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FAQ: Baggage / Luggage Rules, Allowance, Through-check on AA & Other Airlines

Old Jun 10, 2015, 2:33 pm
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Last edit by: Prospero
How much am I allowed?

Can I check it through?

Im on award travel...

How long can my connection be to through check? Etc.


Link to American Airlines' policy on through checking baggage as of 1 Sep 2016.

Notice that different protocols are followed in IROPS / OSO conditions.

Code:
Through Checked Baggage Policy (AA, 1 Sep 2016)

To align American Airlines (AA) with our oneworld partners
and to reduce baggage mishandlings, we will now only through
check customers and baggage when all the tickets are in the same PNR.

Through check-in will be honored between the following carriers only:
  • Code:
    American Airlines and American Eagle
  • Code:
    oneworld airlines and affiliates


Code:
What if I have separate tickets in the same PNR for itineraries
with American to a non-oneworld carrier?

Our policy on American to non-oneworld airline tickets has not changed.
We will not through check customers or bags even if the tickets are in
the same PNR.

What would be the bag charges if the customer holds separate tickets
in separate PNRs?

American will not through check a customers bag, regardless if it is
a oneworld carrier. The customer will need to collect their bag at
the final destination on the AA ticket. They will pay for the bag on the
second ticket when they recheck it. This may involve exiting the secure
area, then claiming and re-checking the bags. The Minimum Connecting
Time (MCT) will usually not be sufficient when the customer has separate
tickets issued for each airline.

International flights will usually require claiming bags, clearing
customs and rechecking bags on another carrier to be continued to
their next destination.

What will customers be charged if we can through check the bag?

The charges would depend on what tickets the customer holds in the same PNR.

Do JetBlue (B6) and our other codeshare/interline partners count as affiliate airlines?

No, the oneworld affiliate airlines are generally the regional partners
of the other oneworld carriers. If a customer held an B6 ticket and an
AA ticket in the same PNR we would not through check the bag. They
would need to reclaim then recheck their bag with B6.
EXCEPTION: "Customers traveling on separate tickets where one
segment is an award ticket and another has been purchased can
through-check bags. Travel must be on American or oneworld partners,
and not on partners outside the oneworld alliance (like Etihad or Air
Tahiti Nui). Tickets much be in the same reservation."
-Gary Leff, Boarding Area

Link to FT thread: Separate PNR: oneworld AA, protection, through baggage issues as of 2016

Q. Can I check my baggage through?

YES: Due to new rules instituted by oneworld in June, and by AA 1 September of 2016, baggage between the fifteen oneworld airlines on the same PNR are required be through-checked.

NO: However, if the trip is booked ticketed separately, or with non-one world partners, through checking by AA will not occur; baggage will have to be recovered at baggage carousels landside and rechecked at the next operating airline's counter (depending on your initial operating carrier's policies about through-checking on separate booking).

On U.S.A. domestic or regional travel, you will have to retrieve your baggage and re-check the following day if your stop is overnight, or recheck, if your connection is 12 hours or longer. On international travel with overnight connections under the same PNR, you often will be able to through check (as long as the new ticket conditions are met).

If you are flying AA and a non-oneworld partner on separate PNR / tickets, you will have to recover and recheck baggage, particularly on separate PNRs. If there is no interline agreement between the airlines (e.g. AA and Spirit, Southwest, etc.) you will certainly be required to do so.

See Multi-Reservation Through-Checking across oneworld no longer required

See Australian Business Traveller article. (Link)

Q. If I'm connecting using AA on a single PNR but have a stopover at my connecting airport, can I check through or recheck?

AA will generally not through check bags or allow you to recheck bags if your layover exceeds twelve hours.

Q. Which carrier's rules apply?

Note: Checked baggage allowances may vary by status, class of service, origin or/and destination, type of baggage. Some AA affiliated credit cards allow one free checked bag on domestic travel - some up to four or eight passengers on the same itinerary.

A. It depends. On separate PNRs AA will collect baggage fees due, and the other airlines will collect what is due under their baggage policies.

On through-checked baggage, USDOT regulations require the marketing carrier of the initial segment baggage rules apply to USA originating (or ending, iirc) flights. E.g. flying QF as an AA codeshare, or QF connecting from AA marketed by AA, AA rules would apply. These take precedent of IATA rules if travel begins (or ends) in the USA.

