American Airlines Baggage Fees & Tips To Cover The Expenses

American Airlines baggage fees

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American Airlines baggage fees are pretty consistent with the average when it comes to larger US-based carriers.

If you’re flying Economy, you’ll pay for all checked baggage on Domestic flights and routes to/from Canada & Mexico (exceptions for status & some credit card holders). For most international routes, your first checked bag (or two) is included.

Where you’ll want to be careful is in the excess department of American Airlines’ baggage policy – if your luggage is both overweight and oversize, American will charge you fees for both.

Note: As of September 21st, 2018, there was a $5 increase for the 1st and 2nd North American/Caribbean and select other checked bags. See the table below.

AA Carry-On Allowance:

1 personal item: FREE
1 standard carry-on: FREE

Size Restrictions

  • Personal: 18″ x 14″ x 8″
  • Standard: 22″ x 14″ x9″

Lap Infant Carry-On Policy

  • Diaper bags (1 per child) at no additional cost.

Stroller Check Policy

  • Each customer is allowed 1 stroller and / or 1 car seat to be checked free of charge (only one can be checked at the gate).
  • Strollers over 20 lbs / 9kgs must be checked at ticket counter

AA Checked Baggage Allowance:

All checked bags must adhere to a max weight of 23kg for Economy & Premium Economy; 32kg for Business & First Class fares; must adhere to max linear dimensions of 62” (158cm).

Main Cabin: for purchase as per table below

Route1st Bag2nd Bag3rd Bag4th+ Bags
U.S. Domestic
(up to 10 bags)
$30$40$150$200
Mexico
(up to 5 bags)
$30$40
Caribbean
(up to 5 bags)
$30$40/$55**
Central America
– except Panama
(up to 5 bags)
$30*$40/$55**
Panama$0$40
South America
– except Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, & Venezuela
(up to 5 bags)
$0$0
Colombia$30*$55
Ecuador$0$40
Venezuela$0$55
Brazil
(up to 5 bags)
$0$0$150^$150^
Transatlantic
(up to 10 bags)
$0/$60^^$100$200$200
Transpacific
(up to 10 bags)
includedincluded

NEW: As of September 21st, first bag fees changed from $25 to $30 and second bag fees from $35 to $40 for tickets purchased on or after this date. Tickets purchased prior will still cost $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second, exceptions not included.

Baggage fee based on travel date and destination. Seasonal pricing applies to trips booked on / after January 9, 2018 for travel on June 20 – August 9, 2018 and December 8 – 24 or for trips booked on / after January 10, 2018 for travel on June 15 – August 12, 2018 and December 8 – 24, 2018. 

* $25/$30 1st bag fee applies only seasonally for travel to California, Colombia, and El Salvador; otherwise it is $0.

** $55 2nd bag fee applies for seasonal travel to Port au Prince, Haiti, and Honduras.

^ Regarding tickets issues on / before January 31, 2018, 3rd and 4th checked bags are $85 or $150 for tickets issued on / after February 1, 2018.

^^This $60 charge applies for the 1st bag in Transatlantic Basic Economy.

For flights ticketed on or after March 22, 2018 to Bonaire (BON), there is a 2 checked bag per person limit.

Premium Economy: 2 bags included; 3+ for purchase as per table above

Business: 2 bags included; 3+ for purchase as per table above

First: 2-3 bags included**; 3+ for purchase as per table above

**The fee for a 3rd bag is charged on a two-cabin aircraft; there is no charge for a 3rd bag on a three-cabin aircraft

Credit Cards That Give You A Free Checked Bag With American Airlines

Three credit cards provide a free checked bag on your domestic flights with American Airlines. Friends and family can even receive a free checked bag when on your itinerary.

Check out the details of each card’s checked bag benefit below:

Credit Cards That Reimburse You For Checked Bags

If you don’t have one of the cards above, there are several cards that will reimburse you for checked bag fees on American Airlines.

Even if you do have one of the co-branded Citi cards, the cards below are great when you have multiple checked bags.

Additional / Excess Baggage Fees:

Overweight Fee 51lb – 70lb: $100
Overweight Fee 71lb – 100lb: $200*
Oversized Fee: $150 – $200 route dependent

*Flights to/from China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong will cost $450. Additionally, baggage over 71lb is not permitted on transatlantic flights or flights to/from Cuba and Australia.

More than one fee may apply per bag, for example, the checked bag fee + oversize fee + overweight fee.

Specialty items (such as sporting equipment, musical instruments, etc.) are subject to special rules, exceptions, and packing instructions. The maximum weight and size for all items is 100 lbs and 126″ (l+w+h). Overweight and / or oversize charges may apply. You may find more information on specific items here.

Exclusions & Waivers:

1st checked bag is complimentary for:

  • Eligible AAdvantage® Aviator™ and Citi® / AAdvantage® cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines operated flights)
  • AAdvantage® Gold
  • oneworld® Ruby
  • Alaska Airlines MVP members (discontinued)

1st and 2nd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • AAdvantage® Platinum Pro
  • AAdvantage® Platinum
  • oneworld® Sapphire members
  • Alaska Airlines MVP Gold (discontinued)
  • Confirmed Business Class customers
  • Confirmed Premium Economy customers

1st, 2nd and 3rd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • Confirmed First Class customers on 3-cabin aircraft
  • AAdvantage® Executive Platinum
  • oneworld® Emerald
  • Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K (discontinued)

Active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders: 1st – 5th bags free of charge

Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel: 1st – 3rd bags free of charge


To see more airline baggage fees and policies, click here.

