Kennel Guidelines

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 have strict kennel requirements designed to keep your pet safe.

Failure to meet all kennel requirements will result in your animal not being able to travel on the designated flight. It will need to be rebooked for a later flight or day, which may result in additional expenses.

Find the Right Kennel Size

It is important you purchase the right size kennel for your animal. Each animal must have enough space to stand, turn about normally while standing, sit erect, and to lie in a natural position.

Rule of thumb: No part of your pet should be taller or longer than the kennel when standing outside the kennel.

Minimum interior container dimensions

  • A. From the tip of the nose to the root of the tail
  • B. From the elbow to the ground
  • C. The width of the dog at the widest point
  • D. From the floor to the tip of the ears or the top of the head, whichever is higher.
A + ½B
C x 2

Common kennel sizes

Kennel Name

Kennel Type

External Dimensions (inches)

External Dimensions (centimeters)

Kennel Weight

Small 100* 21 x 16 x 15 53 x 41 x 38 7 lbs (3 kg)
Medium 200 27 x 20 x 19 69 x 51 x 48 13 lbs (6 kg)
Intermediate 300 33 x 22 x 23 84 x 56 x 58 18 lbs (8 kg)
Large 400 36 x 24 x 26 91 x 61 x 66 24 lbs (11 kg)
Extra Large 500** 40 x 27 x 30 102 x 69 x 76 32 lbs (15 kg)
Giant 700** 48 x 32 x 35 122 x 81 x 89 51 lbs (23 kg)

* Domestic flights only
** ExpediteFS only

Kennel compatibility with our aircraft

Aircraft Type

Max Kennel Size

Max Kennel Height

787-900 (789)
787-800 (788)
777-300 (773)
777-200 (772)
All kennels up to max height 63 inches (160 cms)
737-MAX (7M8)
737-800 (737/738)
400 Kennel Series or smaller 28 inches (71 cms)
330-200 (332)
200 Kennel Series or smaller 22 inches (56 cms)
321T (32B) All kennels up to max height 46 inches (117 cms)
ERJ-175 (E75)
ERJ-170 (E70)
ERJ-145 (ER4)
ERJ-140 (ERD)
CRJ-900 (CR9)
CRJ-700 (CR7)
400 Kennel Series or smaller 28 inches (71 cms)

Prohibited flights

Due to heating limitations. we cannot transport warm-blooded animals on any Airbus 319. 320. 321NX, 3215 or 321H aircraft. Acceptable animals that can be transported on the Airbus 319, 320, 321NX, 3215 or 321H include tropical fish, lobsters and other "aquatics."

Aircraft compatibility (PDF) »

Kennel Construction Requirements

See all kennel construction requirements (PDF) »

These kennel types are prohibited

  • Soft sided or cardboard kennels
  • Kennels with only snap closures
  • Kennels made entirely of welded mesh, wire mesh or wicker
  • Knock down, folding and collapsible kennels
  • Kennels with plastic doors
  • Kennels with wheels, unless they are retractable, removable, taped or inoperable
  • Kennels with top opening doors

Your kennel must meet all of these requirements

Escape-proof construction

Kennel must be made from rigid plastic, metal or wood with a metal grated end which can be the door. It also needs to be leakproof and escape-proof.

Let it breathe

Kennel must have adequate ventilation on 3 sides for domestic and 4 sides for international flights. The ventilation openings must be a max of 1" x 1" (dogs) or 3/4" x 3/4" (cats).

Secured with metal bolts or screws

Snap closure kennels will only be accepted when secured with metal nuts, bolts or screws. Black nylon caps are also accepted.

Made of metal

The kennel door must be made of metal. No doors on top of the kennel.

Holes in all four corners of the door frame

After our team performs a visual screening of the pet at drop-off, releasable cable ties will be attached to all four corners of the kennel door frame. We will drill holes if not already present.

Wheels off

All wheels must be inoperable or removed.

Keep it clean

Kennel must be clean with no offensive odors.

A soft seat for the flight

Place absorbent material like blankets, towels, or beds on the bottom. Hay, wood shavings, and straw are not allowed. Note that bedding can't exceed 3" in height.

Clean, empty dishes

Attach two dishes (food and water) to the inside of the kennel, making sure they're accessible without opening the door. Split dishes are accepted.

Food in case of a delay

A clear one-gallon bag of food taped to the top along with instructions.

We'll tag it with a label

We'll place a "Live Animals" and orientation labels on your kennels during drop-off.

Day of travel preparation

What time you need to be at the airport

The arrival times for your pet are dependent on the drop-off location and product, so we've developed a helpful chart to give you an idea of when you need to bring your pet to the airport.

Airport dropoff location

Priority Parcel Service or ExpediteFS

Recommended time of arrival at facility


Arrival airport pickup location

Pets available for pickup

(Airport Ticket Counter)
Priority Parcel Service 2 hours
prior to departure
(Baggage Service Office or Ticket Counter)
30 minutes
after arrival
(Dedicated PPS Facility*)
Priority Parcel Service 3 hours
prior to departure
(Dedicated PPS Facility*)
30 minutes
after arrival
(Cargo Terminal)
Priority Parcel Service or ExpediteFS 3 hours
prior to departure
(Baggage Service Office or Ticket Counter)
1 hour
after arrival
NYC, Miami and Honolulu
Priority Parcel Service or ExpediteFS 3.5 hours
prior to departure
Domestic Up to 2 hours
after arrival
(To International)
ExpediteFS 4 hours
prior to departure
International Up to 4 hours after arrival
(Must clear Customs)
(To Domestic)
ExpediteFS 4 hours
prior to departure
Domestic Up to 4 hours after arrival
(Must clear Customs)


Airport timing guide (PDF) »

No sedation

At the recommendation of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), we will not accept household dogs and cats that have been sedated or tranquilized.

If you plan to sedate or tranquilize an animal other than a household dog or cat, see our sedation policy to learn more.

What you need to bring

On the date of travel, you’ll also need to supplement your pet's kennel with the following materials, labels and security.

  • Two dishes (one for food and one for water) attached to the inside of the kennel. Make sure dishes are accessible from the outside without opening the door. Note: bottle water feeders are not allowed.
  • A bag of food taped to the top (in the event of a delay)
  • Feeding and watering instructions
    • In the event of unforeseen delays, we'll provide your pet with a comfort stop that will provide food to the animal. We comply with federal regulations, which means we offer food for dogs/cats less than 16 weeks of age every 12 hours, and every 24 hours for those over 16 weeks of age.
  • Statement that food and water was offered within four hours prior to the pet's delivery to American
  • Absorbent material on the bottom of the kennel. We believe that blankets, towels and beds work best for traveling pets. (Please note that hay, wood shavings and straw are not allowed.)

Multiple pets

Keep in mind that two dogs or two cats may share the same kennel if each is less than 20 lbs. and less than six months old. All animals must be at least eight weeks old and weaned in order to travel.



Number Permitted

Dogs and cats 8 weeks to 6 months Up to 2 pets per kennel provided each animal weighs less than 9 kg (20 lbs)
Dogs and cats Over 6 months old 1 pet per kennel
All other animals Varies Varies by species. Email