Travel Tips: Traveling With Children Or Pets

Please also see these other travel tips pages:

Important Information

Strollers that are large, non-collapsible or over 20 lbs. must be checked at the ticket counter. Learn more about traveling with infants or children.

Customers with pets traveling as checked baggage are required to present a valid health certificate. Learn more about traveling with pets.

Tips For Children Traveling
American Airlines wants to ensure you and your children have as enjoyable a travel experience as possible. The following tips will help with many common questions you may have if your child will be traveling.

Important Note: Acceptance of strollers as checked baggage will change. Please visit our Traveling with Children page for more information.

General Travel Tips
  • You may want to bring snacks or other food for children.
  • A favorite blanket or stuffed animal may help comfort those who are fearful or nervous.
  • Consider bringing activity books, portable DVD players or video games (with headphones) to help keep children occupied for the length of the flight.
Age-Related Information
  • If your child is under 2 years of age and traveling within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, he/she may be held in an adult's lap at no charge. For the safety of your child, American recommends purchasing a seat and using an approved child safety seat. Please contact Reservations for further information.
  • If your child is 2 years of age or older, he/she is required to have a ticket for travel.
  • Passengers under the age of 18, who are traveling outside the United States, are subject to the same travel document requirements as adults. Visit the U.S. State Department's website for more information.
Traveling With Children

Aviation Child Safety Device Children Traveling Alone
  • If your child will be traveling alone please contact Reservations so that we may make the necessary arrangements.
  • Children under 5 years of age may not travel alone under any circumstances.
  • Children 5 through 14 years of age must travel with another passenger at least 16 years of age or they will be considered Unaccompanied Minors.
  • More detailed information including charges for this service can be found on our Traveling With Children and Infants page.
Car Seats And Baggage
  • Only approved child restraint devices may be used during flight, including the Aviation Child Safety Device (ACSD).
  • In addition to the standard baggage allowance, adults traveling with an infant may bring an approved safety seat, an umbrella-type stroller and a diaper bag.
For more information about children traveling, visit

Tips For Pets Traveling
American Airlines wants to ensure that your pet's travel experience is as smooth and safe as possible. The following tips will help with many common questions when your pets are traveling.

Important Note: A health certificate is required for pets traveling as checked baggage. Please visit our Traveling with Pets page for more information.

  • Cats and dogs are the only pets allowed for travel.
  • Pets traveling in the cabin require a reservation for travel – please contact Reservations in advance.
  • If you are traveling with pets, please check in at the ticket counter instead of using alternate check-in methods.
Pets Traveling In The Cabin
  • Pets must stay in their closed and/or zipped kennels under the seat in front of you at all times. Pets may not be removed from their kennel/container at any time while onboard the aircraft.
  • Pets are allowed for travel in the cabin based on your itinerary. Please see for specific information.
  • The maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 19" long x 13" wide x 9" high. This item counts as a passenger's carry-on allowance.

Visit our Special Assistance section to view guidelines for Service Animals.

Traveling With Pets

Pets Traveling As Checked Baggage
  • Checked pets do not need a reservation, however, they are accepted on a first-come basis.
  • Kennels for checked pets must have a water container with outside access for filling, in case a delay occurs.
  • A small bag of food for a 24-hour period must be attached to the top of the container.
  • Checked pets can not be accepted when the ground temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary.
    Note: There are special requirements for snub-nosed dogs and cats. Visit our Pets page for the most up-to-date information.
American Airlines Offers Tips For Traveling With Children And Pets Age And Health Requirements
  • Dogs and cats must be at least eight (8) weeks old for travel.
  • Federal Regulations require written certification from the customer that dogs/cats have been offered food and water within 4 hours (with the specific time noted) before delivery to the carrier.
  • For pets traveling in the cabin, American Airlines does not require a health certificate. Note, all states require proof of current rabies vaccination for dogs over 12 weeks old, and some states require this proof for cats.
  • For pets traveling as checked baggage, please visit our Pets page to learn important information about health certificate requirements.
  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in most cases cats and dogs should not be given sedatives or tranquilizers prior to flying.

Destination Specific Restrictions
Some itineraries have specific restrictions regarding pets traveling. Please see Destination Specific Restrictions in our Traveling With Pets page if your travel includes the following:

  • Central/South American Flights
  • The European Union
  • Hawaii
  • Japan
  • Transatlantic Flights
  • Transpacific Flights
  • United Kingdom

  • Connections to Other Carriers
    • If your pet must travel between American Airlines and other carriers (including codeshare partners), please plan to claim your pet from American Airlines and recheck with the other carrier.
    Pets Traveling Alone
    American Airlines Cargo and Priority Parcel Service ship pets to most destinations. You can find information about pets traveling without a ticketed passenger at, or by calling 800-CARGOAA (800-227-4622).

    For more information about pets traveling, visit

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    AA Cargo