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Best airlines, top tips for smooth air travel with your pets

American Airlines announced a new pet policy in March, allowing customers to bring regular carry-on luggage with their dog or cat.
Dachshund dog sits in blue pet carrier in airport.
Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 01, 2024

Flying with your pet can take a lot of research, money, and effort. The policies of the airline you fly with can play a big role as well.

Last week, American Airlines announced a new pet policy had gone into effect.

“With American Airlines' new policy now allowing pet-owners to not only bring their pet, but also bring a carry-on bag, this really helps to supplement the pain point that a lot of people have stressed in the past,” said Katy Nastro, a travel expert at

Before this new policy went into effect, customers were only allowed to have a small bag when bringing a pet in the cabin. They had to pay extra to bring anything larger.

The pet fee is still $150 each way.

“Some people might opt to fly more with American because of this and a trend could occur because of this policy,” Nastro said.

A big airline is relaxing its pet policy
An American Airlines grounds crew unloads a dog from the cargo area

A big airline is relaxing its pet policy

Now American is letting passengers bring a pet in the cabin and also bring a regular carry-on bag or a personal item — just not both bags.


NerdWallet released a listof the most pet-friendly airlines earlier this year. Topping the list was Alaska Airlines, followed by Frontier Airlines.

Alaska Airlines allows dogs, cats, rabbits, or birds for a $100 pet fee, for example.

American Airlines was sixth on the list. However, this report came out before the airline made its recent pet-policy changes.

“Because airlines have differing pet policies, per airline, it doesn't hurt to contact the airline directly,” Nastro said.

Before you book your next flight with your furry friend, it's important to keep in mind any pet-related fees, any restrictions on the size or number of pets, and what types of animals are allowed in the cabin.

It’s also important to realize that just because you booked a seat on a flight, your pet’s travel isn’t guaranteed. You should reserve your pet’s spot in advance.

“Most major carriers allow a limited number of pets to be in the cabin during a flight. You know they have to be of a certain size, they have to fit underneath the seat in front of you,” Nastro said.

@scrippsnews 🐶 How do you feel about #pets being on your flight? American Airlines recently changed its pet policy to help pet owners. We talked to an expert on some things you should consider before flying with your furry friend. #traveltiktok #dogsoftiktok ♬ original sound - Scripps News