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AA carry on / carryon baggage rules & enforcement (master thd)

Old Nov 21, 16, 9:48 pm
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Last edit by: JDiver
American Airlines Carry-On Baggage Limits
Strict enforcement directive issued 28 August 2015)
American Airlines Carry-on baggage (link)

Q. Why is AA suddenly becoming so picky about sizing bags?

A. AA formulates carry on baggage policy that meets FAA criteria as well as airline established criteria; these are submitted to the FAA and if approved become the airline's policy. If the airline repeatedly violated their FAA-approved policy, they can be held accountable by the FAA. Recently, during an FAA audit, AA was found to be violating its FAA-approved carry on policy.

What can I carry on?

You can bring 1 carry-on bag and 1 personal item per person (exception: infants. Exception: some regional aircraft have insufficient bin space for otherwise "legal" bags, so carry-on bags might be limited, or even prohibited. If the latter, they will usually be "valet checked" airside and delivered at the jetway before you enter the gate area.

Carry-on bag

Your carry-on bag should be:
  • Up to 45 inches (22 x 14 x 9 in or 115 centimeters (23 x 36 x 56 cm) including handles and wheels
  • Able to fit comfortably into the sizer weve provided at the airport
  • Please note, youll also need to be able to lift your bag into the overhead bin
You can travel with horizontal rolling and/or hanging garment bags as your carry-on bag if:
  • They fit comfortably in the bag sizer
  • They measure up to 22" length x 14" width x 9" height or 115cm (56 x 36 x 23 cm)
You can also carry on a soft-sided garment bag of up to 51in or 130cm (length + width + height)

Personal item

Your personal item must be smaller than your carry-on, able to fit under the seat in front of you and can include:
  • A purse
  • A briefcase
  • A laptop bag
  • Similar items such as a tote
Additional allowed items

You can also bring:
  • Outerwear such as coats, wraps and hats
  • A book or newspaper
  • A small bag of food to eat on the flight
  • An approved safety seat for a lap or ticketed child
  • A pillow or blanket
  • An umbrella stroller for a lap or ticketed child
  • A diaper bag for a lap or ticketed child
  • Duty free items
  • Assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, walkers, portable oxygen concentrators, CPAP machines etc.)
  • Breast pump
Liquids and restricted items

TSA allows certain duty-free liquids through security in your carry-on bag if theyre properly packaged in a security tamper-evident bag (STEB). If youre traveling with liquids or are unsure about any item, please contact the TSA.

For more, e.g. special items, etc. please use link
Originally Posted by alien View Post
22 x 14 x 10

So today I took measurements of the sizer at my airport... There is obviously some slippage and subjectivity in the eye of (s)he who must be obeyed due to the open ended 1/4" lines outlining the baggage dimensions placed either horizontally or vertically. But, strictly speaking, the outside edge of the lines are 22' and 14". The depth is a definitive full 10 inches from the back board to the inner side of the metal tube running low laterally across the front of the sizer. This is the current sizer that I measured:


22 x 14 x 10

...We are given a 22 x 14 x 9 but there is some room to maneuver. We have 22" and 14" with a very subjective but limited amount of slippage. And there is definitely 10" of depth.

The subjectivity would be greatly reduced if the sizers were constructed, as Delta's, to form a full sided box.

Those on the margin should really test their bags in advance in all of the different positions to see which allows the most favorable view of its size if required to use the sizer at the gate.
See


AA e-mail to customer re: carry on baggage

and


Comparison of USA airlines carry-on limits Apr '25 by Outdoor Gear Lab

and


Airline carry on variances and the new IATA recommended standard

and


New IATA recommended standard vs. current common


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AA carry on / carryon baggage rules & enforcement (master thd)

Old Feb 12, 20, 1:29 am
  #1201  
 
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Originally Posted by tobsw View Post
Quick question...

What happens if I have a multi-sector ticket, with a stopover of about 4h ... and my hand luggage is gate checked at origin. Can I claim it at the stopover airport?
I think a gate agent should be willing to short-check your bag to the next airport only. You would have to go groundside to claim the bag and reclear security (unless the flight has valet-checked bags that you reclaim at the jetbridge).
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Old Feb 12, 20, 6:47 am
  #1202  
 
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Originally Posted by anabolism View Post
I think a gate agent should be willing to short-check your bag to the next airport only. You would have to go groundside to claim the bag and reclear security (unless the flight has valet-checked bags that you reclaim at the jetbridge).
Unless valet checked, short-checking luggage is a dicey proposition. ex: you already boarded the plane and your luggage was short-checked to your stopover. Your flight gets delayed and doesn't give you enough time to claim your luggage and clear security again; or your initial flight gets cancelled and you get rerouted. In either case, you are at one location and the luggage someplace else.
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Old Feb 13, 20, 5:44 pm
  #1203  
 
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I just boarded AA flight 2536 MSY-DFW A319. Completely full. 44 people on the upgrade list. It appeared that at least half the flight boarded with groups 1-4. I was the second person to board with group 5, and I took one of the last overhead bin spaces in the back of the plane. It appeared that anyone in groups 6 thru 9 had to gate check their bags. I saw a lot of bags that were bigger than standard and lots of people bringing on more than they should have.

