American Airlines ESA & Pet Policy

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) gives you the right to have your emotional support animal fly with you in the cabin of airplanes. But there are some guidelines, such as the need for a properly executed ESA letter. There are also some limitations, for example: airlines are never required to accept reptiles, snakes, rodents and spiders. 

Most airlines have specific ESA policies that you should review prior to buying a ticket with the expectation that your ESA will be flying with you.

American Airlines Emotional Support Animal Policies

When traveling on American Airlines with an emotional support animal, be prepared to comply with their policies, including:

American Airlines only accepts emotional support dogs, ESA cats, and, in limited circumstances, miniature horses.

  • Only ESAs over the age of 4 months are permitted
  • ESAs are limited to 1 ESA per person per flight.
  • Documentation you must provide at least 48 hours before departure includes: medical/mental health professional form, veterinary health form (with immunization/vaccination details), and confirmation of animal behavior form.
  • If your itinerary includes a flight over 8 hours, you will also need an animal sanitation form
  • ESAs are required to be clean and well-behaved.
  • If the ESA is in a kennel, that kennel must fit underneath the seat in front of the passenger.
  • ESAs are not allowed to occupy a seat
  • ESAs are not allowed to eat from tray tables.
  • Passengers with ESAs cannot be seated in exit rows.
  • ESAs cannot either protrude into or block aisles.

From time to time, the American Airlines ESA policies may be adjusted. Details can be checked on the American Airlines website — where required forms can be downloaded. It is also a good idea to contact American Airlines directly to see if there have been recent policy adjustments that might affect traveling with an ESA.