For IATA governed international itineraries, baggage rules of the Most Significant / Prevailing Carrier apply:

In compliance with the new baggage policy issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), free baggage allowance and extra baggage charges for tickets issued on or after 1 April 2011 which involve one or more flights provided by other airlines will be based on a new method. If your journey includes connecting flights with more than one airline, the baggage allowances and fees of the airline that operates the longer leg of the itinerary (MDC) will apply throughout the itinerary. For example, if you fly a transpacific leg with one carrier and a domestic leg with another, the baggage allowances and fees of the carrier that operated the transpacific leg would apply to the whole journey, regardless of which carrier issued the ticket. (Language from Cathay Pacific.)

The Most Significant Marketing Carrier (MSC) is:
  • For travel between IATA areas: The first carrier flying in between two of the IATA areas
  • For travel between IATA sub areas: The first carrier flying in between the sub areas
  • For travel within an IATA sub area: The first carrier crossing an international border


IATA divides Areas and sub-areas. For example:

Area: North America, Central and South America, Hawaii
Subareas:
  • Canada, Mexico
  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • South America

Area: Europe, Middle East
Subareas:
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Africa


Area: Asia, Guam, Southwest Pacific
Subareas:
  1. Japan, Korea
  2. Southeast Asia
  3. South Asian Subcontinent / India
  4. Southwest Pacific
Q. Can I through check my baggage if I have an overnight stop?

That will probably depend on your first operating carrier. Some carriers have no problem with through checking bags if you're stopping overnight, e.g. Qatar Airways with an overnight in DOH, but AA uses a maximum of under 12 hours to determine whether you can through check or must recover bags on overnight stops. (However, ground agents may vary.)

Q. What are my AA and oneworld baggage allowances with [_______] status?

See here on aa.com for updates

A. Complimentary bags
In some cases, you won't have to pay the baggage fees for up to three 23 kg / 50 lb bags (32 kg / 70 lb some premium passengers). Find out if this applies to you. EXPs could have to three checked 32 kg / 70 lb bags.

1st checked bag is complimentary for:
  • Eligible AAdvantage Aviator and Citi / AAdvantage cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines operated flights)
  • AAdvantage Gold
  • oneworld Ruby
  • Alaska MVP members


1st and 2nd checked bags are complimentary for:
  • Platinum
  • oneworld Sapphire members
  • Alaska Airlines MVP Gold (AS is a oneworld member now)
  • Confirmed Business Class customers*


2nd and 3rd checked bags are complimentary for:
  • Confirmed First Class customers on 3-cabin aircraft*
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum
  • oneworld Emerald, including Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K
  • Active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders (1st - 5th bags free of charge)
  • Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel


Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald are allowed one more checked bag:

*See AA reducing some checked baggage allowance tickets pchs on / after 29 Mar 2016

Note: on through baggage: oneworld policy no longer entitles checking baggage through when using oneworld flights when connecting on separetily ticketed segments. Only AA and MH will still through-check baggage with separate PNRS.

Q. Do I have extended baggage allowance as AAdvantage Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald? (Yes, as of 1 Feb 2013

A. All oneworld Emerald customers, including AAdvantage Executive Platinums, will be entitled to an extra bag.

See:Customer Planning Advisory
Subject . . . APS 13002 Extra bag for oneworld Emerald

Date . . . . . . Effective: February 1st, 2013
Issued . . . . .January 31st, 2013

Overview . . .Extra bag for oneworld Emerald
. . . . . . . . . . To improve the travel experience for our top tier customers
. . . . . . . . . . we are pleased to offer all oneworld Emerald members
. . . . . . . . . . one extra bag in addition to their free allowance.

Detail. . . . . All oneworld Emerald customers, including AAdvantage
. . . . . . . . . . Executive Platinums, will be entitled to an extra bag.

. . . . . . . . . . Emeralds will have the following allowance:
. . . . . . . . . . First/Business 4 free pieces up to 70lbs (32kgs)
. . . . . . . . . . Main Cabin 3 free pieces up to 70lbs (32kgs)
. . . . . . . . . . This applies to both international and domestic travel
. . . . . . . . . . on/after 1st February.

