American Airlines Baggage Fees & How to Cover Them

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Navigating American Airlines’ baggage fees is crucial for savvy travelers, with policies that include allowances for carry-on bags and variable charges for checked luggage depending on various factors.

Oversized and overweight bags can attract additional fees, making it important for passengers to understand the size and weight limits.

However, there are strategies to avoid these fees, such as leveraging frequent flyer status, using co-branded credit cards, or selecting fare classes that include complimentary checked baggage.

American Airlines
Photo: American

American Airlines Carry On Bag Policy

American Airlines allows you to bring for free one carry-on bag that fits in the overhead bins and one personal item, such as a backpack that fits under your seat.

Personal items should not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm).

Carry-on bags should not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters (including handles and wheels).

Additionally, these items do not count towards your carry-on or personal item limit: diaper bags (1 per child), breast pump, small soft-sided cooler of breast milk, Child safety seats, strollers, and medical or mobility devices.

Carry On Bag

American Airlines Checked Bag Policy

American Airlines charges a fee for checked bags for most of their flights, which is detailed below.

Checked bags in economy class must be under 50 pounds, or else an additional overweight fee of $100 applies for most flights.

First and Business class passengers to all destinations and economy passengers flying to/from Australia and New Zealand can bring checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds for complimentary bags and 50 pounds for additional bags.

The dimensions of checked bags must not exceed 62 inches when measuring the combined length + width + height.

American Airlines Checked Bag Fees

American Airlines increased their checked bag fees for flights booked on or after February 20, 2024. Below are the checked bag fees depending on when you booked your flight.

Flights Booked Before February 20, 2024

The cost to bring a checked bag depends on where you are flying to:

A checked bag on American Airlines domestic flights costs:

  1. The first bag costs $30
  2. The second bag costs $40
  3. The third bag costs $150.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Mexico costs:

  1. The first bag costs $30.
  2. The second bag costs $40.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Haiti costs:

  1. The first bag is free unless you booked Basic Economy, then it costs $30.
  2. The second bag costs $65.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Cuba costs:

  1. The first bag is free (up to 70 lbs)
  2. The second bag is free (up to 70 lbs).
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

The exception is if you book a one-way flight from US to Cuba, then the checked bag fees are $30 for first bag and $200 for second bag.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from the Caribbean (excluding Cuba and Haiti) costs:

  1. The first bag costs $30.
  2. The second bag costs $40.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Central America costs:

  1. The first bag costs $30.
  2. The second bag costs $65.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Guyana and Suriname costs:

  1. The first bag costs $30.
  2. The second bag costs $40.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above costs $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from South America costs:

  1. The first bag is free unless you booked Basic Economy, then it costs $45.
  2. The second bag costs $65.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines on Transatlantic flights (Europe, Middle East, Africa) costs:

  1. The first bag is free unless you booked Basic Economy, then the free bag costs $75.
  2. The second bag costs $100.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines’ Transpacific flights (Asia, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) costs:

  1. The first bag is free.
  2. The second bag costs $100.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

Flights Booked On or After February 20, 2024

The cost to bring a checked bag depends on where you are flying to:

A checked bag on American Airlines domestic flights costs:

  1. The first bag costs $40 ($35 if paid online).
  2. The second bag costs $45.
  3. The third bag costs $150.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Mexico costs:

  1. The first bag costs $35.
  2. The second bag costs $45.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Haiti costs:

  1. The first bag is free unless you booked Basic Economy, then it costs $35.
  2. The second bag costs $65.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on an American Airlines trip that starts outside of Cuba costs:

  • The first bag is free for Main Cabin or $35 for Basic Economy.
  • The second and third bag costs $200 each.

A checked bag on an American Airlines trip that starts in Cuba costs:

  • The first and second bags are free.
  • The third and fourth bags cost $200.

