be sure to check the specific restrictions and fees on your flight before you book the tickets. Southwest, JetBlue, Delta, Alaska, and United are a few other airlines that allow pet travel, but each has its own travel requirements. 

Each airline specifies what pets can travel where. There are also limitations on the number of pets a passenger can bring abroad on different aircrafts. Only two pets in the same carrier can come aboard for American Airlines flights. Don’t forget that capacity is limited, meaning that checked pets are accepted on a first-come basis. 

Country-based restrictions also apply, and people traveling with pets should check and understand destination restrictions when traveling abroad.

Lastly, whatever airline you decide to fly with, you have to find your pet an airline-compliant carrier. Without the right pet carrier, your fur baby won’t be able to fly on a plane with you. 

There is a lot to think about when traveling with a pet. But all will become worth it when you touch down and start making fun and exciting travel memories with your four-legged companion. 

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Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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