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American Airlines Baggage Fees and Tips on Covering the Expenses

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

If you fly economy, you pay for all checked baggage on domestic flights and routes to or from Canada and Mexico (excluding some status and credit cardholders). For most trans-Pacific and transatlantic routes, your first checked bag is included, providing you haven’t booked a Basic Economy fare.

Where you want to be careful is in the excess baggage policy: If your luggage is both overweight and oversize, American will charge you fees for both.

American Carry-On Allowance

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

Size Restrictions

  • Personal: 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 centimeters)
  • Standard: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 centimeters)

Passengers may also take a soft-sided garment bag in place of their carry-on that can measure up to 51 inches (130 centimeters). Bags that require gate-checking may incur a fee.

Lap Infant Carry-On Policy

  • 1 diaper bag per child is permitted in addition to the adult’s carry-on allowance.

Stroller-Check Policy

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

American Checked Baggage Allowance

All checked bags must 50 pounds (23 kilograms) or less in economy and premium economy and 70 pounds (32 kilograms) or less in business and first class (complimentary bags only). The only exclusion is economy and premium economy passengers flying to Australia or New Zealand, where a single checked bag can weigh up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms) for complimentary baggage and 50 pounds (25 kilograms) for excess charged bags. Checked bags must adhere to maximum linear dimensions of 62 inches (158 centimeters).

Hot Tip:

When talking about baggage allowances, many airlines refer to “maximum linear dimensions” or something similar. This is merely the number you get when you add together the length, width (or height), and depth of a piece of luggage. For example, if you have a suitcase that’s 26 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 16 inches deep, then its linear dimensions are 62 inches, or right at the maximum for many airlines.

Seasonal Baggage Restrictions

Oversize, overweight and excess bag limitations apply for select cities during certain times of the year. Visit American’s baggage limitations page for more details.

Economy Checked Baggage Fees (for Tickets Booked on or After February 20, 2024):

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RouteFirst BagSecond BagThird Bag4 or More Bags
U.S. Domestic (Including Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) (10 Bags or Fewer)$40 ($35 if purchased online)$45$150$200
Mexico
(5 Bags or Fewer)
$35$45$200$200
Haiti$0/$35**$65$200$200
To Cuba*
(Only 2 Bags Permitted)
$0/$35**$150/$200**$200$200 (from Cuba only)
Caribbean (Except Cuba and Haiti)
(5 Bags or Fewer)
$35$45$200$200
Central America (Except Panama)
(5 Bags or Fewer)
$35$45/$65**$200$200
Guyana and Suriname$35$45$200$200
Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru$0/$45**$100**$200$200
South America (Except Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname)
(5 Bags or Fewer)
$0/$60**$100**$200$200
Transatlantic
(10 Bags or Fewer)
$0/$75**$100$200$200
Trans-Pacific
(10 Bags or Fewer)
$0/$75**$100$200$200

*Each passenger traveling to Cuba may only check up to 2 bags with a maximum weight of 70 pounds/32 kilograms per bag. Up to 3 checked bags allowed seasonally to Havana, Cuba. First and second bags are free when departing Cuba for the U.S. or Canada. When departing the U.S. or Canada for Cuba, baggage fees apply.
**Seasonal pricing or fare rules may apply to select routes. Please review the AA checked baggage policy for more details.

Hot Tip: Basic Economy passengers do not get complimentary checked bags, even on international flights.

Additional and Excess Baggage Fees (One-Way)

Overweight Fees

More than 1 fee may apply per bag that exceeds standard dimensions for both weight and size. For travel on or before April 16, 2024, you pay the checked bag fee plus oversize fee plus overweight fee. For travel on or after April 17, the higher fee (oversize or overweight) applies, in addition to the checked bag fee.

Over 50 pounds (23 kilograms) to 53 pounds (24 kilograms) Travel After April 16, 2024*:

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Basic EconomyMain CabinPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
$30$30$30$0/$30^$0/$30^

*Seasonal and year-round limitations apply on checked bags and the number of boxes allowed for travel to select cities.

^Fee applies to any excess bags above the free allowance.

