American Airlines Baggage Fees Guide (Checked, International, Military) [2024]

American Airlines is a huge airline just like United and Delta, and just like those other legacy carriers it comes with baggage fees.

In this article, I’ll discuss the specific American Airlines baggage restrictions and fees for carry-ons, checked bags, and international flights and show you some ways to avoid these fees. I’ll also talk about special circumstances such as for overweight baggage, pet policies, and military privileges.

Interested in finding out the hottest travel credit cards for this month? Click here to check them out!

What are American Airlines baggage fees?

American Airlines generally charges $40 for your first checked bag and allows one free carry-on and personal item. However, fees can vary based on the number of checked bags and your specific routes. Keep reading below for more details.

How can I avoid AA baggage fees?

You can avoid AA baggage fees in several different ways. One of the easiest and quickest ways to avoid the fees is to use the right credit card but I will explain all the different routes below.

AAdvantage and Oneworld elite status

American Airlines has four tiers in its loyalty program called AAdvantage, and each tier offers some type of checked baggage fees that are waived. Depending on your status, you might get 1 to 3 baggage fees waived.

Below, you can see the requirements for each elite status tier and the free baggage allowance.

AAdvantage Gold / Oneworld Ruby

  • 40,000 Loyalty Points
  • 1 bag fee waived

AAdvantage Platinum / Oneworld Sapphire

  • 75,000 Loyalty Points
  • 2 bags fees waived

AAdvantage Platinum Pro / Oneworld Emerald

  • 125,000 Loyalty Points
  • 3 bags fees waived

AAdvantage Executive Platinum / Oneworld Emerald

  • 200,000 Loyalty Points
  • 3 bags fees waived

Note: Oneworld status holders from other airlines don’t need to worry about Loyalty Points, that is for AAdvantage status.

If you are an AAdvantage elite member and you have others on the same reservation, then you and all other passengers (excluding group reservations) can get the same checked baggage fees waived that your status tier allows.

Fare types

The only fare type that includes bags would be first/business class or premium economy seats. No true economy fare will include bags and this includes Main Cabin Extra and of course Basic Economy.

If you wanted bags included in your ticket price, you must be flying a premium cabin seat.

Flying to certain destinations 

You can avoid AA baggage fees by flying on certain routes. Be sure to check out the chart below which breaks down all of these different destinations and their corresponding prices.

Credit Cards

American Airlines has many different credit cards that have free baggage as a benefit. There are cards issued by Citi and Barclays and both have advantages and disadvantages.

However, note the AA co-branded cards listed below will only give you a free bag on domestic itineraries. This is in contrast to the United Explorer Card which offers free baggage on international itineraries. 

Citi issued AA cards

  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card
  • CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select Card
  • Citi AAdvantage Executive Card

Each of the Citi cards mentioned above offers a free bag along with a handful of other benefits like companion tickets if you spend a certain amount.

Both Platinum cards offer the first checked bag for free for you and up to four companions. The Executive card offers the first checked bag for free for you and up to eight companions. But again note that all these free checked bags are for domestic itineraries only.

Don’t Miss out! Find out which American Airlines credit card can set you up with a big bonus, lounge access, free checked bags, and a short-cut to AAdvantage elite status! Read more here!

Barclaycard issued AA cards

  • AAdvantage Aviator Red
  • AAdvantage Aviator Silver
  • AAdvantage Aviator Business

Each of the Barclaycards offers slightly different benefits.

Both the Aviator Red and Business cards offer the first checked bag for free for you and up to 4 companions. The Aviator Silver offers the first checked bag for free for you and up to eight companions.

There are also credit cards that offer travel credits helping you reduce or eliminate the baggage fees.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the hottest travel rewards credit cards. It earns 3X the points on dining and travel and comes with a host of valuable benefits. One of these perks is a $300 travel credit that can be used on anything that codes as travel, including your baggage fees.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


One of my favorite cards to use to cover miscellaneous travel purchases is the Capital One Venture card. It’s a popular credit card that comes with a bonus of 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

It earns 2% cashback on all purchases toward travel, and the points can be used to cover virtually any travel purchase.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!