Note: During certain months of the year, American Airlines only allows 2 checked bags.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from the Caribbean (excluding Cuba and Haiti) costs:

  1. The first bag costs $35.
  2. The second bag costs $45.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Central America costs:

  1. The first bag costs $35.
  2. The second bag costs $45.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from Guyana and Suriname costs:

  1. The first bag costs $35.
  2. The second bag costs $45.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above costs $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines flights to or from South America costs:

  1. The first bag is free unless you booked Basic Economy, then it costs $60.
  2. The second bag costs $100.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

A checked bag on American Airlines on Transatlantic flights (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and Transpacific (Asia, Australia, New Zealand) costs:

  1. The first bag is free unless you booked Basic Economy, then the free bag costs $75.
  2. The second bag costs $100.
  3. The third bag costs $200.
  4. The fourth bag and above cost $200.

Overweight Checked Bag Fees

American Airlines charges an overweight bag fee if your checked bag weighs over 51 pounds (unless you booked first class or business class, flying to Australia or New Zealand, or have certain AAdvantage or Oneworld elite status).

For flights on or before April 16, 2024:

  • The overweight bag fee for bags between 51 and 70 pounds is $100, except for Cuba, which is $200.
  • For bags between 71 and 100 pounds, the fee is $200 for flights between the US and Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean, and $450 between the US and Asia and New Zealand.
  • Checked bags over 71 pounds are not allowed on flights to/from Cuba, Europe, Israel, Qatar, and Australia.

For flights on or after April 17, 2024:

  • For bags between 50 lbs and 53 lbs, there is a $30 fee.
  • For bags over 53 lbs to 70 lbs, the fee is $100 for every destination except Cuba, which is $200.
  • For bags over 70 lbs to 100 lbs, the fee is:
    • $200 fee for flights in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. 
    • $450 to Asia and New Zealand.
    • Not accepted to Europe, Israel, Qatar, and Australia.

Oversized Checked Bag Fees

If your checked bag is over the dimensions of 62 inches when measuring the combined length + width + height, then American Airlines may charge you an oversized bag fee. 

The cost for oversized bags is for flights on or before April 16, 2024:

  • $200 between the US and the Caribbean, Canada, Central America (excluding Panama), Guyana, Suriname, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • $150 for Panama, South America (except Guyana / Suriname), Europe, Israel, and Qatar.

The cost for oversized bags is for flights on or after April 17, 2024:

  • $30 fee for bags between 62 inches and 65 inches.
  • $150 fee for bags over 65 inches to 115 inches to Panama, South America, Europe, Israel, and Qatar.
  • $200 fee for over 65 inches to 115 inches for the US, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Canada, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

American Airlines does not accept checked bags over 126 in / 320 cm in total outside dimensions of length + width + height.

Delta Platinum cardholders will get their first checked bag for free as part of their card benefits.

How to Avoid American Airlines Checked Bag Fees

There are several good ways you can avoid American Airlines’ checked bag fees: 

Credit Cards That Help With Bag Fees

Several credit cards offer free checked bags on American Airlines domestic flights (excluding international flights) for the cardholder and travel companions on the same reservation: 

Several other cards offer travel or airline fee credits to help offset bag fees:

Flying in a Premium Class

You can also get free checked bags when you purchase a ticket in a premium class:

Two Free Checked Bags: Domestic First Class, Business Class, and Premium Economy.

Three Free Checked Bags: Flagship First.

Remember that if you were upgraded to a premium class, your original ticket governs the number of free checked bags. For example, if you were upgraded to Business Class from Economy, you are only entitled to the number of free checked bags from your Economy class ticket.

American Airlines Business Class

Elite Status

A great way to always get free checked bags is by having American AAdvantage elite status or having elite status with another Oneworld airline:

One Free Checked Bag: AAdvantage Gold and Oneworld Ruby.

Two Free Checked Bags: AAdvantage Platinum and Oneworld Sapphire members.

Three Free Checked Bags: AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Executive Platinum, and Oneworld Emerald.

Military

American Airlines supports our military members with free checked bags:

  • Three Free Checked Bags: Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel.
  • Five Free Checked Bags: Active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders.
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