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AA checked and cabin animal / pet information & policy (master thread)

AA checked and cabin animal / pet information & policy (master thread)

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Old Oct 19, 20, 1:32 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: JDiver
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American Airlines Checked and Cabin Animal / Pet Policies and Requirements

NOTE: This is the new thread for checked and carry-on animals / pets as they are permitted by American Airlines. It is strictly for bona fide questions, replies and relevant discussion of pets and animals in-cabin and checked as animal cargo.

Discussions relating to reactions to in-cabin animals, service or support animals or their legitimacy, purpose, false labeling, etc. are considered dilatory to this topic and will be summarily deleted. There are other, more appropriate fora for those discussions.

Thank you for your understanding.

/American Airlines | AAdvantage Moderator team
Link to aa.com Traveling with pets page

For discussion regarding AA policies regarding assistance, psychiatric or emotional support animals, please see AA Policy Regarding Service, Psychiatric and Emotional Support Animals here on FT.

Link to U S Department of Transportation Service Animal Guidance (and downloadable PDF)

In 1990, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) promulgated the official regulations implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Link to downloadable PDF covering service animals.

For general information about travel with pets, please see the Link to FlyerTalk "Travel with Pets" forum .


Link to thread on A321T First class "Cuddle Class" pet cabin / kennel.

Which destinations allow travel with pets?

You can travel with a pet on most flights not longer than 12 hours or flights to/from:*
  • Within the 48 contiguous United States
  • The U.S. and Canada
  • Alaska
  • Central America**
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Croix
  • St. Thomas
*12 hours includes the time it takes to clear customs at the arrival city.

(Note: There are additional special restrictions that may apply when traveling with pets - please refer to the aa.com page linked to above. Some destinations absolutely prohibit the carriage of pets on AA, others have significant restrictions. Failure to observe these could result in up to confiscation and destruction of your pet in some countries. - JD)
Carry on pets $125.00 per pet

When traveling on an American Airlines flight, you can bring one pet kennel as your carry-on bag if:
  • You pay the carry-on pet charge
  • Your pet is at least 8 weeks old
  • Your pet stays in their kennel and under the seat in front of you for the entire flight
If all your travel is on American Airlines we can only accept up to 7 kennels each flight (not including service animals). When traveling on an American Eagle flight, we can accept up to 5 kennels per flight (with a maximum of 1 in first class). You’ll need to contact Reservations to make arrangements in advance.

Guidelines for carry-on pets

When carrying on your pet, you’ll need to make sure that they can stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel. Non-collapsible kennels can be a maximum of 19in x 13in x 9in (see next section).

Soft-sided collapsible kennels such as Sherpa bags can be larger if they're made of water-repellant, padded or the have nylon have mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides.
*American Airlines assumes no liability for the health or well-being of carry-on pets.
Underseat stowage issues

A number of aircraft have limitations not revealed on aa.com. For example,
  • Some newer Business configurations may have seats that are not FAA STC'd to allow under seat stowage throughout the flight
  • Some aisle or window seats have much narrower under seat stowage
  • Some seats may be obstructed by power or/and A/V distribution boxes
  • The MiQ seats used in F/J on many Oasis refitted A20321 &. 738, as well as on A321neo and 737 MAX 8 aircraft, have very limited under seat stowage
  • Some smaller regional carriers may have restricted under seat stowage areas
* see http://www.dogjaunt.com/posts/catego...-measurements/ for under seat stowage measurements and other information

Checked pets

Special notice:

Checked pets cannot travel on A321S, A321H, A320, A319 aircraft and all flights operated by... regional partner Air Wisconsin.

Seasonal bans on cargo-checked pets may exist, e.g. Phoenix and Palm Springs in summer months.

Several aircraft bar cabin pets - altogether or more likely in Business of First. Be sure to read the page on aa.com linked to near the top of this Wikipost thoroughly.
You can travel with up to 2 checked pets that are at least 8 weeks old. Please note that as capacity is limited, we accept checked pets on a first-come basis. When checking a pet, you’ll need to:
  • Contact Reservations at least 48 hours prior to travel
  • Check in at the ticket counter
  • Allow extra check-in time (can't check pets more than 4 hours before your flight)
  • Complete a checklist with an agent
  • Provide a health certificate
To ensure the health and safety of your pet, the health certificate you provide must be issued by a vet within:
  • 10 days of your travel
  • 60 days of your return (travel on the same ticket)
  • 10 days of your return (travel on a separate ticket)
Link to June 2016 post indicating "AA" personnel at PHL (and possibly elsewhere then) are unfamiliar with these AA policies and can torpedo your best laid trip plans if you're checking or through-checking an animal.