American Airlines personal item and carry-on restrictions

Every passenger, no matter what fare or class, can bring on a personal item and carry-on bag when flying American Airlines.

Personal item

When flying AA, you can bring one personal item onboard and it can be anything that can go under the seat in front of you or under the ottoman in business or first class. Personal items must not exceed:

  • 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm)

Some examples of personal items would be a briefcase, purse, laptop, and small backpack.

Related: What’s a Personal Item on a Plane?


You can bring one carry-on item in any class when flying AA. Carry-on items must not exceed:

  • 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) including handles and wheels

Soft-sided garment bags up to 51 inches / 130 cm (length + width + height) can also be taken as your carry-on item.

For your carry-on item, you can bring a suitcase, bag, garment bag, carrycot, pushchair or child seat for infants, and any required mobility aids, such as a wheelchair. Some items will be gate checked for free. As long as it doesn’t exceed the dimensions above, you will be fine.

Musical instruments are also considered a carry-on item and must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

All items over the above dimensions will be subject to fees. I will go over special checked item fees below.


The same TSA standards apply to American Airlines flights operating within the US, arriving, and departing from the US. You can review a list provided by the TSA of permitted and prohibited items which may be included in carry-on baggage including the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule.

American Airlines checked baggage fees

The prices below are for one-way flights on AA, not roundtrip, and must not exceed 62 in (158 cm) in overall dimensions. Here are all the fees for all the destinations and regions below:

RegionBag 1Bag 2Bag 3Bag 4+
U.S. (including HI / AK), Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands$40$45$150$200
Canada and Mexico$35$45$200$200
Caribbean (except Cuba and Haiti)$35$45$200$200
Central America (except Panama)$35$45/$65$200$200
Guyana and Suriname$35$45$200$200
South America (except Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname)$0/$60$100$200$200

Seasonal pricing applies for tickets issued on / before April 25, 2022 for travel June 1, 2022 – August 19, 2022 and November 27, 2022 – January 10, 2023, and for tickets issued on / after April 26, 2022 for travel November 27, 2022 – January 10, 2023 or travel November 27, 2023 – January 10, 2024.

These fares seem pretty high but compared to other airlines, these fees aren’t that different. Remember, if you have status, you don’t have to pay these fees, even when you are flying on a Basic Economy ticket.

In comparison to other international airlines, United charges the following rates:

  • $40 for the first checked bag
  • $50 for the second checked bag
  • $150 to $200 for the third checked bag ($200 for some international flights)

If you want all the tips on how to deal with checked baggage and how to avoid fees, be sure to check out the ultimate guide to checked luggage. Click here to check out that article.

American Airlines checked baggage allowance

When flying economy or premium economy without status, checked bags must not exceed 62″ (158 cm) in overall dimensions and exceed 50 lbs (23 kg) .

If you’re flying with Executive Platinum status, Oneworld Emerald status, business or first class your weight limit is 70 lbs (32 kg).

American Airlines excess checked baggage fee

Overweight bags and/or bags that exceed the dimensions will receive an extra fee.

Oversize bags

Oversize bags are larger than 62 in (158 cm) but keep in mind that for travel on/before April 16, 2024, American Airlines won’t accept checked bags over 126 in (320 cm). For travel on or after April 17, 2024, checked bags over 115 in (292 cm) are not accepted. Also, for travel on/after April 17, 2024, a $30 fee applies for checked bags over 62 in (158 cm) up to 65 in (165 cm).

