American Airlines Updated Service & Emotional Support Animal Requirements


The airline is updating its requirements for people who travel with Service Animals and/or Emotional Support Animals and/or Psychiatric Service Animals

New requirements effective April 1, 2019

Animals Flying in the Cabin of the Aircraft

All fully-trained Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Psychiatric Service Animals, that meet the following requirements, may fly in the cabin of the aircraft with you at no charge.

Requirements For Emotional Support & Psychiatric Service Animals

  • ONLY ONE emotional support / psychiatric service animal is allowed per person
  • Your animal must be a cat or dog (trained miniature horse may be permitted as a service animal); the animals must be 4 months old or older
  • Your animal must be well-behaved & clean
  • Your Animal must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (lap animals must be smaller than a 2-year old child)
  • If your animal is in a kennel, it must fit under the seat in front of you with the animal in it

Emotional support / Psychiatric Service Animals Are NOT PERMITTED TO:

  • Be seated in an exit row
  • Protrude into or block aisles
  • Occupy a seat
  • Eat from tray tables

If your animal doesn’t fit within the allowed spaces, you have a few options:

  • You can rebook on a different flight that has more open seats
  • You can buy a ticket for your animal
  • You could transport your animal as a checked pet

Behavior of Your Animal(s)

Emotional support / psychiatric service animals must be trained to behave properly in public and they 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

Emotional support / psychiatric service animals must be in your control at all times by leash and / or harness.

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 requirements and applicable fees will apply.


Animal restrictions

Emotional support / Psychiatric service animals

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

Only cats and dogs are accepted as emotional support animals. Advanced notice and approval is required to bring an emotional support / psychiatric service animal with you in the cabin.

Trained Service Animals on Your Flight

Trained service animals have been specifically trained to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities included but not limited to:

  • Visual impairments
  • Deafness
  • Seizures
  • Mobility impairments

Dogs and cats are accepted as service animals; miniature horses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Advanced notice for service animals is recommended, but it isn’t required

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

Advance Notice Required for Emotional Support & Psychiatric Service Animals

To travel with your emotional support / psychiatric service animal in the cabin, you must submit all required forms to the Special Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before your flight. We’ll notify you upon document approval.

If you don’t complete or meet all the requirements, your animal may be able to fly as a pet. All applicable fees apply.


Forms required for travel

Emotional support / psychiatric service animals

You must complete, submit and receive approval of all 3 forms before your animal will be allowed to fly:


  1. Read and complete all 3 forms
  2. Submit all 3 forms together at least 48 hours before your flight
  3. Keep documents with you during your trip

Email Special Assistance 

Fax forms to: 817-967-4715

All service and support animals

If you have a flight over 8 hours in your itinerary, the Animal Sanitation Form is also 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.

Animal Sanitation Form 

Destinations With Restrictions – Check It Out Here

By Sam Amy Nelson

Sam Amy Nelson (she/her) is an advocate for people with disabilities and mental health.