Link to thread about A321T Business seat issues with carry-on animals.

Updated 22 Jun 2016 - JDiver
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Old Jun 1, 07, 3:24 pm
  #1  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, TAP, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, and The Suggestion Box
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AA checked and cabin animal / pet information & policy (master thread)

This is the new thread for checked and carry-on animals / pets as they are permitted by American Airlines. It is strictly for bona fide questions, replies and relevant discussion of pets and animals in-cabin and checked as animal cargo.

Previous threads have unfortunately gone astray to the topic; they have been left in the closed pre-consolidation fora for that reason.

Discussions relating to reactions to in-cabin animals, service or support animals or their legitimacy, purpose, false labeling, etc. are considered dilatory to this topic and will be summarily deleted. There are other, more appropriate fora for those discussions.

Thank you for your understanding.

/American Airlines | AAdvantage Moderator team

NOTE: in addition to the aircraft not allowing pet under seat stowage in First / Business shown below, the Airbus A321neo / 32Q, Boeing 737 MAX 8 / 3M8, and the 737 and A321 Project Oasis retrofits all use the Rockwell Collins MiQ F/J seats with very limited under seat stowage.
Attached Images  

Last edited by JDiver; Apr 8, 19 at 10:48 pm Reason: Update
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Old Aug 3, 15, 6:38 am
  #2  
 
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Able to send pets by plane? [animal as air cargo on AA - US]

I'm looking at needing to send 2 50-lb. dogs on US Airways, either from hub to a focus city or from a small city via a hub to a focus city. It would be in mid-fall, on what's now a US Airways route and before the "end" of US Airways in October.

Can the 2 pets be shipped by themselves?

Or do I need to travel with them and just pay a pet fee?

I assume that the pets wouldn't be allowed in the cabin, right?

Or would US/AA reject them no matter what so this would be a moot point?

Thank you!

Last edited by ibrandsguest; Aug 3, 15 at 7:07 am
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Old Aug 3, 15, 7:47 am
  #3  
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US Airways had a policy of not accepting animals as cargo or as hold baggage.

American Airlines' animal shipping policies can be read here: https://www.aacargo.com/learn/animals.html

As US doesn't carry animals as cargo, and AA does, we will have this in the "Combined" forum for member convenience. We will also retitle for searchability.

For general discussion on this topic, please use the Travel with Pets Forum.

/Moderator

Last edited by JDiver; Aug 3, 15 at 10:05 am Reason: Add
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Old Aug 3, 15, 8:43 am
  #4  
 
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I cannot speak directly to US but I shipped my last dog on AA and they were great about it.

While I am no UNITED cheerleader, I will say that their PetSafe Program is superior to AA's offerings. UNITED will walk and feed your furry family members and that seemed to please my pooch as he was happy as a claim when I went to claim him at the destination.

My previous dog flew outbound on AA and while they were careful with him and along the way the Pilot kept me updated and checked on him, etc. UNITED was much more interactive with him and he was apparently happy to have some attention along the way.
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Old Aug 3, 15, 9:32 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
As US doesn't carry animals as cargo, and AA does, we will have this in the "Combined" forum for member convenience. We will also retitle for searchability.
AA and US have combined their cargo operations, and pet policy applies equally to each:
https://www.aacargo.com/downloads/no...hipanimals.pdf

Cheers!
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Old Aug 3, 15, 8:10 pm
  #6  
 
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Thanks, everyone; this was very helpful!
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Old Oct 29, 15, 4:27 pm
  #7  
 
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Post Oct17, the combined airline has both bad and good news for travelers wishing to take pets along, mainly concerning checked pets.

The good:

- For once, fees weren't raised and remain at $200 per kennel, one way.
- Legacy US metal flights now generally accept checked pets. That opens the pmUS destinations in Europe (MUC, FRA, BRU, AMS, ATH...) to people with checked pets.
- two more hubs (PHX, CLT) situated in areas south of the snow belt, which mitigates the risk of winter travel for checked pets being curtailed by AAs temperature policies.

