You must have JavaScript enabled to fully experience and utilize

Acceptance Of Armed Passengers, Law Officers, And Prisoners

Acceptance Of Passengers Armed In-flight
International Information
Identification Verification
Location Of Weapon
Armed Law Officer-No Prisoner Or With Prisoner
Law Officer With Prisoner
Procedures For Law Enforcement Officer Escorting Prisoner
Military Detainees
Subpoenaed Witness With Escort


Acceptance Of Passengers Armed In-flight
  • Authorized armed passengers not on official duty must declare their weapon(s) at the ticket counter and fill out proper paperwork upon check-in.
  • All individuals who are qualified to be armed during flight must notify AA at least one hour before flight departure. In an emergency, AA should be notified as soon as possible.
  • The decision regarding acceptance of the passenger traveling armed will be made at the airport.
  • American Airlines will only accept AA's form E-2 for passengers traveling with a firearm.


International Information
Traveling with firearms to international destinations or outside the contiguous United States requires that advance arrangements be made with the appropriate countries or state authorities. Law enforcement personnel should have documents authorizing travel with firearms outside the United States.


Identification Verification
The passenger must conform to one of the following categories. Please note that federal law enforcement officers may be on or off duty.
  1. The passenger is either an official or employee of the U.S. Federal Government. The passenger must carry credentials which include a clear, full-face picture, their signature, and the signature of the authorizing official or the official seal of their respective service. A badge, shield, or other device may not be used as the sole means of identification.
  2. The passenger is either an official or employee of a U.S. state, or a political subdivision of a state, or of a U.S. municipality. In addition to the credentials listed above for federal employees or officials, this passenger must also carry a letter that specifies the circumstances requiring they be armed during flight. This letter will serve as authorization for the passenger to travel while armed. It must be on official letterhead of the jurisdiction employing the armed officer, and must be signed by a supervisory official. The letter should also contain the trip itinerary to indicate the specific period of time the passenger must be armed.
  3. Non-U.S. law enforcement personnel, and dignitaries with armed escorts, must submit a request from their respective government to the U.S. Department of State for permission to travel on AA. Non-U.S. law enforcement personnel and dignitaries with armed escorts must be escorted by a member of the Diplomatic Service, Secret Service or an authorized local law enforcement officer acting on their behalf. The State Department will coordinate all travel with the FAA, AA System Operations Control, and AA headquarters security.
  4. All other passengers or agencies requesting permission to be armed in-flight must first obtain approval and authorization from an FAA Administrator.


Location Of Weapon
Any individual traveling aboard an aircraft while armed must at all times keep their weapon:
  • Concealed and out of view, either on their person or in immediate reach, if the armed law enforcement officer is not in uniform
  • On their person, if the armed law enforcement officer is in uniform
No individual may place a weapon in an overhead storage bin.

Stun belts in lieu of firearms are not permitted due to their potential electronic interference with navigational equipment.


Armed Law Officer-No Prisoner Or With Prisoner
Officers are authorized to travel armed if required for job performance immediately before or after the scheduled flight (if escorting a prisoner(s), must be armed).

In addition to the paperwork required at check-in, all armed passengers must also provide a letter on their law enforcement agency's letterhead, which must state clearly their need to carry a weapon and their full itinerary. Their supervisor or agency chief must sign this letter.


Law Officer With Prisoner
AA policy:
  • Number of prisoners per flight is limited:
    • One maximum risk prisoner and up to two minimum risk prisoners -OR-
    • Up to five minimum risk prisoners with NO maximum risk prisoners.
    • The armed escort will indicate the risk classification of prisoners.
    • The airport will determine the allotment of prisoners per flight.
  • All prisoners - minimum or maximum risk - must have an armed escort (guard or law enforcement officer).
  • Must be handcuffed at all times, even enplaning, deplaning, and anytime on board.
  • Handcuffs must be secured to the prisoner's belt or chain around the waist. The prisoner may also be shackled at the ankles.
  • They are not given any food or drink unless the officer(s) will assist.
  • They are not allowed to use the lavatory in flight.
  • Prisoners are not permitted on any flight segment if the scheduled flying time is more than four hours. This cannot be overridden.
  • Prisoner must be escorted by armed law enforcement officer.
  • The escort must be armed, a member of a law enforcement agency, and must have a letter with all required information.
  • Law enforcement agency must notify AA at least one hour before departure. In emergencies, the advisory will be as soon as possible and will include the escorted prisoner name, trip routing, escort name and agency.
  • Any passenger who is brought to the airport in handcuffs or any type of restraint, who is accompanied by another passenger, officer or otherwise, must be considered a prisoner.
  • Escorted prisoners and their armed guards must occupy the rear most available seats on the aircraft. This allows for coach travel only. Window exit seating is restricted as well.
Additional notes:
  • Prisoners will be restricted from moving about aloft or on the ground for any reason, including the use of lavatories.
  • The law enforcement agency is responsible for ensuring escorted passengers do not possess or have access to any deadly or dangerous weapons, and are adequately restrained, if needed.
  • These procedures cover online travel only. Interline travel requires specific concurrence given in advance by the other airline involved. The law enforcement agency will be advised to brief its escorts of the above conditions. Any additional conditions that AA may require under special or unusual circumstances must be accepted by the law enforcement agency.


Procedures For Law Enforcement Officer Escorting Prisoner(s)
  • Confirm reservation and assign seats in last or rearmost available row. This allows for coach travel only. Window exit seat seating is restricted as well.
  • At least one escort will be seated between the prisoner and the aisle.
  • The prisoner should not be seated between any passenger and the aisle.
  • If American Eagle aircraft boards from the rear, prisoner and officer need to be seated in the front of the aircraft.
  • If seats are not available, advise the airport will have to assign them upon check-in.
  • Enter in remarks field "LAW OFFICER/PRISONER". Queue the PNR to Special Assistance Coordinator at DFW105/11 or contact American Airlines Reservations for assistance.


Military Detainees
  • Effective July 1, 2002, AA will accept escorted military detainees.
  • These individuals are considered non-violent and will not be handcuffed. There will be an unarmed military officer escorting the passenger.
  • These customers must be booked by an authorized military travel agency. There are no restrictions to flight length or routing. No documentation is necessary.
  • Since these passengers are not shackled or handcuffed they should travel unnoticed.
  • The majority of the military personnel are being escorted because they were absent without leave (AWOL). These travelers do not represent a security threat to AA.
  • The Scheduled Airline Traffic Office (SATO) agency should not document the word prisoner in the PNR, as that will require the passenger to follow the prisoner guidelines and cause customer service issues at the airport.
  • These customers should be referred to as "Escorted Military Detainees". There is no need for reservations to document the PNR.
  • Should you have further questions about the acceptance of these customers, contact American Airlines Reservations for assistance.


Subpoenaed Witness With Escort
Escort for Protection of Witness:

Subpoenaed witnesses accompanied by armed escorts for protection are not subject to the policies applicable to escorted prisoners. The protected witness (verified as such by the armed escort with a copy of the subpoena) is not required to be handcuffed. However, the armed escort must comply with all armed passenger requirements and policies.

A subpoenaed witness accompanied by an unarmed escort may be processed as a regular passenger.

Escort for Unwilling Witness:

Subpoenaed witnesses brought to the airport in handcuffs must be processed as prisoners and must have an armed escort and comply with all prisoner acceptance policies and procedures.


Information contained on this website is subject to change at any time without notice. American Airlines shall not be liable for any consequences resulting from your reliance on the information.