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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 3, 2024, 11:35 am
  #586  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: New York, NY
Programs: Marriott Gold
Posts: 139
Luggage on Domestic Leg of International Flight

I’m flying LGA-> LIS via PHL, using reward points. Main cabin. Next month.

Obviously, LGA->PHL leg is a teeny American Eagle flight. I’m assuming(?) I get a free checked bag for transatlantic, but does that apply to the short flight, as well?

If so, can I do my lengthy PHL layover without wrangling my checked bag around town (since it’s checked through to LIS)?

Thanks much for advice….

Just to give back: Hardena Indonesian is incredibly great, cheap, friendly, and 7.2 miles from PHL. That's my layover plan, followed by one or more of seven or so superb craft beer bars within a 10 min walk (hopefully without my luggage) of Hardena. If anyone needs more food tips, hit me up. I'm actually a professional.
Come Fry With Me is offline  
Old Mar 3, 2024, 11:42 am
  #587  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Programs: AA, UA, Marriott
Posts: 1,257
Yes. In fact if you have a lot of luggage, if you buy the upgrade (maybe very cheap, like $50) on just the LGA-PHL segment the domestic F extra baggage allowance would carry over for the full itinerary too. Enjoy your layover!
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lrdpenn is offline  
Old Mar 5, 2024, 8:57 am
  #588  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: New York, NY
Programs: Marriott Gold
Posts: 139
Originally Posted by lrdpenn
Yes. In fact if you have a lot of luggage, if you buy the upgrade (maybe very cheap, like $50) on just the LGA-PHL segment the domestic F extra baggage allowance would carry over for the full itinerary too. Enjoy your layover!
Sounds great, thanks so much!

I think you're proposing buying an extra bag (for the one leg), rather than upgrading class, right? I don't see a way to do either via the "My Trip" page for the flight. Is this something I do at airport? Or call in? Remember fwiw this is award travel.

Last edited by Come Fry With Me; Mar 5, 2024 at 9:20 am
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Old Mar 19, 2024, 8:50 am
  #589  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SAN
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, American Air, National Car
Posts: 1,131
Hi folks -

I'm looking to learn the best option for getting the most baggage allowance on a AA domestic flight - I'm helping my brother move

I'm currently AA Platinum , which would get me two 50 lb bags on a one way flight that's priced at $540 ... the first class price is $860

The first class ticket would get me two 70 lb bags ... does Platinum loyalty level stack for a 3rd 'free' bag ? or would I be charged $150 ?
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 1:04 am
  #590  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Sky
Posts: 244
I am flying from Canada to the US on an AAward ticket, with a 10-hour connection in PHL. Would I need to collect the bag at PHL or can it be checked through to the final destination?
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 8:46 am
  #591  
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Posts: 30,161
Originally Posted by mrkenneth
I am flying from Canada to the US on an AAward ticket, with a 10-hour connection in PHL. Would I need to collect the bag at PHL or can it be checked through to the final destination?
It can be checked through to your final destination. However, if you will be departing from a Canadian airport which lacks a U.S. pre-clearance facility (like YQB), you will have to claim the bag at PHL for Customs inspection, but can then just drop the bag at the re-check desk outside of the Customs hall. If your departure airport has a pre-clearance facility, you will not see your bag until you reach the final destination on your award ticket.
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guv1976 is offline  
Old Apr 2, 2024, 9:14 am
  #592  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 20
Oversize baggage on transatlantic and domestic

I'm travelling from the UK to a conference in the US in a few months, via a short stop in New York to visit a friend. The LHR - JFK leg is in AA Premium Economy, and then a few days later the domestic leg from LGA in First on a Republic E175. The international ticket was actually booked through BA (the return is in Business on BA metal) while the domestic flight was booked with AA directly. I rarely fly for work and don't have any status.

Alongside my personal checked bag I'm going to have some special equipment with me for the conference (can't really say what), which is lightweight but somewhat bulky. I plan to buy a dedicated case for it soon but I'm not at all sure that it will fit within American's 62" size limit. Yesterday I actually knocked up a plywood box the size of the biggest acceptable SKB case to try to pack it all into, and if it doesn't fit then I'm going to need to buy something bigger and accept that I'm paying for oversize baggage. This kit has to come with me or there's no point in making the trip, and the tickets are already purchased so I'm stuck with American's policies.

My main question is, how do the mechanics of paying for and taking oversize baggage actually work? In Europe where there's more focus on weight, it's common to pay for excess baggage online in advance, at a discounted rate versus buying it at the airport. I haven't noticed anything like that on the American site, though I guess it may become available closer to the time when checkin opens. If not, how does payment work when checkin is mostly automated nowadays - do I need to find some special desk instead first? And, come to think of it, if checkin and bag drop is automated (in both directions on my last trip to Norway, I didn't interact with a human until passing Security) how are they checking the size? Is there some sort of laser scanning built into the dropoff now as well as the scale for weight?

Does anyone have any experience on how zealous AA tend to be on checking size? That is, if I have to be over, is it worth trying to be just a little bit over and hope they won't notice (but pay up with good grace, of course, if they do)? Or will they definitely notice, and if I can't get under the limit then I might as well make full use of the oversize allowance I'm paying for and get a nice big case with foam compartments to pack the kit neatly and logically, instead of trying to compact it? If AA will definitely charge me for going over 62", then I might as well go right up to BA's more generous limit of 35"x30"x17" (a total of 82", albeit with less flexibility on shape).