The bad:
- AA instituted a blanket ban for checked pets on ALL narrowbody Airbus aircraft (A320 family) except the three-class A321T flights (JFK-LAX/SFO). While it was previously possible to check a pet on flights operated by pmAA two-class A321 aircraft, this is now no longer possible.
There's a technical reason behind this: The pmUS aircraft are not equipped with climate-controlled animal compartments. pmUS managment didn't order that option when building their fleet. Same for the new pmAA A319s.
As these are replacing the MD80s and 757s, that means less choices for travelers with a pet. Passengers on some Hawaii routes (LAX-HNL) are SOL and have to backtrack through PHX/DFW.


The worst:
Reservations agents (even EXP desk ones!) unfortunately are unfamiliar with these aircraft-type exclusions. The average traveler without intimate knowledge about the various aircraft types relies on information given to them via e-mail or over the phone and will arrive at the airport up sh*t creek with no paddle.
I was booked on MIA-CLT-FRA and was assured by AA via phone and email that this was indeed possible with a checked pet.
Well turned out it isn't. I had to reroute via PHL or DFW, as there's only A320 family aircraft serving the MIA-CLT route.
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Old Nov 29, 15, 3:01 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by bhomburg View Post
The worst:
Reservations agents (even EXP desk ones!) unfortunately are unfamiliar with these aircraft-type exclusions. The average traveler without intimate knowledge about the various aircraft types relies on information given to them via e-mail or over the phone and will arrive at the airport up sh*t creek with no paddle.
I was booked on MIA-CLT-FRA and was assured by AA via phone and email that this was indeed possible with a checked pet.
Well turned out it isn't. I had to reroute via PHL or DFW, as there's only A320 family aircraft serving the MIA-CLT route.
adding to this, after a particularly frustrating experience and major customer service failure in MIA earlier this week:
Gate Agents and Check-In staff including supervisors and station heads also have incorrect information about checked pet rules and will deny boarding to pets.
Was booked (GRU-)MIA-PHL-MUC, flight 710/716. Both operated by pmUS A333/A332 aircraft, and verified with AA customer service that checked pets would be OK on these flights.
Turned out they weren't. Staff at MIA denied transportation to the pet, citing they had a blanket ban on checked pets on ALL airbus planes. Nothing I could do to sway their opinion.

In the end, I left the animal with local friends at the Check-In counter and tried to resolve this by calling the EXP desk. After 98 minutes on the phone with an EXP desk agent and someone at AA cargo while waiting for the severely delayed MIA-PHL flight, it was determined that I was right and they should take the animal. By that time, it was too late for the paperwork to be completed, though.
That mistake cost AA dearly, as they rebooked me on the direct LH flight to MUC (even preserved my SWU upgrade!) so apart from the mental anguish and the exhaustion from having to run from the Premium lounge at the E-gates to the Check-In counters and back through security three times with a dog in tow, everything worked out.
BTW - staff in MUC would have accepted the pet, but have sent customers to the cargo terminal for processing. The told me they were even instructed to accept cabin pets during training, and were very surprised when a customer with a cabin pet was rejected by the crew.

So here is a BIG WARNING to anyone trying to fly with checked pets on ex-US routes with ex-US aircraft. Have AA check this out beforehand and - important - annotate your PNR with "checked pet OK" to remove local agents' freedom of interpretation of the rules. And get to the airport SUPER early just in case.
I`m pretty sure that if I would not have had the high(er)-level access to agents at AA that EXP status confers, this would have gone down much worse.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 12:31 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
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how does one carry a cat on AA CRJ200 & A319 flights? can buy a seat for the cat?

how does one carry a cat on AA CRJ200 and A319 flights?
(connecting in Charlotte, NC)

My next-next-next-door neighbor is planning to bring her cat
when she flies to see her great-granddaughter next month.
In addition to her ticket, she'll obviously pay an animal fee to
AA. She has both a rigid cat-sized cage and a soft one.(see
pics at bottom) I assume both are acceptable to AA?

Can she buy an extra seat for the cat? If so, does she still
need to pay the animal fee?
Is it possible for me to buy that
seat for her using my unwanted AA miles?

Thanks for any advice!

+
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Old Jan 27, 16, 12:33 pm
  #10  
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Google search is productive. 'American Airlines, pets' brings this thread on top:

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInform...tance/pets.jsp
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Old Jan 27, 16, 12:43 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by weltfrieden View Post
how does one carry a cat on AA CRJ200 and A319 flights?
(connecting in Charlotte, NC)

My next-next-next-door neighbor is planning to bring her cat
when she flies to see her great-granddaughter next month.
In addition to her ticket, she'll obviously pay an animal fee to
AA. She has both a rigid cat-sized cage and a soft one.(see
pics at bottom) I assume both are acceptable to AA?

