Everything You Need to Know About American Airlines Baggage Fees

Know before you go.

Baggage fees are a tricky business, largely because each airline seems to have its own rules. But when it comes to traveling with Texas-based American Airlines, things are pretty straightforward. Keep your checked bag below 50 pounds to avoid a penalty charge on top of the below baggage fees. Looking to skip the fees altogether? You'll need to gain elite loyalty status or pack very, very light.

American Airlines Baggage Fees

Is there a baggage fee?

On American Airlines, customers seated in economy pay $30 for their first checked bag on all domestic — and most Caribbean, Mexico, Central American, and South American — flights. If you're flying elsewhere internationally, say Hong Kong or Paris, the first bag is free. A second bag will cost you $40 on all domestic flights, though that fee goes up to $65 if you're traveling to Haiti, select countries in Central America, or South America (there are exceptions, so be sure to check). If you're flying to Europe or Asia, the second bag fee jumps to $100.

What's included in the baggage fee?

Like with most airlines, American Airlines' baggage fees only apply to checked bags. Every passenger is entitled to one carry-on and a personal item, like a purse or small backpack. A musical instrument is considered a carry-on item, as long as it fits in the overhead bin. Diaper bags, strollers, and mobility devices are all allowed, and will not count toward your allotted carry-on item.

What's the catch?

The fees above reflect the situation for passengers seated in economy class. If you're flying in a basic economy seat, it's a different story. Prepare to pay $75 for your first checked bag on transatlantic flights and $45 to most of South America. In certain cases, the reduced fare of the basic economy ticket may be greater than the baggage fee itself, so use your best judgment when deciding how many bags to haul.

Planning to bring a third or fourth bag? Checking those will set you back $200 apiece, unless you're flying domestically, in which case it'll cost $150 for your third bag.

Here's some good news to end on: All basic economy passengers are now allowed one personal item and a carry-on at no cost. Now, that's a change we can get behind.

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