Processing . Please override the excess baggage mask using the OT
. . . . . . . . . . code using the explanation Emerald. Automation for this
. . . . . . . . . . change will be in place later in the year.

<redacted issuing personnel>

Reference . . .APS13002


Q. How many bags can I check?

A. Check up to 10 bags if your trip is:
  • Domestic
  • Transatlantic
  • Transpacific


Check up to 5 bags if youre traveling to / through / from:
  • Mexico / Caribbean / Central America*See footnote
  • South America*See footnote


*There are seasonal and year-round baggage embargoes and restrictions


Q. Can I "split" my allowance? E.g. can I split a 23 kg / 50 lb per bag allowance and check two bags weighing up to 23 kg / 50 lb together?

A. No. Per bag weight maxima or number of bags allowed can not be shared or split.

Q. What are my Overweight Baggage Charges?

A. aa.com: Oversize and overweight baggage

Were pleased to say that your bag can weigh up to 70lbs./32kgs at no extra cost if you are:
  • First Class
  • Business Class
  • Executive Platinum
  • oneworld Emerald

If you are checking more than 3 bags charges will apply.*

Additionally:

Link to checked baggage policy

Link to oversized and overweight baggage policy AA has a "hard limit" of not accepting any baggage that exceeds 45 kg / 100 lb for check-in.


Q. Must I recover and re-check my bags arriving from another country?

A. If you are arriving in the U.S.A. from an international airport, it will depend:

1) If you check in at airports like AUH, DUB, YVR etc. where you process USCBP immigration and customs prior to boarding, your flight will arrive in the U.S. as a domestic flight. Your bag can be checked through (assuming other conditions mentioned above are met), you will be able to proceed to your next flight airside.

2) If you are otherwise arriving from an international airport, you will generally be required to pass USCBP immigration, recover your baggage at the indicated carousel and process through Customs. As you depart the Customs hall, you can re-check your baggage for your continuing flights prior to departing the airside part of arrivals. You will generally have to produce a valid boarding pass and pass through TSA Security to return airside to continue your travel.

3) DFW, MIA (only) in the USA allow through ("ITI") checking for certain passengers arriving internationally and departing on another international flight. This will result in an "ITI" (International to International) check with ITI sticker on your boarding pass, and baggage will not have to be collected and rechecked. ITI passengers may still be required to pass through immigration, exit through customs gate and pass back through security. See this FT thread.


Helpful resource links:

Link to American Airlines' policy on through checking baggage as of 1 Sep 2016. Notice that different protocols are followed in IROPS / OSO conditions.

AA: American Airlines a Checked baggage policy (includes infant assistive and medical devices, mobility devices, pets and specialty sports items).

See No More Multi-Reservation Through-Checking across oneworld

See Change to through-checking Oct 2014 (interlining) baggage on separate tickets

oneworld: oneworld Extra baggage allowance (status / class of service)

Please see FT: EXP / Emerald extended baggage / luggage allowance 1 FEB 2013 (master thread) if you are AA Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald.


Link to archived thread with older posts.

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FAQ: Baggage / Luggage Rules, Allowance, Through-check on AA & Other Airlines

Old Mar 28, 2021, 6:57 pm
  #226  
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You can see baggage allowances and waivers on the website:

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...age-policy.jsp

Presuming domestic main cabin, as a Plat, you get 2 bags @ 50 lbs. each.
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Old Mar 28, 2021, 7:15 pm
  #227  
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I routinely go over 50lbs and have never had a problem. I should just leave that "HEAVY" tag on there permanently.
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Old Mar 29, 2021, 12:40 pm
  #228  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Posts: 1,317
I was allowed 70 lbs (I panicked when I saw 58) on a flight recently. I am AA Gold. I typically fly economy but to be honest I think I flew on an upgraded first class LAX-Vegas flight when this happened. That's likely why. But I honestly don't remember, just that it was definitely in 2021.
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Old Mar 30, 2021, 9:30 am
  #229  
 
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I would reference VFS's link in regards of oversize and overweight bags,

"We don't accept checked bags over 100 lbs / 45 kgs on American Airlines operated flights.

Business and Domestic 2-cabin First confirmed customers can check 2 bags up to 70 lbs / 32 kgs at no extra cost.

