Service and emotional support animals

Enhanced requirements: Traveling with emotional support animals

For tickets issued on or after July 1, 2018, emotional / psychiatric support animals must meet a set of enhanced requirements, detailed here.

Flying in the cabin

Emotional / psychiatric support and fully-trained service animals can fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet the requirements.

Animals must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (animals to be seated on lap must be smaller than a 2-year old child). For safety reasons, you won’t be able to sit in an exit row when traveling with your service or emotional / psychiatric support animal.

Emotional support and service animals cannot:

  • Protrude into or block aisles
  • Occupy a seat
  • Eat from tray tables

Animal behavior

Emotional support and service animals must be trained to behave properly in public; they must be tethered by leash and / or harness and under your control at all times. Animals won’t be permitted in the cabin if they display any form of disruptive behavior that can’t be successfully corrected or controlled, including but not limited to:

  • Growling
  • Biting or attempting to bite
  • Jumping on or lunging at people

If this behavior is observed at any point during your journey and isn't corrected or controlled, the animal will be considered a pet and all pet requirements and applicable fees will apply.

Pets

Animal restrictions

Some animals can’t be permitted as service or emotional support animals due to safety and/or public health risk. If you have questions, contact our special assistance help desk.

Contact special assistance

  • Amphibians
  • Ferrets
  • Goats
  • Hedgehogs
  • Insects
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Sugar gliders
  • Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds, & birds of prey)
  • Animals with tusks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses properly trained as service animals)
  • Any animal that is dirty / has an odor

Trained service animals

Trained service animals have been specifically trained to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities. Examples include animals that assist with:

  • Visual impairments
  • Deafness
  • Seizures
  • Mobility impairments

As the requirements for transporting each type of animal differ, our employees are trained to ask certain questions to determine the classification applicable to your animal.

Emotional support and psychiatric service animals

Emotional support animals provide emotional, psychiatric or cognitive support for individuals with disabilities. Specific disability training isn’t required for animals to meet this classification.

Advance notice required

To travel with an emotional support and psychiatric service animal in the cabin, you must contact the Special Assistance Desk with all required documentation at least 48 hours before your flight.

Documentation validation will include American Airlines contacting your mental health professional.

Submit an online assistance request

Forms required for travel

Service animals

On flights over 8 hours, documentation is required stating your animal won’t need to relieve itself or can do so in a way that doesn’t create a health or sanitation issue.

Download and complete the Animal Sanitation Form

Emotional support and psychiatric service animals

The emotional support and psychiatric service animal document packet contains instructions and 3 forms that are necessary for approval to fly if your ticket was issued on or after July 1, 2018:

  1. Mental Health Professional Form
  2. Behavior Guidelines
  3. Animal Sanitation During 8+ Hours Form (only required if your flight is scheduled to be over 8 hours)

Download the emotional and psychiatric service animal document packet

If your ticket is issued before July 1, 2018, you're only required to complete and submit the Mental Health Professional Form.

Mental Health Professional Form

This form is to be completed by your Licensed Mental Health Professional. In lieu of this form, your Mental Health Professional may provide a document on letterhead within 1 year of the initially scheduled flight.

Letter must:

  • State you have a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and are currently a patient
  • Show the need for emotional support or psychiatric service animal for air travel and /or activity at your destination
  • Provide proof of their licensing as a mental health professional or medical doctor (including date, type and state of license)

Documentation during your trip

After submitting, we recommend keeping the completed documents as well as veterinary health records in your possession throughout your journey. If at any point, we’re unable to validate your documentation or it wasn’t received at least 48 hours before your flight, the animal may need to travel as a pet in a kennel and all pet requirements and applicable fees will apply.

Department of Transportation service animals policy Opens another site in a new window that may not meet accessibility guidelines

Destinations with restrictions

Hawaii This content can be expanded
London, England (LHR) This content can be expanded
Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI) This content can be expanded
All other destinations within the United Kingdom This content can be expanded
Japan This content can be expanded
Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) This content can be expanded

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