Here are the oversize baggage fees for flights on/before April 16, 2024:

Region62 in (158 cm) – 126 in (320 cm)
Between U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada$200
Mexico, Caribbean, Central America (except Panama), Guyana and Suriname$200
Panama / South America (except Guyana / Suriname)$150
Europe, Israel and Qatar$150
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Australia and New Zealand$200

Here are the oversize baggage fees for flights on/after April 17, 2024:

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

Overweight bags

Overweight bags are over 50 pounds, and American Airlines won’t accept checked bags over 100 lbs (45 kg). For travel on/after April 17, 2024, a $30 fee applies for checked bags over 50 lbs (23 kg) up to 53 lbs (24 kg). First, business, Executive Platinum, and Oneworld Emerald members can check bags up to 70 lbs (32 kg) for free.

Here are the overweight baggage fees for flights on/before April 16, 2024:

RegionOver 50 lbs (23 kg) – 70 lbs (32 kg)Over 70 lbs (32 kg) – 100 lbs (45 kg)
Between U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada$100$200
Cuba$200Not accepted
Mexico, Caribbean (excluding Cuba), Central and South America$100$200
Europe, Israel and Qatar$100Not accepted
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Australia and New Zealand$100$450 (Not accepted to/from Australia)

Here are the overweight baggage fees for flights on/after April 17, 2024:

RegionOver 50 lbs (23 kg) – 53 lbs (24 kg)Over 53 lbs (24 kg) – 70 lbs (32 kg)Over 70 lbs (32 kg) –100 lbs (45 kg)
Between U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada$30$100$200
Cuba$30$200Not accepted
Mexico, Caribbean (excluding Cuba), Central and South America$30$100$200
Europe, Israel and Qatar$30$100Not accepted
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Australia and New Zealand$30$100$450 (Not accepted to/from Australia)

Remember these fees will go on top of the regular checked luggage fees. So if you were checking one overweight bag in for a US flight you would have a total of $140 in fees. ($40 for the first checked baggage fee and $100 for the overweight baggage fee.)

Sports baggage on American Airlines flights

If you want to bring sporting equipment on your AA flight, you must keep in mind maximum size and weight limitations.

American Airlines states:

When traveling with any sports equipment, the maximum linear size (length + width + height) is 126 in / 320 cm for travel on / before April 16, 2024, and the maximum weight is 70 lbs / 32 kgs, subject to the airplane size and available cargo space. For travel on / after April 17, 2024, the maximum linear size (length + width +height) is 115 in / 292 cm.

If the equipment bag contains anything other than approved items, then it will be charged as a standard checked bag, and additional oversize and overweight charges may apply.

  • Antlers
  • Archery
  • Baseball bats
  • Bicycle
  • Bowling
  • Camping equipment
  • Curling equipment
  • Fencing equipment
  • Fishing
  • Golf clubs
  • Hang gliders
  • Hockey, cricket and lacrosse equipment
  • Javelin and pole vault
  • Oars and paddles
  • Parachute
  • Scuba gear (with tanks)
  • Scuba gear (without tanks)
  • Shooting equipment
  • Skateboards
  • Skis (snow/water) and snowboards
  • Watersports boards
  • Tennis, badminton, squash, or racquetball
  • Windsurf

For items not mentioned, you will be subject to standard checked baggage, oversize, and overweight fees.

Please refer to AA’s website for details about each of the sporting equipment above.

Musical instruments in the cabin

When flying AA with musical instruments, they can come as your carry-on if they are within 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) or can be checked with a maximum size of 150 in (381 cm) and 165 lbs (75 kg.) Anything larger has to be shipped via cargo.

Your bags are subject to baggage excess fees on top of the standard checked baggage fees.

Tips when traveling with musical instruments

Contact AA before your flight to guarantee the aircraft type can handle your baggage size. If you are checking your musical instrument, make sure it’s in a hard-sided case.

If you want to bring your musical instrument onboard without putting it in the overhead bin, you can buy another seat. Contact AA to reserve a second seat for your musical instrument.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

American Airlines military baggage policy

AA does have a unique benefit for military personnel besides waived baggage fees. Active duty military personnel and dependents (or up to 2 guests) can access Admirals Clubs for free and all you need is your military ID.