3-cabin First confirmed customers and Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members can check 3 bags up to 70 lbs / 32 kgs at no extra cost.

Note that complimentary bags may not apply to codeshare flights on our partners. For details, visit the operating carrier’s website."

If you are travel international and got upgraded on the domestic portion then you can check 2x70lbs bags. But as a Plat, 2x50lbs
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Old Mar 30, 2021, 9:35 am
  #230  
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Originally Posted by JIMCHI
I thought I read somewhere that AA Platinum members have a 70# free bag allowance when traveling in coach. I can't find any reference to it now- just that 2 bags can be checked for free but nothing about extra weight. Anyone know for sure?
Emeralds get 3 bags at up to 70 pounds each. Platinums get 2 bags of up to 50 pounds in economy
I would not take "read somewhere" as valid unless that somewhere was the baggage section of aa.com
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Old Mar 30, 2021, 8:04 pm
  #231  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Chicago
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I'm AA Platinum and I tried to check a 60lb bag at LHR yesterday for a flight to LAX (travelling in Y) and was told that they wouldn't accept it, even though it was my only bag and I was entitled to check two. Thankfully I was able to move a couple of pairs of shoes into my hand luggage but it was a little irritating given that BA had no issue letting me check it on the LHR to LAX leg (when it was 63 lbs). The agent said that 1lb over the limit was ok but no more. I know I should know the limit and probably check a second suitcase, and maybe there's a good reason, but I don't know why two 50lb bags are ok but one 60lb bag isn't.
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Old Mar 30, 2021, 8:21 pm
  #232  
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Originally Posted by merlin90
I'm AA Platinum and I tried to check a 60lb bag at LHR yesterday for a flight to LAX (travelling in Y) and was told that they wouldn't accept it, even though it was my only bag and I was entitled to check two. Thankfully I was able to move a couple of pairs of shoes into my hand luggage but it was a little irritating given that BA had no issue letting me check it on the LHR to LAX leg (when it was 63 lbs). The agent said that 1lb over the limit was ok but no more. I know I should know the limit and probably check a second suitcase, and maybe there's a good reason, but I don't know why two 50lb bags are ok but one 60lb bag isn't.
According to the overweight baggage page, they should have accepted a bag up to 70 lbs for a transatlantic flight, though at a cost of $100. So this one sounds like the checkin agent not understanding AA's policy.

The reason heavy bags have to be marked as heavy is pretty simple: it may take multiple people to lift them depending on applicable workplace safety requirements.
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Old Mar 31, 2021, 8:51 am
  #233  
 
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Pretty sure Platinum gets 70lbs if flying up front. 50lbs in the back with usually a couple pounds leeway depending on the check-in agent
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Old Mar 31, 2021, 1:09 pm
  #234  
 
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Originally Posted by VFR
According to the overweight baggage page, they should have accepted a bag up to 70 lbs for a transatlantic flight, though at a cost of $100. So this one sounds like the checkin agent not understanding AA's policy.

The reason heavy bags have to be marked as heavy is pretty simple: it may take multiple people to lift them depending on applicable workplace safety requirements.
Originally Posted by geepmaley
Pretty sure Platinum gets 70lbs if flying up front. 50lbs in the back with usually a couple pounds leeway depending on the check-in agent
It is interesting as the website is not clear...

1st checked bag is complimentary for:

  • Eligible AAdvantage Aviator and Citi / AAdvantage cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines operated itineraries)
  • AAdvantage Gold
  • oneworld Ruby
  • Confirmed Business customers
  • Confirmed Premium Economy customers
Then there is a carveout...3-cabin First confirmed customers and Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members can check 3 bags up to 70 lbs / 32 kgs at no extra cost. And there is this benefit for Platinum... 2 free checked bags

So is that the checked bag of any size? Only to 50 pounds?
Seems a little odd to say first bag free and then say but I have to charge you if over 50 pounds.
The second reference is the number of bags and size. Charging $100 for 70 pounds would be no discount as that is the price everyone pays.

I believe AA meant first bag free to 70 pounds, but that is just my interpretation. On the few times as an EXP I have checked a bag and it was 60+ pounds, I was never approached for a fee.

