American Airlines changes pet policy, allows passengers to bring carry-on with pet carrier

by 24USATVApril 2, 2024, 4 a.m. 22
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Good news for pet owners! American Airlines is relaxing its pet policy and allowing those who travel with their animal companions to bring a full-size carry-on too, along with the pet carrier.

"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," says American Airline's on their website, adding that passengers can also bring "one additional item on board with your pet," which can be a personal item like a purse or small handbag or a carry-on bag that fits in the overhead bin and meets the airline's requirements.

"Remember, you can only bring one with your pet carrier, not both," says American.

Earlier, travelers with pets were only allowed to bring a small personal item, that could fit under the seat if they were bringing their pet onboard. Anything bigger than that, like a carry-on, was required to be checked for $35. Alternatively, pet owners could put their pet in the cargo hold if they wanted to bring a bigger item with them on the flight.

However, there has been no change in fees required to bring a pet onboard. That remains fixed at $150, as per the American Airline's website. Meanwhile, pet strollers are still required to be checked in and all checked bag fees apply.

American Airlines did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment and what prompted the relaxation in policy.

Flying with a dog?Here’s how to ensure a smooth flight for your pet

Even with the relaxation in policy, experts advise thoughtful planning and research before traveling with pets and considering factors such as choosing a pet-friendly airline, insurance and preparing your pet for the journey ahead of time.

Every airline has its own guidelines for traveling with pets and the websites for domestic carriers like Southwest, JetBlue, American, Alaska, United and Delta each spell out what pets can travel where and the requirements for a carrier that can fit under the seat.

There are limitations on the number of pets a passenger can travel with on different aircrafts and travelers are advised to go through the airline policies before making their travel plans and booking tickets.

Similarly, country-based restrictions also apply, and travelers are advised to understand pet-entry requirements for their destination county when traveling abroad.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.

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