Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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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’re flying economy, you’ll pay for all checked baggage on domestic flights and routes to/from Canada and Mexico (excluding some status and credit cardholders). For most transpacific and transatlantic routes, your first checked bag is included, providing you haven’t booked a Basic Economy fare.
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.
American Carry-on Allowance
1 personal item: FREE
1 standard carry-on: FREE
- Personal: 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm)
- Standard: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm)
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 car seat to be checked free of charge (only 1 item can be checked at the gate)
- Strollers over 20 pounds (9 kg) must be checked at the ticket counter
American Checked Baggage Allowance
All checked bags must adhere to a max weight of 50 pounds (23 kg) for economy and premium economy and 70 pounds (32 kg) for business and first class fares (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 kg) for complimentary baggage and 50 pounds (25 kg) for excess charged bags. Checked bags must adhere to maximum linear dimensions of 62 inches (158 cm).
Seasonal Baggage Restrictions
Oversize, overweight and excess bag limitations apply for select cities during select times of the year. Visit American’s Baggage Limitations page for more details.
Economy Checked Baggage Fees:
|Route||First Bag||Second Bag||Third Bag||4+ Bags|
|U.S. Domestic |
(up to 10 bags)
(up to 5 bags)
(only 2 bags permitted at present due to COVID-19)
|Caribbean (except Cuba and Haiti)|
(up to 5 bags)
|Central America (except Panama)|
(up to 5 bags)
|Guyana and Suriname||$30||$40||$200||$200|
|Panama and South America (except Guyana, and Suriname)|
(up to 5 bags)
(up to 10 bags)
(up to 10 bags)
* 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.
** For travel to/from Honduras, a $65 fee applies seasonally for the second bag.
Hot Tip: All Basic Economy tickets are excluded from complimentary checked bags, even on international flights.
Additional/Excess Baggage Fees (Per One-way)
Overweight Fee 51 to 70 pounds (23 to 32 kg): $100 ($200 for Cuba)
Overweight Fee 71 to 100 pounds (32 to 45 kg): $200* (not accepted to/from Europe, Israel, and Qatar or to/from Cuba)
* Flights to/from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, and Australia will cost $450. Additionally, baggage over 71 pounds is not permitted on transatlantic flights or flights to/from Australia.
|Region||Larger Than 62 Inches (158 cm)|
|Between the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada||$200|
|Mexico, Caribbean, Central America (except Panama), Guyana, and Suriname*||$200|
|South America (except Guyana and Suriname) and Panama||$150|
|Europe (transatlantic), Israel, and Qatar||$150|
|China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand and Australia (transpacific)||$200|
*Seasonal and/or year-round checked bag limitations apply to some cities in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
More than 1 fee may apply per bag — for example, the checked bag fee + oversize fee + overweight fee.
Excess Baggage Seasonal Restrictions
Seasonally, only 2 bags are permitted for select cities in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. You can view the applicable cities with seasonal limitations.
Excess Baggage Year-round Restrictions
Only 2 bags are permitted for select cities in Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. You can view the applicable cities with 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. This includes equipment such as skis/snowboards and surfboards that can now be checked as the first bag from $0 to $75 (fee is route dependent).
Oversized items such as hang gliders, windsurfing equipment, or scuba tanks will still incur the $150 fee due to their specific handling requirements. You can find more information on specific items.
Can I Prepay for Baggage?
American Airlines does allow passengers the ability to prepay for luggage online or via the mobile app for selected 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:
- Check-in for your booking on the American Airlines website and add up to 3 bags
- Check-in for your booking on the American Airlines mobile app and add up to 3 bags
When logging in, if the option is not available to add baggage then this must be done at the airport check-in desk.
Exclusions and Waivers
First checked bag is complimentary for:
- Eligible AAdvantage Aviator 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 Pro
- AAdvantage Platinum
- Oneworld Sapphire (includes Alaska MVP Gold)
- TrueBlue Mosaic members
- Confirmed domestic first customers
- Confirmed business class customers
- Confirmed premium economy customers
First, second, and third checked bags are complimentary for:
- Confirmed first class customers on 3-cabin aircraft*
- AAdvantage Platinum Pro
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum
- Oneworld Emerald (includes Alaska MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold 100K)
*Executive Platinum and Oneworld Emerald members traveling in first on 3-cabin aircraft 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 of the American Airlines-branded 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:
|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 World Elite 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|
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.
The information regarding the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding AAdvantage® Aviator® World Elite Business Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Featured Image Credit: Daniel Ross
Frequently Asked Questions
Flying American Airlines, you can take on board 1 standard carry-on piece and 1 personal item. Your standard carry-on must not exceed maximum dimensions of 22 x 14 x 9 inches and your personal item must not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches.
If you’re flying American Airlines within the U.S., to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America (excluding Panama), or Colombia then you will be charged $30 per way for your first checked bag. If you’re flying transatlantic in basic economy then you will incur a $75 fee to add a checked bag.
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 could use your carry-on allowance for the backpack and bring a smaller personal item in addition.
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.
1 piece of checked baggage is free for eligible AAdvantage Aviator and Citi/AAdvantage cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines-operated flights) and AAdvantage Gold members.
2 pieces of checked baggage are complimentary for AAdvantage Platinum Pro and AAdvantage Platinum members.
3 checked bags are free for AAdvantage Executive Platinum members.
American Airlines accepts cash payments for baggage fees at some airport ticket centers. You can check individual airports for cash acceptance and can also pay by credit or debit card, vouchers, or gift card.
With American Airlines, if your bag is over the weight of the standard checked baggage allowance then you will incur a fee. If your bag weighs 51 to 70 pounds then you will be charged $100 ($200 for Cuba) per way and for bags 71 to 100 pounds, there is a charge of $200 (excluding flights to/from China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, and Australia which will cost $450). Bags over 71 pounds will not be accepted on transatlantic flights or flights to/from Cuba and Australia.
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. So if you’re traveling on a route where the first bag costs $30, then this is the fee you will pay to check your ski bag or other sports and musical equipment.
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