No More Free Checked Bags on American Airlines’ Flights

American Airlines has made a significant change to its baggage policy for basic economy passengers. Here's what to know.
American Airlines flights

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There are usually two types of travelers: the one who will pay whatever it takes to ensure they can have their entire closet with them wherever they go, and the other who knows how to pack light enough to use a carry-on without having to head to a laundromat. I’m neither. I’m the one who opts for the carry-on, even if it’s a three-week stint abroad, but will Marie Kondo my suitcase to fit every frivolous thing I need. 

American Airlines’ updated baggage fee policy

American Airlines has made a significant change to its baggage policy for basic economy passengers. The airline will now charge fees for checked bags on all tickets, including those on international routes. This modification aims to align the terms of basic economy across the airline’s entire network. While this move may disappoint travelers, it brings American Airlines in line with its competitors.

The nitty-gritty of the new policy

Under the new policy, basic economy passengers will be required to pay a $75 fee for their first checked bag on transoceanic flights. Additionally, the cost of a second checked bag will exceed $100, and a third bag will set passengers back $200. This change increases the financial burden on travelers, making tickets more expensive when baggage needs arise.

Divergence from competitors

American Airlines’ decision sets it apart from competitors United and Delta, who have not yet implemented such a change on all basic economy routes, regardless of the destination. While Delta and United charge a $75 fee for checked bags on transatlantic flights, they still offer free first checked bags on transpacific routes to Oceania. However, given the dynamic nature of the industry, it wouldn’t be surprising if other airlines followed suit in the future.

Exceptions for elite members

Despite the new policy, American Airlines recognizes the loyalty and status of its elite members. AAdvantage Gold members and oneworld Ruby members will continue to enjoy the privilege of one complimentary checked bag, regardless of their ticket’s fare class. Similarly, Oneworld Sapphire or AAdvantage Platinum status holders can still take advantage of two free checked bags on all routes. Passengers with Oneworld Emerald status and AAdvantage Executive Platinum membership can carry three checked bags, even on basic economy fares.

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