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American Airlines Makes Traveling With Pets Cheaper and Easier

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Carissa Rawson
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Carissa Rawson

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Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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Traveling with pets is already a hassle, let alone the stress that goes into taking them through an airport, past security, and onto a plane. While the brave of heart have done this song and dance for years, it’s always incurred plenty of additional cost.

While American Airlines hasn’t changed the fees they’ll charge for bringing a pet with you, it altered the policy for the luggage you can bring with you while traveling with a pet. As first noted by View From the Wing, those traveling with pets are now able to bring full-size carry-on luggage with them.

Here’s what’s going on.

American Airlines Changes Pet Policy

As it stands, those wanting to travel with their pets have to comply with a variety of policies, including kennel size, pet weight, and, of course, paying actually to bring their pet with them. This is true of all 3 big U.S. airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines.

Historically, bringing a pet with you meant that you weren’t able to bring a full-size carry-on as well. Although the pet’s carrier needed to fit (and stay) under the seat in front of you, the kennel counted as your carry-on bag. You could, however, bring a personal item such as a backpack or purse.

Now, American Airlines has updated its policy to allow those traveling with pets to also bring a carry-on bag with them. Why is this such a big deal?

Because those without status or airline credit cards will have needed to pay for any checked luggage. Given the fact that American has recently hiked the cost of a checked bag to $40 within the U.S. (and $35 if paid online), that stings. Combine this with the $150 fee for traveling with a pet, and you can quickly see how the costs add up — on top of airfare.

American Airlines lineup at airport
Image Credit: Markus Mainka / Adobe Stock

Delta and United still maintain that a pet counts as a carry-on, so travelers of those airlines are out of luck.

Of course, jury is still out on how uncomfortable it’s going to be to bring both a pet carrier and a rolling suitcase with you at the same time, but those are the sacrifices we make for the ones we love.

Hot Tip:

Give checked bag fees a miss with our tips in the ultimate guide to avoid paying for baggage fees.

Final Thoughts

American Airlines has updated its policy to make traveling with pets easier. Rather than needing to check additional luggage, this allows passengers to bring their full-sized carry-on with them onboard.

Carissa Rawson's image

About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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