American Airlines Making Pet Travel Easier Than Ever

Javier Brosch /
Javier Brosch /

Going on vacation with your pet has never been easy. If you had a smaller pup, you could put them under the seat in front of you, provided you gave up your larger carry-on bag and paid a small fee. The only way to retain that carry-on was to call your pet an “emotional support animal.” As the rules around these were initially lax, people took advantage of this proof-less loophole, and now American Airlines is sick of it.

Instead of banning the practice altogether, they took the high road and went the other way. Now, people can bring a pet AND a carry-on or personal item. As the pet was previously taking the personal item space, the carry-on ban was insanely limiting, and many claimed disruptive. A move like this simplifies the procedure and makes it easier to be on the right side of regulations.

Before COVID, the FAA dealt with people flaunting the laws, calling everything from dogs to snakes and even turkeys emotional support animals. By simply making people file requests in advance, they significantly reduced the number of people abusing this service. New regulations about what defines the term and having to be documented for being told about the applicable conditions cut down on the number of people using the service.

American Airlines has been one of the leading airlines in terms of pet safety. Following a few early 2000s cases of pets being neglected and left on hot tarmacs or in the belly of a plane, they have instituted new steps to keep them safe. This expansion of comfort for the less resilient and tolerable small breeds is a great step in the right direction.

It might be annoying to hear a Frenchie talk on the 5.5-hour red-eye from LA to NYC, but it beats screaming babies.