Does American Airlines Allow Emotional Support Animals

Many people rely on emotional support animals (ESAs) to provide comfort and assistance in managing their emotional and mental health. These animals play a crucial role in the lives of their owners, offering support and companionship in times of distress. For individuals who depend on ESAs, it’s essential to know the policies of airlines regarding traveling with their beloved animal companions. In the case of American Airlines, the rules and guidelines regarding emotional support animals have undergone significant changes in recent years. Let’s delve into the details to understand the current status of emotional support animals on American Airlines flights.

The Evolution of American Airlines’ ESA Policy

Historically, American Airlines, like many other carriers, allowed passengers to travel with emotional support animals without much restriction. However, as the number of passengers traveling with ESAs increased, so did the concerns and challenges associated with accommodating these animals. The airline faced numerous instances of disruptive incidents involving ESAs, prompting them to reevaluate their policies. In response to these issues and in alignment with industry trends, American Airlines made significant changes to their ESA policy.

The Decision To Prohibit Esas

In January 2021, American Airlines announced a notable revision to their policies, prohibiting emotional support animals from accompanying passengers on flights. This decision was a watershed moment in the realm of ESA accommodation within the airline industry. The bold move by American Airlines set a precedent, leading other major carriers to reassess their own ESA policies. The decision to disallow ESAs was met with mixed reactions, with supporters lauding the airline for taking a firm stance on the matter, while others voiced concerns about the potential impact on individuals relying on ESAs for emotional support.

Transition to Service Animal Policy

Following the disallowance of ESAs, American Airlines shifted its focus to refining its policies pertaining to service animals. The airline now recognizes service animals as specially trained animals that assist individuals with disabilities, such as guide dogs for the visually impaired and hearing dogs for the hearing impaired. Passengers traveling with service animals are required to provide specific documentation and comply with the airline’s regulations to ensure a smooth and secure travel experience for all parties involved. The transition to a service animal-focused approach represents American Airlines’ commitment to maintaining a balance between providing necessary support to passengers with disabilities while upholding a safe and comfortable environment for all travelers.

Does American Airlines Allow Emotional Support Animals

Current Guidelines for Traveling with Animals on American Airlines

For those wondering about the current policies for flying with animals on American Airlines, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the guidelines in place. The following table provides a concise overview of the airline’s regulations and requirements for traveling with animals:

Type of Animal Policy
Service Animals Allowed with proper documentation and compliance with guidelines.
Pets Permitted through the American Airlines Cargo program or as carry-on baggage in the cabin, subject to specific conditions and fees.
Emotional Support Animals No longer permitted on American Airlines flights. Passengers with previously approved ESAs are advised to review the updated policies and make arrangements accordingly.

It’s evident that American Airlines has adopted a more stringent approach regarding the transportation of animals, emphasizing the distinction between service animals and ESAs. By clearly delineating the guidelines for different types of animals, the airline seeks to streamline the travel process and enhance the overall experience for passengers and crew members.

Key Considerations For Passengers

Individuals intending to travel with animals, particularly service animals, on American Airlines should take note of several important considerations:

  • Ensuring compliance with documentation requirements for service animals, including advanced notification to the airline and submission of relevant forms.
  • Understanding the specific conditions and fees associated with transporting pets, whether through the cargo program or as carry-on baggage, to avoid any last-minute complications.
  • Recognizing the shift in policy regarding emotional support animals and making alternative arrangements if previously planning to travel with an ESA.

By proactively addressing these considerations, passengers can navigate the process of traveling with animals on American Airlines with greater ease and confidence.

Does American Airlines Allow Emotional Support Animals

Frequently Asked Questions On Does American Airlines Allow Emotional Support Animals

Can I Bring My Emotional Support Animal On American Airlines?

Yes, American Airlines allows emotional support animals onboard their flights. They have guidelines and requirements that must be met beforehand.

What Types Of Animals Are Considered Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals can include dogs, cats, and miniature horses, as long as they are properly trained and meet the airline’s size and weight restrictions.

Are There Any Breed Restrictions For Emotional Support Animals On American Airlines?

American Airlines does not have specific breed restrictions for emotional support animals. However, they do have a policy that requires animals to be well-behaved and non-disruptive during the flight.

Do I Need Documentation For My Emotional Support Animal When Flying With American Airlines?

Yes, you will need proper documentation for your emotional support animal. This typically includes a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating your need for an emotional support animal.


As the landscape of airline regulations continues to evolve, American Airlines’ stance on emotional support animals reflects a broader shift in industry dynamics. While the disallowance of ESAs may present challenges for some individuals, it signals a concerted effort by the airline to prioritize safety, accessibility, and the overall well-being of passengers. By recalibrating its policies and refining the guidelines for traveling with animals, American Airlines aims to strike a balance that accommodates the diverse needs of passengers while upholding the highest standards of service and safety. With a clear understanding of the current guidelines, passengers can make informed decisions and make the necessary preparations when traveling with their animal companions on American Airlines.

Rate this post

Related Articles

How to Ship a Dog by Air

How to Ship a Dog by Air

Shipping a dog by air can be a stressful experience for both the pet and its owner. However, with proper planning and preparation, it can be a safe and efficient way to transport your furry friend. Whether you are moving to a new location or need to send your dog to a...

How Much Does It Cost to Travel With a Dog

How Much Does It Cost to Travel With a Dog

Traveling with a dog can be a wonderful experience, but it's important to be prepared for the costs that come along with it. From transportation to accommodation to daily expenses, there are several factors to consider when budgeting for a trip with your furry friend....

Are Car Rides Good for Dogs

Are Car Rides Good for Dogs

Many dog owners enjoy taking their furry friends on car rides, whether it's for a quick trip to the park or a longer adventure. But have you ever wondered if car rides are actually good for dogs? Benefits of Car Rides for Dogs: Exposure to new environments Stimulation...