UPDATED June 1, 2019, to reflect American Airlines new Emotional Support Animal policy

Did you know you can travel on American Airlines with an Emotional Support Animal without a fee? However, before you grab Fido and show up at the airport, there are some policies you should be aware of. American Airlines will require a legitimate ESA Letter from you for your ESA.

American Airlines Emotional Support Animal Policy and Requirements 

american airlines emotional support animals

(Disclaimer: The information below is for educational purposes and should be confirmed directly with the airline. ESADoctors.com is not associated or affiliated with this airline or any of their subsidiaries.)

Requirements in the Cabin

In order for you to fly with an ESA or a service animal, your furry “helper” must follow some rules. These include;

  • The animal must be able to fit your lap, at your feet or under your seat.
  • The animal must be controlled at all times, clean and well behaved
  • If your service dog or ESA is too large, you may request special access to bulkhead seating
  • The animal cannot block the aisle
  • You will not be permitted to sit in an exit row

Requirements for Traveling With an Emotional Support Animal

  • You can only fly with 1 (one) emotional support or psychiatric service animal
  • The animal must be a cat or dog (trained miniature horse may be permitted as a service animal); 4 months or older
  • The Emotional Support Animal must be clean and well-behaved
  • The ESA 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 the animal is in a kennel, it must fit under the seat in front of you with the animal in it

ESA Travel Letter

According to the Air Carrier Access Act, you must provide documentation written within one year from the travel date from a licensed mental health professional with the following requirements below.

The ESA letter/document itself must state;

  • Your mental or emotional disability as per the guidelines and recognition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • The ESA must be on the flight to help you through the flight itself or at your intended destination
  • Your ESA letter must be on the official letterhead of the mental health professional assisting you
  • Your doctor’s credentials (the type of doctor) or mental health professional’s license and where his/her license was issued and the date issued


How to Get your Official ESA Documentation from ESA Doctors


American Airlines ESA Form

American Airlines requires an ESA form when traveling with an emotional support animal to and from the United States. You can find the latest (Updated June 2019) ESA form below.


You will have to submit these documents to the airline 48 hours before your flight. If you fail to comply, American Airlines reserves the right to ask you to kennel the animal.

Documentation for Long Flights

If your flight time is over 8 hours, you must also submit an Animal Sanitation form that outlines how you will handle your animal if it needs to go to the bathroom.


Destinations Where ESA Restrictions Apply

If you are traveling to Hawaii, Edinburgh Scotland, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Saint Vincent/Grenadines, Guyana or the United Kingdom, be sure to check out the specific guidelines these destination locations require when traveling with a service animal or ESA.

American Airlines and ESA’s

When booking a flight on American Airlines, be sure to let them know you will be traveling with an ESA or service dog so they can properly meet your needs. Failing to comply with their policies could have your ESA kenneled and in the cargo hold.

Download American Airlines Additional Documents 

1. Complete and sign all forms. Forms must be signed by a parent or legal guardian if you’re under 18 years of age.

2. Send completed documents to the Special Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before the scheduled departure of your first flight.

  • Fax: (817) 967-4715
  • Email: sac@aa.com

3. Keep all documents with you during your trip, you may be asked to show them to an airline representative

American Airlines requires these documents when flying with an emotional support animal. This document must be filled out by a licensed mental health professional and veterinarian. When filling out your questionnaire, please select the “optional document service” when completing your ESA questionnaire in the “Start Now” link below.

Qualify for an emotional support animal online.


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