Fees for over 53 pounds (24 kilograms) to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)* for travel on or after April 17, 2024, or over 50 pounds (23 kilograms) to 70 pounds (32 kilograms)* for travel on or before April 16, 2024:

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RegionsBasic EconomyMain CabinPremium EconomyBusinessFirstNotes
Within and Between U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, or U.S. Virgin Islands$100$100$100$0/100^$0/100^ 
To or From Cuba$200$200$200$0/$200^$0/$200^ 
Between Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, or South America and U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, or Canada;
or between the Caribbean and Central America
$100*$100*$100*$0/100^$0/100^ 
Between Europe, Israel, or Qatar and U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, or South America$100*$100*$100*$0/100^$0/100^ 
To or From Australia and New Zealand$0/$100^$0/$100^$0/$100^$0/$100^$0/$100^
AU/NZ$150 for travel originating in Australia or New Zealand
To or From India, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, or New Zealand$100$100$100$0/100^$0/100^
¥10,000 for travel originating in Japan

*Seasonal and year-round limitations apply on checked bags and the number of boxes allowed for travel to select cities.

^Fee applies to any excess bags above the free allowance.

Over 70 pounds (32 kilograms) to 100 pounds (45 kilograms):

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RegionsBasic EconomyMain CabinPremium EconomyBusinessFirstNotes
Within and Between U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands$200$200$200$200$200 
Between Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, or South America and U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, or Canada; or Between the Caribbean and Central America$200*$200*$200*$200*$200*
*Seasonal and year-round limitations apply on checked bags and the number of boxes allowed for travel to select cities.
Between Europe, Israel, or Qatar and U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, or South AmericaNot acceptedNot acceptedNot acceptedNot acceptedNot accepted 
To or From Australia or New ZealandNot acceptedNot acceptedNot acceptedNot acceptedNot accepted 
To or From India, China, Japan, South Korea, or Hong Kong$450$450$450$450$450
¥45,000 for travel originating in Japan

Oversized Fees

For travel on or before April 16, 2024, AA only accepts checked bags up to 126 inches (320 centimeters) in total linear dimensions. For travel on or after April 17, 2024, checked bags over 115 inches (292 centimeters) in total linear dimensions will not be accepted.

For travel on or after April 17, 2024, a $30 fee applies for checked bags over 62 inches (158 centimeters) and up to 65 inches (165 centimeters) in total linear dimensions. There is no change to oversize fees for travel on or before April 16, 2024.

Fees for flights before April 17, 2024 (nonrefundable, each way):

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Region
62 inches (158 centimeters) to
126 inches (320 centimeters)
Within and Between U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada$200
Mexico*, Caribbean*, Central America (except Panama)*, Guyana*, Suriname*$200
Panama, South America (Except Guyana and Suriname)*$150
Europe^, Israel, Qatar$150
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Australia, and New Zealand$200

*Seasonal and/or year-round checked bag and box limitations apply to some cities in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For travel to or from Mexico, boxes cannot exceed 80 inches (203 centimeters) in total dimensions. If a box is placed inside a bag, box limitations still apply.

^For travel from Madrid (MAD), Spain, the maximum length of any side of a checked item cannot exceed 43 inches (110 centimeters). For travel on or before April 16, 2024, items with total outside linear dimensions of up to 126 inches (320 centimeters) are accepted. For travel on or after April 17, 2024, items with total outside linear dimensions of up to 115 inches (292 centimeters) are accepted

Fees for flights after April 16, 2024 (nonrefundable, each way):

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RegionOver 62 Inches (158 Centimeters) to
65 Inches (165 Centimeters)
Over 65 Inches (165 Centimeters) to
115 Inches (292 Centimeters)
Within and Between U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada$30$200
Mexico*, Caribbean*, Central America (except Panama)*, Guyana*, Suriname*$30$200
Panama and South America (except Guyana and Suriname)*$30$150
Europe^, Israel, Qatar$30$150
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Australia, and New Zealand$30$200

*Seasonal and/or year-round checked bag and box limitations apply to some cities in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For travel to or from Mexico, boxes cannot exceed 80 inches (203 centimeters) in total linear dimensions. If a box is placed inside a bag, box limitations still apply.

^For travel from Madrid, Spain (MAD), the total length of any side of a checked item cannot exceed 43 inches (110 centimeters). For travel on or before April 16, 2024, items with total outside linear dimensions up to 126 inches (320 centimeters) are acceptable. For travel on or after April 17, 2024, items with total outside linear dimensions up to 115 inches (292 centimeters) are acceptable.

Excess Baggage Seasonal Restrictions

In certain seasons, only 2 bags are permitted for some cities in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. AA has a list of cities with such seasonal limitations.

Excess Baggage Year-Round Restrictions

Only 2 bags are permitted for select cities in Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. AA has a list of cities with such year-round limitations.

