Pets Frequently Asked Questions

We know there's a ton of information to digest, so we've prepared some answers to frequently asked questions below. If you still have questions, please feel free to email us with any questions or concerns at LiveAnimals.Cargo@aa.com.

Understanding and Tracking Your Pet's Journey

What will my dog or cat experience on their journey?

Dogs and cats traveling with us will experience a similarly pressurized and climate-controlled aircraft compartment that our customers are used to in cabin. While your pet waits for their flight, they will be in a climate-controlled area until they are given a ride to their flight for departure. When it’s time to board, your pet will be the last one on and the first one off the airplane on arrival. Once at their destination, they’re given a ride back to a climate-controlled area where they’ll wait for pick-up.

Can I track my pet's journey?

Of course. When you book your animal with us, we'll give you an air waybill number. You can enter your air waybill number into our online tracking tool to monitor your pet's status.

You can contact our dedicated 24-hour animal desk at 1-800-227-4622 or LiveAnimals.Cargo@aa.com.

What happens if my pet doesn’t make it on their flight?

In the event your pet does not travel on its booked flight because of circumstances within our control, we will rebook your pet onto the next available flight. If you’d like to cancel instead of rebooking, we will refund 50% of the freight charges for PPS or 100% of the freight charges for ExpediteFS, provided they are dropped off within required time limits and have met all required documentation.

Please note that we will not provide a refund if the delay was caused by weather conditions, mechanical problems, termination, diversion, postponement or delay of any flight because of force majeure, strikes, riots, civil commotion, international conditions, any governmental regulations, order demand or requirement, shortage of labor, fuel facilities, or labor difficulties or for any other reason beyond our control.

Submit a claim request »

What happens if my pet doesn’t make its connecting flight?

If your pet needs to lay over in between connections, we will provide them with a comfort stop at a local kenneling facility. While your pet is at a comfort stop, the kennel will provide a well-being check to ensure your pet's health and welfare. Your pet will have the opportunity to relieve themselves, and depending on their travel schedule, your pets will be given food and water.

Please note that you will be charged for comfort stop fees based off the connection city.

Learn more about comfort stops »

What happens if my pet’s flight gets cancelled?

We will reach out with you with our next available flight.

What happens if my pet gets sick or injured on its journey?

In the unlikely event that your pet becomes ill or injured while in our care, we will get immediate veterinary attention to ensure the pet's safety and security.

Learn more about our emergency veterinary support »

What happens if I'm late to pick up my pet?

If your pet arrives at the airport and you’re on a later flight or can’t pick up your pet for a short period of time, we might decide to keep your pet in a secure off-site kennel. Depending on the situation, additional kenneling charges may apply.

Booking Your Pet's Flight

Can I book my pet on any American Airlines flight?

While we would love to bring your pet on any of our flights, some of our aircraft don’t have the heating and ventilation your pet needs for a safe and comfortable flight. As a result, we will not transport pets on the following aircraft types: Airbus 319, 320, 321, 321E, 321H, 321S, 321X, 32Q and 32B, excluding New York JFK to/from LAX and San Francisco (SFO).

Another reason why your pet might not be accommodated is an incompatibility between your kennel size and space on our aircraft.

See our aircraft compatibility chart »

How far in advance can I book my pet’s flight?

You can book your pet's flight up to 10 days in advance. We recommend you contact us to make your booking at least 24 hours in advance.

How much does it cost to transport my pet?

It depends on the size of your pet and whether they’re flying domestically or internationally.

Smaller pets flying domestically will fly as Priority Parcel Service (PPS) and you can calculate your rate here.

Larger pets or any pet flying internationally will fly as ExpediteFS, and you can view our rate sheet here or contact our dedicated animal help desk at LiveAnimals.Cargo@aa.com or calling 800-227-4622.

Learn more about PPS and ExpediteFS »

How do I pay for my pet's travel?

You will pay for your pet’s travel when checking them in at drop-off. We accept the following forms of payment:

At Cargo terminals: Credit card, debit card, customer credit account, cashier's check, U.S. Postal money orders and traveler's & certified checks (all made payable to American Airlines in the exact amount).

At ticket counters: baggage service areas and global: Credit card, debit card and customer credit account.

How does the 50% military discount work?

We are proud to offer all active members of any U.S. military force and their dependents a discount of 50% off of our published rates for transporting their pets domestically.

For pets traveling as PPS, you must present proper military identification at the time you drop your pet off.

For pets traveling as ExpediteFS, you (for prepaid shipments) or the consignee (for charges collect shipments) are required to present the proper military identification.

Acceptable military identification

  • Green Active Duty Military ID card
  • Discharge papers, if within 7 days of discharge
  • Tan Uniform Services Dependent ID card marked "Active"

Discount is available for personal shipments only. Breeder shipments are not eligible for this discount.

Documentation, Temperatures and Your Pet's Health

What documents do I need to provide?

You can find a complete list of required documents from our documentation page, but be prepared to provide:

  • Health certificate within 10 days of travel
  • Rabies certification
  • Breed verification
  • Acknowledgment forms
  • Temperature acclimation letter (if necessary)

Learn more about the documentation you'll need »

Do I need a new health certificate for my pet's return trip?

We require that all dogs and cats are certified as fit for travel by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of travel for both the outbound and return trips, if there is one. If your return flight is more than 10 days after their health certificate was issued, you’ll need to get a new exam and health certificate for the return flight.

My pet is traveling internationally. Do I need special documentation for them?

In addition to the basic health documentation required for every flight, you’ll need to provide an English translation of the health certificate and complete our international shippers certificate.