For active duty military personnel and dependents, while traveling on orders, you get 5 checked bags for free. While traveling on leisure, you are able to check 3 bags for free. One must present a military ID at check-in. Learn more here.

If you want to learn more about military benefits for airlines, I suggest reading our article.

Access the American Airlines Admirals Club for free as a military member.

When can I check-in bags for American Airlines?

Check-in depends on your departure city. For airports that only serve one AA flight a day, the check-in counters typically only open up 3 hours prior to the scheduled departure.

Bags must be checked in at least 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure on domestic flights. For international flights, bags must be checked in at least 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.

American Airlines pet policy

You can bring your dog or cat in a kennel for your carry-on. You will be subject to a carry-on pet charge and the kennel must fit under the seat in front of you.

You will be subject to a $150 per kennel carry-on charge for your pet at the time of check-in with the agent. Always refer to AA’s own website for pet restrictions as they change frequently requiring you to contact AA before the flight.

If you want to place your pet in the cargo hold. Refer to AA’s policy on checked pets. Make sure you contact reservations 48 hours prior to your departure. To learn more about checked pets, click here.

American Airlines Baggage Fees FAQ

How much does it cost to check a bag on American Airlines?

American Airlines will generally charge you $40 per checked bag.

How can I check a bag for free?

You can check your bag for free by using a travel rewards card like the Amex Platinum Card that comes with a $200 airline credit.

There are also co-branded American Airlines cards that come with free checked bag benefits.

And finally, if you have elite status or are flying in specific cabins such as business class or first class, you will get free checked baggage.

How heavy can my checked bag be?

Checked bags must not exceed 50 pounds. If you have status or are flying in a premium cabin, your baggage may weigh up to 70 pounds.

What are the oversized baggage fees?

If your bag is larger than 62 inches, you will be charged $30 – $200 depending on the size of your bag, for flights in the US.

What are the overweight baggage fees?

The overweight baggage fees range from $30 to $200 depending on the weight of your bag, for flights in the US.

Do military members get free baggage on American Airlines?

Active duty military personnel and their dependents, while traveling on orders, get five checked bags for free.

And when traveling on leisure, active military personnel can get three bags checked for free. Be sure to present your military ID at check-in.

Do I get a free carry-on?

Yes, you will be able to bring on a free carry-on as long as it does not exceed the dimensions of 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm).

What if my bags are lost or damaged?

If your bags are lost or damaged make sure you report it to American Airlines immediately. It is imperative to make a claim in person or online after the flight.

You can either go to baggage services at the airport or online. Please refer to this link.

What if I lost an item on American Airlines?

You can file a lost and found report with AA here, but it is best to find a crewmember at the airport before leaving and reporting the lost item to the AA ground staff or gate agents.

Make sure you try all these steps here to ensure you find your lost item. You can read more about the lost and found for American Airlines here.

Final word

American Airlines isn’t known for cheap baggage fees, as the fees are almost on every flight. Basic economy tickets are also subject to baggage fees, even on international itineraries. However, if you hold an AA co-branded credit card or have status with AA or Oneworld airline, you can get those baggage fees waived.


  1. According to the American Airlines website, Platinum Pro status enables three bags up to 70# to be checked complimentary. You’ve omitted that from your “Overweight bags” section. Is that an oversight or is American Airlines’ website incorrect? Thanks.

  2. According to the website, checked bags are charged per person. I think this explains why my 1 bag cost $60 to check the last time my wife and I went on a trip. We were trying to save money by bringing one large bag (within their limits) instead of 2 regular bags.

    I’m trying to calculate the price difference between a 2x premium economy tickets (free bag), or just doing the absolute cheapest ticket and paying for the bag. At the stated $30 I think it’s better to just pay, but when you multiply it per person that may not be true.

    Anyone have more insight on this detail?

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