Last edited by Global321; Mar 31, 2021 at 1:17 pm
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Old Mar 31, 2021, 6:06 pm
  #235  
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It is pretty straightforwrad

As a Platinum member , you are entitled to 2 standard bags free of charge when travelling on AA. That is 2 bags, max 23Kg and within standard dimensions

If your ticket includes a more generous allowance ( e.g. travelling business class where 32Kg per bag is permitted ) then the more generous allowance applies

If you turn up with 1 bag weighing 30Kg, then will be charged the overwight fee - turn up with 2 bags , each weghing 15Kg and you will be fine

The weight and size limits to avoid excess fees are listed at the top of the page

Originally Posted by AA
Weight and size

We calculate the size limits of your bag by adding the total outside dimensions of each bag, length + width + height.

For all regions, except to / from Australia or New Zealand, your checked bag allowance is:
Dimension: 62 in / 158 cm
Weight: 50 lbs / 23 kgs
For First / Business, weight is 70 lbs / 32 kgs for complimentary bags and 50 lbs / 23 kgs for excess charged bags

For all confirmed customers on flights to / from Australia or New Zealand:
Dimension: 62 in / 158 cm
Weight: 70 lbs / 32kgs for complimentary bags and 50 lbs / 23 kgs for excess charged bags

Last edited by Dave Noble; Mar 31, 2021 at 6:13 pm
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Old Mar 31, 2021, 6:19 pm
  #236  
 
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So, by "business class" does that include domestic first class in a 2 class cabin (for awhile AA called it "business class) ?
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Old Apr 1, 2021, 6:44 am
  #237  
 
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I moved to Spain in October and am returning to the US in May to be vaccinated. My wife and I would like to return to Madrid with extra bags. (I am a 3-million miler with lifetime Platinum status but missing those Executive Platinum days!) We get two free 23 kilo bags each but every time I ask AA Reservations the cost of bringing additional bags, I get a different answer, expressed in the kind of tone that leaves one thinking they are just guessing. Yesterday, I was told our third bag would be $152 but a fourth bag would be $352 (for a total of $504). Trying to get an "official answer", I wrote Customer Relations, who told me to call Reservations. So I am flying in a loop...

The AA website makes it sound like the correct answer is $200 per bag after the two free ones. That is what is under the 3rd and 4th bag column. Or are the rates charged Platinum members different?
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Old Apr 1, 2021, 7:17 am
  #238  
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Originally Posted by William Kotas
I moved to Spain in October and am returning to the US in May to be vaccinated. My wife and I would like to return to Madrid with extra bags. (I am a 3-million miler with lifetime Platinum status but missing those Executive Platinum days!) We get two free 23 kilo bags each but every time I ask AA Reservations the cost of bringing additional bags, I get a different answer, expressed in the kind of tone that leaves one thinking they are just guessing. Yesterday, I was told our third bag would be $152 but a fourth bag would be $352 (for a total of $504). Trying to get an "official answer", I wrote Customer Relations, who told me to call Reservations. So I am flying in a loop...

The AA website makes it sound like the correct answer is $200 per bag after the two free ones. That is what is under the 3rd and 4th bag column. Or are the rates charged Platinum members different?
Yea, your standard reservations agent is not going to have a clue about all of AA checked bag rules. I wouldn't waste another minute calling or writing and just go by what aa.com says, $200 each for bag 3 & 4.
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Old Apr 2, 2021, 8:21 am
  #239  
 
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Originally Posted by JIMCHI
So, by "business class" does that include domestic first class in a 2 class cabin (for awhile AA called it "business class) ?
I just found the answer to my own question. I just booked a first class ticket SMF-ORD and the ticket shows the baggage allowance as 2 bags @ 70 # each.
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Old Apr 10, 2021, 7:47 am
  #240  
 
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Baggage allowance for status customers in Y

Hello,

I am travelling on AA, from Canada to the US, in economy. Is my interpretation of the AA web site correct that as an Oneworld Emerald (BA gold) I get three checked bags, even though travelling in Y? And my travel companion (same booking) two bags as an Oneworld Sapphire (BA silver)?

Apologies if this is a stupid question, just strikes me as quite generous and I would like to make sure I didn't misunderstand. (I don't often check in luggage but this time I must bring several bags with me.)

Finally: the booking was made with a BA avios, would that change anything?

Many thanks in advance for your help!
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