American Airlines baggage policy
American Airlines planes. Know the baggage policy before booking a seat. – Miguel Ángel Sanz (unsplash)

Baggage policies are arguably the most important part of air travel. Whether you already know American Airlines’ baggage policy by heart or it’s your first time traveling with them, you should always double-check before heading to the airport. Terms and conditions are constantly changing and you certainly don’t want to run into problems with security and miss your flight, right? 

Key Takeway
AA allows you to take up to 10 checked bags if you’re flying domestic, transatlantic, or transpacific. Oversize and overweight fees will apply to bags larger than 62 linear inches and heavier than 50 pounds. You’ll also be able to bring one carry-on and a personal item that fits in the cabin. 

In this article, I’ll share all the minor (and major!) details about American Airlines’ baggage policy. I’ll also share some additional information on sports equipment, car seats, and strollers that you possibly weren’t aware of. So, if you’re traveling with this airline soon, be sure to stick around. 

Checked bag policy 

When flying domestic, transatlantic, or transpacific with American Airlines, you’ll be permitted to take up to 10 bags. 

This number is slightly less for flights to and from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Brazil, with only 5 bags maximum. 

Regardless of your departure or arrival location, your bag needs to meet the size requirements of 62 linear inches (158 cm) and 50 lbs (23 kg). You calculate linear inches by adding [length + width + height].

If you’re seated in Business or First class, the maximum size of your baggage should be 70 lbs (32 kg) for complementary and 50 lbs (23 kg) for excess. 

Baggage fees 

Unfortunately, lower classes like Basic Economy won’t get any of your bags into checked baggage for free. Domestic flights and those to Mexico, Haiti, the Caribbean (excluding Cuba), Central America (excluding Panama, Guyana, and Suriname have a standard fee of $30 for the first bag. The second bag to these destinations will then cost you $40 or $65, while the standard fee for the rest of the bags is $200 each. 

Transatlantic and transpacific flights have a standard fee of $75 for the first bag, $100 for the second, and $200 for all bags after that. 

If you’re a member of the US military, you’re eligible for American Airlines military discount on fares and bags. Check it out.

Carry-on bag policy and fees

All American Airlines passengers are allowed one personal item and one carry-on at no extra cost. If you’re traveling with infants, you’re allowed to bring 1 diaper bag per child for free.

Personal items need to fit under the seat in front of you, with a size limit of 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). The following items do not count as personal items: 

  • Diaper bags 
  • Breast pumps
  • Small breast milk coolers (soft-sided)
  • Car seats, strollers, medical, and mobility devices

Carry-on bags need to fit under the seat in front of you or the overhead bin. The general size restriction on these bags is 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) including the wheels and handle. If your carry-on is any larger than this, you’ll be required to check it with the rest of your luggage. 

Restricted items

There are some items that will not be permitted on American Airline-operated flights. These include: 

  • Alcoholic beverages over 140 proof
  • Opened containers with alcohol
  • Damaged batteries
  • Automobile, boat, or aircraft batteries
  • Portable electronic devices containing cells or batteries not for personal use
  • Defense sprays (teargas, pepper spray, mace)
  • Explosives (fireworks, flare guns, gunpowder)
  • Flammable liquids or solids (fuel, paint, gas torches)
  • Household items (bleach, sprays, cleaners, solvents)
  • Hoverboards or scooters
  • Marijuana (recreational, medical)
  • Mobility devices (only on arrangement)
  • Pressurized containers (spray cans, fuel, recreational oxygen)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices
  • Self-heating meals (Meals Ready-to-Eat, HeaterMeals)

Overweight policy and fees

The airline will allow no bags that weigh more than 100 lbs (45 kg). However, if your bag weighs more than 50 lbs (23 kg), standard overweight fees will apply. The fees are as follows:

Region51-70 lbs (23-32 kg) 71-100 lbs (32-45 kg)
Between the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Canada$100$200
Mexico, Caribbean (excluding Cuba), Central America, South America$100$200
Cuba$200Not permitted
Europe, Israel, Qatar$100Not permitted
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand$100$450
Australia$100Not permitted
Overweight fees

Oversize policy and fees

You won’t be permitted to bring any bag that measures over 126 linear inches (320 cm). For any bags smaller than this, but larger than 62 linear inches (158 cm), standard oversize fees will apply. The fees are as follows: 

Region62-126 linear inches (158-320 cm)
Between the U.S, Puerto Rico, U.S Virgin Islands, and Canada$200
Mexico, Caribbean, Central America (excluding Panama), Guyana, Suriname$200
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Australia, New Zealand$200
Panama, South America (excluding Guyana and Suriname)$150
Europe, Israel, Qatar$150
Oversize fees

Travel equipment policy and fees

You can bring an FAA-approved onboard your flight at no extra charge. If you’re planning on using it on the plane, you need to purchase a seat for your infant or toddler. Have a look at our article for more details on American Airlines’ car seat policy

Stroller rules are a bit more complex but every ticketed customer will definitely be allowed to bring one stroller for free. You can bring your stroller to the gate if it weighs less than 20 lbs (9kg). If it weighs 20 lbs or more, you’ll be required to check it with the rest of your baggage. For more details, have a look at our article on American Airlines’ stroller policy

Sports equipment policy and fees

You are allowed to bring your sports equipment if it weighs under 50 lbs (22.7kg) at a standard fee that ranges between $30 and $150. If your equipment weighs more than 70 lbs (31.8kg), you’ll be charged $150. All equipment should be smaller than 126 linear inches (320cm).

Additionally, if there is anything other than sports equipment in your bag, they’ll check it with the rest of your bags and oversize or overweight fees may apply. 

It should also be noted that the airline’s sports equipment policy is subject to available cargo space. For more information, check out our in-depth article on American Airlines’ sports equipment policy.

For golf clubs, if your golf travel bag is smaller than 126 linear inches and weighs less than 50 lbs, you’ll be allowed to bring them with your checked baggage. Have a look at our article on flying with golf clubs on American Airlines for more information about the limitations and extra fees that you may be required to pay.

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