Every country has their own requirements, so we recommend you visit the USDA-APHIS Pet Travel site for your destination country's documentation requirements. We also recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your pet’s destination country to ensure you’re following all the country-specific entry procedures.

If you don't comply with all the destination country's requirements, you risk the animal being refused transport, being quarantined, or being returned to the United States at your expense.

What is the safe temperature range that my pet can fly in?

Extreme temperatures are tough on our pets, so we only provide animal transport when temperatures are between 45°F and 85°F. We will not provide transportation if temperatures are higher than 85°F or less than 20°F.

Temperature restrictions are based on the actual or forecasted temperature(s) for each flight departure time and flight arrival time for each station on the itinerary.

Learn more about our temperature policy »

Can my pet fly when temperatures are above 20°F but less than 45°F?

It’s up to your veterinarian. If ground temperatures are between 20°F and 44°F, then we require that you provide a letter of acclimation signed and dated by a licensed veterinarian. The letter of acclimation must state the exact lowest temperature between 20 and 44 degrees Fahrenheit that the animal may be exposed to. This applies to origin, connection, and destination cities.

Learn more about the letter of acclimation »

How old does my pet have to be to travel?

There are exceptions to every kind of animal, but generally speaking, American will transport most animals within the U.S. and Puerto Rico if they are older than eight (8) weeks of age. Older pets and very young pets are more susceptible to stress from traveling. We recommend talking with your vet about additional health screenings your pet might need and to learn about their health risks during their trip.

How many pets can fly in a single kennel?

Two puppies or two kittens may share the same kennel if each pet is less than 20 pounds and less than six months old, so long as the pets are comparable in size and temperament and can move about freely.

Some countries have different requirements, so ensure to check the USDA-APHIS Pet Travel sitefor requirements for your pet’s destination.

Kennels and Your Pet's Comfort

What type of kennel should I use?

The right travel kennel can keep your pet physically and emotionally comfortable throughout their journey. To make sure your pet has a comfortable flight, we ask that you follow our kennel guidelines and help your pet get acclimated to their kennel.

Learn more about our kennel guidelines »

What should I do to prepare my pet for travel?

Get them comfortable: We can’t stress enough how important it is for your pet to have the right travel kennel so they are both physically and emotionally comfortable during their trip. We recommend you get your pet acclimated and comfortable in their travel kennel at least two or three weeks before your pet’s travel.

Exercise on the day of travel: You should also exercise your pet before leaving for the airport, and we encourage you to bring a leash to the airport so that you can walk your pet before and after their flight.

Should I feed my pet before the flight?

It’s a good idea to feed your pet and provide them with the nourishment they need for the journey ahead, so please offer your pet food and water four hours before drop-off with us. Please do not feed your pet for at least two hours prior to departure, since a full stomach can make your pet uncomfortable and lead to stomach bloating, vomiting and other health conditions.

Can I pack extra food or bring anything inside the kennel with my pet?

Food, yes. A comfortable blanket, yes. An extra large t-shirt with your scent, yes.

Toys, no.

We encourage you to tape a small Ziploc bag of dry food to the top of the kennel that our team can use to feed your pet in case of a delay. Please attach two empty dishes (one for food and one for water) to the inside of the kennel in a location accessible from the outside without opening the door. The dishes needs to be empty at drop-off but accessible so our team can feed them.

We also encourage you to include absorbent material along the bottom of the kennel, such as blankets, towels, large t-shirts or crate pads. Please note that we will not accept your pet or kennel if straw, hay or wood shavings are inside the kennel.

As for toys, we have decided that safety trumps comfort and will not allow any toys inside the kennel during their journey.

Learn more about day of travel preparation »

Can I sedate my pet before the flight?

No. At the recommendation of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), we will not accept household dogs and cats that have been sedated or tranquilized. Pets that have been given sedatives or tranquilizers are at a higher risk of respiratory and cardiovascular problems at high altitudes. We will not knowingly accept a dog or cat that has been or appears to have been sedated.

Our recommended alternative is to acclimate your pet to its travel container as far in advance of the trip as possible. Veterinarians recommend leaving it open in the house with a chew bone or other familiar objects inside so that your pet will spend time in the kennel. It is important for your pet to be as relaxed as possible during the flight.

Some veterinarians also recommend herbal stress relievers, like lavender and chamomile, to ease your pet’s anxiety. Please make sure to ask your veterinarian if using these natural alternatives is safe for your pet.

Where should I drop off my pet and what time do I need to arrive?

You can find your drop-off location and minimum drop-off time by entering the airport code or city name into our facilities page.

While we don’t anticipate check-in to take up too much time, we recommend arriving at least two hours prior for domestic and four hours prior for international flights to allow time to complete all inspections and acceptance procedures.

Your pet must be completely checked in and dropped off with us no later than the minimum drop-off time, which is different from station to station. Double-check the minimum drop-off time for your facility, and give yourself plenty of time to check your pet in once you arrive.

Find your facility »

Traveling With Your Pet

What happens if my flight cancels or there is a change of aircraft and my ‘new’ aircraft cannot accommodate my pet?

If there is a flight cancellation or aircraft change, we will contact you and provide a new routing option for your pet. If you’d like to rebook yourself and your pet so you can travel together on a different routing, we will help facilitate getting your flight rebooked and then we will rebook your pet.

What happens if temperatures restricts my pet from traveling safely on the same flight as me?

We monitor the temperatures for animals scheduled to depart the following day. If temperatures are forecasted above 85°F or below 45°F, we will contact you provide a new routing option for your pet. If you’d like to rebook yourself and your pet so you can travel together on a different routing, we will help facilitate getting your flight rebooked and then we will rebook your pet.