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22 comments

  1. Meghan Forde · June 6, 2018 · Reply

    I paid with my city master card for my checked luggage on April 23 rd 2018 from JFK to Orlando

  2. Some wonderful young lady called me back and explained the baggage policy,
    Answered all my questions.😃😃😃

  3. Patricia M Landrum · September 2, 2018 · Reply

    I have just made 2 aa reservations, paid for by Citi Advantage mastercard
    KPCKNV SJO to PHX on 3rd October,
    737780421753 (Orbitz – as I have a terrible time trying to get your site in English from Costa Rica) PHX to MIA on 29th Oct.
    In both cases I paid additional as instructed to have more baggage than just 1 pers item which must fit under seat.
    But I had thought that as an aa advantage member or having a Citi aa creditcard, I got one free checked bag. What is the baggage policy?

    • Toby Plumb · September 4, 2018 · Reply

      @Patricia M Landrum – AA announced that from September 5, all passengers even those booked in basic economy can have one carry-on in addition to one personal item.

      For checked bags, even in basic economy, because you have and used the AA card you are still eligible for your free checked bag (except for flights to Europe).

      Orbitz does not have access to your AA account information to know that you have a free checked bag benefit with your card, so their site recommending it is not as accurate as checking with AA.

  4. So I have the Citi branded American airlines advantage card and am traveling to Cancun. Thr first bag free for domestic only s even though the bag fee is the same ($25) for domestic and to Mexico .. they will still charge me the $25 for the first bag .. yes?

    Just wanted to double-check .. !

    Thanks

    • Stephen Au · September 12, 2018 · Reply

      Hi John, as long as your AA credit card has your AA number on it, you’re covered for the first bag.

  5. Mazique Dismukes · September 22, 2018 · Reply

    My massage table is 30lbs but 31X31 how much would it be since less than 51lbs

  6. Beatrice falgout · October 4, 2018 · Reply

    There’s nowhere here that says how much the fee is to purchase a seat in basic economy

    • Hi Beatrice, this is simply a piece dedicated to baggage fees – not a piece on airline fares. Of course, the fares are HIGHLY variable and dependent on many different factors. You will need to visit American Airline’s website and enter the specifics to find the cost of a basic economy ticket.

  7. so if i have a round trip ticket does that mean i have to pay the checked bag fee twice??

    • Stephen Au · October 13, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Helen,

      Unfortunately, the answer is yes. You will be charged each way for checked bag fees.

  8. JoAnne Prosia · October 14, 2018 · Reply

    Confused re carry ons for economy class. What is the new rule? Also, I see two prices quoted for one checked bag $25 and $30.00, which is it?

  9. Istvan Domokos · October 15, 2018 · Reply

    Hi everyone!
    We are traveling to the US from Europe and we have a segment from Orlando to DC. I want to buy a 3 “basic economy” tickets but in the process of booking, I couldn’t add 2 checked bags (I know for it I have to pay!) before the payment step. I tried to book “main cabin” type tickets also but I couldn’t add the baggage in this way either.
    Can anyone tell me what did I wrong?
    Thanks,
    Istvan

    • Hi Istvan, American Airlines does not currently have a way to prepay for your baggage online. Unfortunately, you will have to do so at the check-in counter at the airport.

  10. I booked my sister a ticket which has three legs, all domestic. The first is a short flight which was only available in eco and the other two are business and first which go from west coast to east coast. After I paid, the baggage terms show that she has to pay for the first two bags because it’s an eco flight but then shows they are free on the second and third flights. Is that how it is now? If so, that’s ridiculous.

    • Stephen Au · October 18, 2018 · Reply

      Hey Lynn,

      Since one of the legs is economy, you will need to pay baggage fees for it. I know it’s ridiculous, but you can consider upgrading that leg of the flight to first to avoid it and just enjoy first class the whole way.

  11. Linda Morris · October 17, 2018 · Reply

    Can I carry my medication in my carry on bag or does it have to be in the medican bottles with my name on them. I am a diabete and I take shots but the needles aren’t on the medicine.

    • Hi Linda, this is more of a TSA concern than an airline specific concern. Since TSA is the regulating authority when it comes to what’s in your carry-on and what gets through to take onto the plane, you’ll need to defer to their guidelines.

      Per TSA stated restrictions, you do not have to declare medication unless it is in liquid form. In terms of insulin, TSA specifically states that it may be brought through the security checkpoint in your carry-on with special instructions – “Please notify the TSA officer that you have diabetes and are carrying your supplies with you. Insulin pumps and supplies must be accompanied by insulin, and insulin in any form or dispenser must be clearly identified.” (see policy here)

      Additionally, here are some recommendations from the American Diabetes Association when it comes to traveling with your medication and supplies.

  12. Hi. Good article but still confused. Travelling US to Colombia SA. I am an AA citicard platinum credit card holder and gold status on AA.

    I’ll be checking in a large case for a bicycle frame. Weighs 46lbs and total dimensions add up to 90 inches. The longest side is 44 inches.
    How much will it cost me one wsy? Thank you!

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