American Airlines reveals changes to in-cabin pet policy for travelers

Traveling with your pet on an American Airlines flight has now become easier thanks to changes made in March.

Takeoff and landing planes at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Takeoff and landing planes at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) / Anadolu/GettyImages

Planning to travel with your four-legged family member? Then American Airlines may be the best option available. American Airlines has relaxed its pet policy, now allowing travelers to bring their pet (in a carrier of course), and a full-size carry-on bag onto the flight.

This is a major change for those that travel with their animal in tow. In the past, travelers would only get to bring a personal item that could fit under the seat. That’s no longer the case, as travelers can now decide between either the carry-on or the personal item to come along with their pet. That is, after paying the $150 fee as well.

The new policy took effect on Thursday, March 28. There wasn’t an official explanation or announcement of the change.

Airline policies differ when it comes to traveling with pets. Often times, the challenge of arranging a flight with a pet makes it easier to just look for other travel options.

For example, United Airlines mandates that only cats and dogs are allowed in the main cabin, if space is available. For those traveling with two pets, they must purchase two tickets to make sure there is ample room. Southwest Airlines allows pets to travel, only if they can fit under the seat in front of you. They are not allowed to travel in-cabin for international flights, and only six pets are available per flight.

When traveling with a pet, there are steps you should take in advance to make the situation as easy as possible. For example, familiarize your pet with the carrier by leaving it out around the home to allow your pet to move in and out of it. Some travelers like to use sedative medicines to help their pet calm down, but the best step is to consult a veterinarian before doing so to make sure your pet’s health is maintained. Going through TSA can be a difficult matter, so make sure you have the proper equipment to keep a hand on the pet while dealing with bags. Before boarding the plane, find a quiet area in the airport as the situation will be stressful for your pet.

Traveling with a pet should be an enjoyable situation, but it can be a hard one as well. American Airlines has revealed a step that will make the process easier, and travelers can look forward to a bit less grief when traveling with their loved ones of the furred variety.