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Flying with your Emotional or Psychiatric Service Animal on American Airlines

Commercial airplane with American flag on the tail and fuselage landing or taking off from the airport with blue cloudy blue sky

American Airlines welcomes support animals in the aircraft cabin and will work with you to make sure your travel day runs smoothly, however there are some recent changes in their policy that you will need to be aware of. Let’s review first the animals that are permitted, and then follow up next with American Airlines required support animal documentation you and your animal(s) will be expected to complete to fly with them in the cabin. In this article, you can also find common questions many people have when it comes to flying with their emotional support animal. We will also discuss how to fly on American Airlines if your pet is not an emotional support of psychiatric service animal.

American Airlines New Emotional Support Animal Restrictions:

American Airlines has just announced their latest updates to traveling with emotional support animals, these new policy changes will kick in April 1st, 2019.

What is an emotional support animal:

Emotional service animals (also known as emotional support animals or ESA’s) are those who have been prescribed to provide comfort and reduce negative symptoms of an emotional disability. If you are interested in seeing if you qualify for an emotional support animal click or link below.

Flying in the cabin

Fully trained service animals and emotional support animals may fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet the requirements.


  • 1 emotional support/psychiatric service animal per person
  • Animal must be a cat or dog (trained miniature horses may be permitted as a service animal
  • Animal must be four months or older
  • Animal must be clean and well-behaved
  • Animal must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (lap animals must be smaller than a 2-year-old child)
  • If your animal is in a cage, the cage must fit under the seat in front of you with the animal in it

Animals Permitted on American Airlines as an emotional support/psychiatric service animal:

  • Cats 4 months or older
  • Dogs 4 months or older
  • Trained Miniature horse is permitted as a service animal

How do you fly with your emotional support animal?

To travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal in the cabin you must submit all required forms to the Special Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before your flight.

If you are traveling soon and require an ESA letter in the next 48 hours then make sure you get connected with one of MyPetCerts team members today.

Take our 5-minute screening to see if you qualify today for an emotional support animal.

Forms that are required for travel:

  • Medical/Mental Health Professional Form
  • Veterinary Health Form or vaccination record with current rabies vaccination information
  • Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form
  • If you have a flight over 8 hours in your itinerary, you are also required to complete the Animal Sanitation Form

Destinations with restrictions on emotional support animals:

  • Hawaii
  • London, England (LHR)
  • Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI)
  • All other destinations within the United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • Auckland, New Zealand (AKL)
  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Georgetown, Guyana (GEO)
  • St. Vincent and Grenadines (SVD)

Advantages to flying with your emotional support animal on American Airlines:

  • No breed restrictions
  • No cost
  • Priority Boarding

Flying with a Non-Emotional Support or Service Animal:

What if my animal is not an emotional support animal?

According to the American Airlines ESA policy, pets are welcomed to join their owners on American Airlines.

Carry on, check or transport your pets:

Depending on the animals’ breed, size and requirements, they can travel as a carry-on, be checks or transported with American Airlines Cargo.

Carry-on pets:

On American Airlines, you may bring 1 kennel as your carry-on bag if:

  • You pay the carry-on pet charge
  • Your pet stays in the kennel and under the seat in front of you the entire flight

For more information and guidelines on your carry-on pet please visit

Checked Pets:

You can travel with up to 2 checked pets that meet the minimum age and health requirements of your destination.

For more information and guidelines on your checked pet please visit

Breed restrictions for carry-on, checked or transported pets:

Dog Restrictions:

American Airlines does not accept and 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

Cat Restrictions:

American Airlines does not accept and brachycephalic cats of any “mix” as checked pets such as:

  • Burmese
  • Persian
  • Himalayan
  • Exotic Shorthair

How do I fly with my animal if they are one of these restricted breeds?

An emotional support animal may be any breed. There is to be no breed, size, or weight limitations on assistance animals.

Click here to certify your pet as an emotional support animal.

Charges for flying with your animals:

  • Checked Pet: Within and between United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean cost $200 per kennel and $150 to/from Brazil.
  • Carry-on Pet: Within and between United States and Canada, Mexico, Central America, Columbia and the Caribbean (based on specific country’s entry policy) cost $125 per kennel.
  • Service animals and Emotional Support animals: There is no charge for service and emotional support animals.

Take our 5-minute screening to see if you qualify today for an emotional support animal.

*****Special Notice May 1-September 30, 2019*****

Checked pets cannot travel to/through/from Phoenix (PHX), Tucson (TUS), Las Vegas (LAS) or Palm Springs (PSP).

To avoid these travel restrictions, certify your pet as an emotional support animal by clicking on the link below:

Certify my pet as an emotional support animal.

What are your thoughts on traveling with your pets on American Airlines?


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