Any other thoughts or suggestions on travelling with big stuff welcome too - thanks.
Pete24601 is offline  
Old Apr 2, 2024, 10:17 am
  #593  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Global
Posts: 6,054
Originally Posted by Pete24601
I'm travelling from the UK to a conference in the US in a few months, via a short stop in New York to visit a friend. The LHR - JFK leg is in AA Premium Economy, and then a few days later the domestic leg from LGA in First on a Republic E175. The international ticket was actually booked through BA (the return is in Business on BA metal) while the domestic flight was booked with AA directly. I rarely fly for work and don't have any status.

Alongside my personal checked bag I'm going to have some special equipment with me for the conference (can't really say what), which is lightweight but somewhat bulky. I plan to buy a dedicated case for it soon but I'm not at all sure that it will fit within American's 62" size limit. Yesterday I actually knocked up a plywood box the size of the biggest acceptable SKB case to try to pack it all into, and if it doesn't fit then I'm going to need to buy something bigger and accept that I'm paying for oversize baggage. This kit has to come with me or there's no point in making the trip, and the tickets are already purchased so I'm stuck with American's policies.

My main question is, how do the mechanics of paying for and taking oversize baggage actually work? In Europe where there's more focus on weight, it's common to pay for excess baggage online in advance, at a discounted rate versus buying it at the airport. I haven't noticed anything like that on the American site, though I guess it may become available closer to the time when checkin opens. If not, how does payment work when checkin is mostly automated nowadays - do I need to find some special desk instead first? And, come to think of it, if checkin and bag drop is automated (in both directions on my last trip to Norway, I didn't interact with a human until passing Security) how are they checking the size? Is there some sort of laser scanning built into the dropoff now as well as the scale for weight?

Does anyone have any experience on how zealous AA tend to be on checking size? That is, if I have to be over, is it worth trying to be just a little bit over and hope they won't notice (but pay up with good grace, of course, if they do)? Or will they definitely notice, and if I can't get under the limit then I might as well make full use of the oversize allowance I'm paying for and get a nice big case with foam compartments to pack the kit neatly and logically, instead of trying to compact it? If AA will definitely charge me for going over 62", then I might as well go right up to BA's more generous limit of 35"x30"x17" (a total of 82", albeit with less flexibility on shape).

Any other thoughts or suggestions on travelling with big stuff welcome too - thanks.
Checked bags on AA by and large go by weight. While size plays into it, I have not seen any AA folks pull out a tape measure a checked bag. They look to the scale and as long as the dimensions are in the 'ballpark' I do not think you will have a problem. As always, YMMV.

I think you will find your answers here.
Global321 is offline  
Old Apr 2, 2024, 10:40 am
  #594  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 20
Thanks. Ive never really thought about size for checked baggage before - its usually weight for the hold, and size for the cabin. Something about Americans site brought it to my attention as a possible issue.

If they dont really care as long as it looks normal then I guess Ill go with the slightly larger peli case.

EDIT: Most likely this one: https://www.peli.com/gb/en/product/cases/air/1646

Pete
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Last edited by Pete24601; Apr 2, 2024 at 11:49 am
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 11:57 pm
  #595  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Sky
Posts: 244
Originally Posted by guv1976
It can be checked through to your final destination. However, if you will be departing from a Canadian airport which lacks a U.S. pre-clearance facility (like YQB), you will have to claim the bag at PHL for Customs inspection, but can then just drop the bag at the re-check desk outside of the Customs hall. If your departure airport has a pre-clearance facility, you will not see your bag until you reach the final destination on your award ticket.
Thank you for the detailed explanation! Glad to not have to figure out where to store a bag.
mrkenneth is offline  
Old Apr 9, 2024, 9:13 am
  #596  
 
Join Date: Oct 2023
Posts: 5
I have an upcoming trip with two PNRs, both AA flights:
ATL-MIA one way
MIA-BON round trip

Will AA allow me to check through my luggage from ATL to BON?
gg123gg is offline  
Old Apr 9, 2024, 1:30 pm
  #597  
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Originally Posted by gg123gg
I have an upcoming trip with two PNRs, both AA flights:
ATL-MIA one way
MIA-BON round trip

Will AA allow me to check through my luggage from ATL to BON?
AA will not check bags through across separate tickets. You need to allow enough time in MIA to pick up your bag and check it in again.
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JJeffrey is online now  
Old Jun 9, 2024, 5:16 am
  #598  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 113
Bag Routing AA > BA - Separate Bookings

Sorry if this has been answered before, I am flying first from MSP to ORD on AA then first from ORD to LHR with BA, these are separate bookings, will AA route my bags from MSP to LHR?
DL have done this for me onto a VS flight.

Having read the documents it looks like they will, just would like it confirmed from experience for my own sanity.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 9, 2024, 5:28 am
  #599  
 
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Not officially but you may get lucky if you ask the agent nicely.
KeaneJohn is online now  
Old Jun 9, 2024, 5:44 am
  #600  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: PHL
Programs: AA ExP, Marriott Amb, National EAE, Hilton Diamond, SPG Plat (RIP), US CP (RIP)
Posts: 2,389
If separate tickets, plan on no interlining for checked bags. Budget for time to pick up bags, recheck and reclear security.
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