How to Fly on American Airlines With an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animal How to Fly on American Airlines With an Emotional Support Animal

American Airlines Emotional Support Animal Policies

In 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that emotional support animals would no longer be protected as service animals on flights, meaning American Airlines does not have to allow emotional support animals in the cabin. However, since the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) prohibits discrimination based on disability, American Airlines may allow you to bring your emotional support animal into the cabin, either with special privileges or as a carry-on pet.

Since the American Airlines emotional support animal policy and ban is frustrating, DoNotPay is here to help. DoNotPay can help you process the documents you need to qualify your pet as an ESA. Alongside American Airlines ESA, we'll also help you with all your ESA-related concerns, including Southwest ESA, ESA letter example, United Airlines ESA, Fair Housing Act ESA, ESA letter for housing, ESA letter, ESA airlines, and much more.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

An ESA is a companion animal that helps ease depression, anxiety, loneliness, and phobias. Unlike service dogs, emotional dogs are only trained for a specific owner, not a specific task or duty. To be considered an emotional support animal, a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) must approve that the animal helps you alleviate some symptoms of your disability. The table below outlines who certifies a pet as an ESA and what conditions they can help relieve:

Any of the following licensed healthcare specialists can write up an ESA letter:
  • Doctor's assistant
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist
  • PsychiatristClinical social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Registered nurse (RN)
  • Certified counselor
Some of the common mental conditions that qualify individuals to receive an ESA letter:
  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit disorderDepression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic stress

Types of ESAs That Are Allowed On American Airlines

The American Airlines Pet and emotional support animals' policy states that the airlines only allow emotional support dogs and cats in the cabin. For an emotional support dog or cat, you'll need a valid ESA letter to prove your ESA's legitimacy. Flying animals like parrots and pigeons aren't allowed on flights.

Breeds That Aren't Allowed

While American Airlines allows dogs and cats to fly, there are still specific restrictions on the breed. Snub-nosed or short-nosed cats and dog breeds aren't allowed. The restricted breeds include:

  • Cats: Burmese, Persian, Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair)
  • Dogs: Affenpinscher, Bulldog (all breeds), Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, English Toy Spaniel, Dogue De Bordeaux, Japanese Chin)

In case the animal you own isn't mentioned in the above list, it's recommended that you call American Airlines for further details.

American Airlines Requirements

When traveling in the cabin or the cargo department, AA has ESA requirements and restrictions.

Note: American Airlines has stopped checking pets as of now.


  • The animal must be harnessed, tethered, or leashed at all times.
  • Animals must be well-behaved and clean.
  • Animals must be able to sit in your lap, under your seat, or at your feet (lap animals should be smaller than a 2-year-old child).
  • The final approval will only happen once you arrive at the airport and it's determined that the animal can safely fit at your feet.
  • Your animal's kennel should fit under the seat in your front with the animal in it.
  • You can only travel with one ESA.


Your ESA should not:

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

Locations Where Your ESA Is Allowed

ESAs can't fly to all countries on the globe. According to AA, they are not allowed in transatlantic flights. There can also be issues with the local country's quarantine policies and customs. Here's a list of destinations you can go to with an ESA:

  1. Auckland, New Zealand
  2. London (Heathrow Airport), England
  3. All other English destinations
  4. Edinburgh, Scotland
  5. Japan

Some of the above places will deny your ESA entry, while others will only allow you if you ask for approval days or even weeks before your arrival.

Here's How DoNotPay Can Help

Since American Airlines now makes it much harder for your emotional support animal to fly on their planes with special privileges, DoNotPay is here to help solve this problem for you.

Through our new Service and Emotional Support Animals product, DoNotPay can help you with all of your ESA-related concerns, including contacting your landlord regarding your ESA, asking airlines about their accommodation options, and finding the most affordable online ESA-letter service.

  1. Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.


  2. Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.


  3. Answer a series of questions relating to your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.


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