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Major airline relaxes pet policy to allow owners to bring companion and wheeled carry-on bag

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FORT WORTH, TX –

American Airlines is relaxing part of its pet policy to allow owners to bring their companion and a full-size carry-on bag into the cabin.

Until this week, people who carried a pet in the cabin — which meant paying a $150 fee — could only have one other small item that could fit under the seat.

Anything larger, like a wheeled carry-on bag, had to be checked in – for a $35 fee. Or they could put the animal in the hold.

Now, American allows passengers to bring a pet into the cabin as well as a regular carry-on bag or a personal item, but not both.

The old policy seemed unfair to some pet owners because they were already paying fees for their pets.

Gary Leff, a travel blogger who first wrote about this change, remembers traveling years ago with a Yorkshire terrier.

“It was always frustrating that the dog was considered carry-on baggage even though I paid additional (pet) fees that were sometimes higher than the ticket for me,” he said Friday.

Leff said he believes the U.S. change will reduce the temptation for travelers to falsely claim their pet is a service animal that flies for free.

A US spokeswoman confirmed the rule change took effect on Thursday.

“We made this change to provide a more convenient and comfortable experience for customers whose pets are traveling in America,” she said.

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