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American Airlines Finally Makes Its On-Board Pet Policy More Reasonably Affordable

United States Pets Airports + Flying
by Katie Scott Aiton Apr 2, 2024

American Airlines revamped their pet travel policy this month, offering pet owners more flexibility and comfort. The key change is that passengers can now bring their furry friend into the cabin with a carry-on suitcase or a personal item.

This replaces the prior rule that only allowed a small item that fits under the seat with a pet on board. Anything larger would have to be checked, or the animal would need to go into the cargo hold. The fee for bringing your pet on board an American Airlines flight remains unchanged at $150.

The updated policy should significantly ease the travel experience for both pet and owner, allowing them to have essential carry-on luggage while their pet remains comfortably stowed under the seat.

According to The Associated Press, the airline had received negative feedback from customers who felt the old policy was unfair, especially since the pet fee could sometimes be more expensive than the plane ticket itself.

American Airlines hopes this new policy will deter passengers from falsely claiming their pets as service animals, improving overall passenger comfort and safety on board.

Other airlines, such as United and Delta, allow small pets to travel in the cabin for a fee. However, United has the strictest policy. Their in-cabin acceptance is limited to very small cats and dogs, and some user reviews on Reddit suggest rigid enforcement of size restrictions. United charge $125 each way for traveling with your pet.

Delta offers more wiggle room. The airline allows small cats, dogs, and household birds to travel in the cabin on select flights within the US, Canada, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, but not to Hawaii. Your pet must fit comfortably in a carrier under the seat in front of you, which must be leak-proof, ventilated, and meet specific size requirements depending on the aircraft. There’s a fee ($125) for this service, and you’ll need to make reservations in advance as only a limited number of pets are allowed per flight. Most importantly, your pet counts as your one carry-on item.

At this point in time, it seems like if you’re flying domestically with your pet, your best bet is to do so with American Airlines.

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