Can she buy an extra seat for the cat? If so, does she still
need to pay the animal fee?
Is it possible for me to buy that
seat for her using my unwanted AA miles?

Thanks for any advice!
We have a consolidated thread for cabin and checked animals; we have merged your query here. Please take the time to read the wikipost at the top of the page.

/Moderator


As you see, your neighbor will have to use a soft-sided carrier that must fit under the seat in front of her (on many aircraft in coach, this means a middle seat, as the aisle seat has a half-sized underseat space and a window seat can be variably sized). Some underseat space may be taken up by audio-video signal distribution boxes.

If the animal and carrier do not fit under the seat, a hard-sided, approved kennel box such as the lower one in your post, must be used and the animal shipped as hold baggage.

An animal may not use a seat, so it's not useful to purchase an Extra Seat for an animal.

The only exceptions I'm aware of is the A321T transcontinental three class aircraft, which has two kennels adjacent to the bulkhead in first class. Link.

Last edited by JDiver; Jan 27, 16 at 12:51 pm
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Old Jan 27, 16, 12:52 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post

An animal may not use a seat, so it's not useful to purchase an Extra Seat for an animal.

I meant buying an extra seat next to her, so she can use the underseat
space in front of that empty seat. (without have to stuff the cat in front
of her own seat) The added benefit is that she'll have an empty seat
next to her for the extra space.

Since AA won't allow me to use my AA miles to pay for her animal fee and
I have no use for those miles, doesn't it make sense for me to buy an
extra seat with those miles? That way she doesn't have to pay the $250
animal fee(roundtrip). Or does AA still charge the $250 fee even for
the extra seat?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 27, 16, 1:04 pm
  #13  
Moderator: American AAdvantage, TAP, Mexico, Technical Support and Feedback, and The Suggestion Box
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Originally Posted by weltfrieden View Post
I meant buying an extra seat next to her, so she can use the underseat
space in front of that empty seat. (without have to stuff the cat in front
of her own seat) The added benefit is that she'll have an empty seat
next to her for the extra space.

Since AA won't allow me to use my AA miles to pay for her animal fee and
I have no use for those miles, doesn't it make sense for me to buy an
extra seat with those miles? That way she doesn't have to pay the $250
animal fee(roundtrip). Or does AA still charge the $250 fee even for
the extra seat?

Thanks!
I'm sure an Extra Seat can be purchased; I'm unsure how this works with miles, nor if the cabin pet fee applies. These would be good questions to ask of AA employees staffing the Reservations numbers (and note you may encounter someone without all the requisite knowledge; you may have to hang up and call again)..

Note the new annotation on the page linked to above, which applies to those animals to be checked, not carried on.

Special notice

Checked pets cannot travel on A321S, A321H, A320, A319 aircraft and all flights operated by our regional partner Air Wisconsin.

Last edited by JDiver; Jan 27, 16 at 1:14 pm
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Old Jan 27, 16, 4:49 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
I'm sure an Extra Seat can be purchased; I'm unsure how this works with miles, nor if the cabin pet fee applies. These would be good questions to ask of AA employees staffing the Reservations numbers (and note you may encounter someone without all the requisite knowledge; you may have to hang up and call again)..

Note the new annotation on the page linked to above, which applies to those animals to be checked, not carried on.
That's precisely why I want to get some opinions here.

I spoke with 4 different AA agents on the phone. Each gave me a different answer. I won't be surprised if the AA check-in agent, gate
agent and flight attendants all have different answers as well.

Here's what I got from them... I wrote down precisely what they said on the phone. Please note what Agent 3 said at the end.

Agent 1: "sure you can buy her an extra seat with your miles, but a cat is a cat is a cat, so there will still be a pet fee, even if the cat has his own seat"

Agent 2: "you can't buy an extra seat with YOUR miles unless YOU are booked on the flight as well"

Agent 3: "we won't charge you a pet fee, if you get the cat his own seat, but he'll have be put under the seat in front, most people don't like cats, so we have to have this policy" (!!!!!!?????)

Agent 4: "we don't allow cats to occupy a separate seat, on the seat or under the seat. the cat cage must be place in front of the seat in front of the owner"


Since I drive past the airport entrance every morning, I may just stop by and ask ask actual AA check-in agents to see what they say.
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Old Jan 27, 16, 4:59 pm
  #15  
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Four agents, four stories. At least three made crAAp up and didn't bother looking up policy.

With the Extra Seat I doubt the FA would enforce which seat the cat resides in front of.

A new low may have been reached!
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