Sporting Equipment and Musical Instruments

Hot Tip: American Airlines accepts oversized sporting equipment and musical instruments within the checked luggage allowance, provided the item weighs less than 50 pounds and does not exceed 126 linear inches for travel on or before April 16, 2024. For travel on or after April 17, 2024, the maximum linear dimensions are 115 inches. This includes equipment such as skis, snowboards, and surfboards, which can now be checked as the first bag from for free to $75 (the fee is route-dependent).

Oversized items such as hang gliders, windsurfing equipment, and scuba tanks will still incur the $150 fee because of their specific handling requirements. You can find more information on specific items on the AA site.

Can I Prepay for Baggage?

American Airlines lets you prepay for luggage online or via the mobile app for certain domestic and Caribbean flights. This can be done when you check in and up to 4 hours before departure.

Here are the ways to prepay:

If you don’t see the option to add baggage when you log in, then you must do it at the airport check-in desk.

Exclusions and Waivers

First checked bag is complimentary for:

  • Eligible AAdvantage® Aviator® Mastercard® and Citi®/AAdvantage® cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines-operated flights)
  • AAdvantage Gold
  • Oneworld Ruby (includes Alaska MVP)

First and second checked bags are complimentary for:

  • AAdvantage Platinum
  • Oneworld Sapphire (includes Alaska MVP Gold)
  • Confirmed domestic first customers
  • Confirmed business class customers
  • Confirmed premium economy customers

First, second, and third checked bags are complimentary for:

*Applicable only to Flagship First International, Flagship First Transcontinental, and Flagship Business Plus. AAdvantage Executive Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro, and Oneworld Emerald members traveling in Flagship First may check a fourth bag at no charge

Active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders: first through fifth bags free of charge

Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel: first through third bags free of charge

Hot Tip: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elites enjoy baggage benefits when flying on American Airlines.

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

Nearly all American Airlines-branded credit cards provide a free checked bag on your domestic flights with American Airlines. Friends and family can receive a free checked bag when on your itinerary.

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

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CardBaggage Benefit
Citi®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®Free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 4 traveling companions
Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®Free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 8 traveling companions
CitiBusiness®/AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®Free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 4 traveling companions
AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®Free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 4 traveling companions
AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard®Free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 8 traveling companions
AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard®Free checked bag on domestic itineraries for you and up to 4 traveling companions

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

The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many bags can you carry on American Airlines for free?

Flying American Airlines, you can take aboard 1 standard carry-on piece and 1 personal item. Your standard carry-on must not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches, and your personal item must not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches.

How much does American Airlines charge for baggage?

If you’re flying American Airlines within the U.S. or to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central America (excluding Panama), then you will be charged $35 per way for your first checked bag. If you’re flying transatlantic or trans-Pacific in basic economy, then you will incur a $75 fee to add a checked bag (there is no charge for first checked bags in other classes.)

Can I take a backpack and a carry-on on American Airlines?

You can bring a backpack on board in addition to your carry-on item provided it adheres to the maximum size dimensions of a personal item: 18 x 14 x 8 inches (i.e. a small backpack). Alternatively, you can use your carry-on allowance for the backpack and bring a smaller personal item in addition.

Is there a weight limit to carry-on bags on American Airlines?

American Airlines does not state a weight limit for carry-on baggage. Typically, you would need to be able to comfortably lift and store the bag without assistance and still adhere to the size restrictions of 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

Do AAdvantage members get free checked bags?

A single piece of checked baggage is free for eligible AAdvantage Aviator and Citi/AAdvantage cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines-operated flights) and AAdvantage Gold members.

AAdvantage Platinum members get 2 pieces of complimentary checked luggage

AAdvantage Executive Platinum members and AAdvantage Platinum Pro members get 3 checked bags are free.

Does American Airlines accept cash for baggage fees?

American Airlines accepts cash payments for baggage fees at some airport ticket centers. You can check with AA at individual airports to see if they accept cash. You can also pay by credit or debit card, vouchers, or gift card.

Does American Airlines charge for ski bags?

American Airlines permits passengers to check sporting equipment and musical instruments within their standard baggage allowance, provided the bag does not exceed 50 pounds or 126 linear inches for travel on or before April 16, 2024, or 115 inches for travel on or after April 17, 2024. So if you’re traveling on a route where the first bag costs $30, then this is the fee you pay to check your ski bag or other sports and musical equipment.

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About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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