In this case enforcing the 1+1 rule would have been helpful.

Otherwise, a very friendly crew that did an excellent job servicing the cabin during the short 75 minute flight. I'm now on a 738 that is about 90% full. It seems that the bins are bit more spacious; no issues with overhead space. A friendly crew so far again.

Last edited by thunderdeacon; Feb 13, 20 at 8:40 pm
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Old Feb 13, 20, 7:38 pm
  #1204  
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Originally Posted by thunderdeacon View Post
I just boarded AA flight 2536 MSY-DFW A319. Completely full. 44 people on the upgrade list. It appeared that at least half the flight boarded with groups 1-4. I was the second person to board with group 5, and I took one of the last overhead bin spaces in the back of the plane. It appeared that anyone in groups 6 thru 9 had to gate check their bags. I saw a lot of bags that were bigger than standard and lots of people bringing on more than they should have.

In this case enforcing the 1+1 rule would have been helpful.
This is exactly why strict enforcement is a good thing. It is a zero-sum game. For everybody who wants to lug a steamer trunk onboard because they are ever so important, there are some number of people who are forced to gate check.
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Old Feb 15, 20, 12:04 pm
  #1205  
 
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I got bag checked for my first time in 3 years of flying 2+ times a week from PHX-SJC last Sunday (second leg of my trip).

It was interesting. I was in group 1, they call for CK and a lady who had a bag of something that was obviously bought from within security along with a backpack and carry-on was stopped by a GA and told she had to consolidate or she wouldn't be allowed on the plane. I could hear the GA saying in a somewhat dismissive voice "I don't care, you need to consolidate or you can't board" (which yeah, technically true, but she could have been nicer about it). A supervisor walks up and says she's fine, let her go.

So I walk through when group 1 is called and as I'm getting my BP scanned the lady walks up and says "I need to check your bag in the sizer" and grabs my rollerboard from me (yeah I'm not exaggerating, I wish I were), I said something to the affect of "It's worked fine for the last 400,000 miles I've flown with AA." She places it in the sizer next to the BP scanner and stares at it (it's right at the lines) and the supervisor walks up again and says "It's fine, he can go" she said "I'm told I need to check these, but you keep telling me to let them go." The supervisor says "don't worry about it" and I grab my rollerboard and board the plane.
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Old Feb 16, 20, 12:56 am
  #1206  
 
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Originally Posted by seigex View Post
She places it in the sizer next to the BP scanner and stares at it (it's right at the lines) and the supervisor walks up again and says "It's fine, he can go" she said "I'm told I need to check these, but you keep telling me to let them go." The supervisor says "don't worry about it" and I grab my rollerboard and board the plane.
These are the ones that concern me... Glad the supervisor was reasonable and granted your luggage entrance!
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Old Feb 16, 20, 1:24 pm
  #1207  
 
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Samsonite Beck Ltd Domestic Carry-on

I am traveling to Florida in a few weeks with only my Samsonite Beck Ltd Carry-on. I have never traveled under AA before and was worried that my Carry-on was to big for AA measurements. When I measured it, it was 23, 14.5, 9.5 but the minimum is 22, 14, 9. Will my carry-on still work for AA, I dont want to invest in another carry-on.
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Old Feb 16, 20, 1:41 pm
  #1208  
 
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Originally Posted by vy_pham View Post
I am traveling to Florida in a few weeks with only my Samsonite Beck Ltd Carry-on. I have never traveled under AA before and was worried that my Carry-on was to big for AA measurements. When I measured it, it was 23, 14.5, 9.5 but the minimum is 22, 14, 9. Will my carry-on still work for AA, I dont want to invest in another carry-on.
most of the time if you are boarding from group 6 and up they'll ask you to gate check it because there are never enough space for carryons.
other than that you should be fine. worst case scenario if your bag is too big they'll check it in at the gate. it won't prevent you from boarding the plane.
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Old Feb 16, 20, 1:48 pm
  #1209  
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Originally Posted by vy_pham View Post
I am traveling to Florida in a few weeks with only my Samsonite Beck Ltd Carry-on. I have never traveled under AA before and was worried that my Carry-on was to big for AA measurements. When I measured it, it was 23, 14.5, 9.5 but the minimum is 22, 14, 9. Will my carry-on still work for AA, I don’t want to invest in another carry-on.
Carry-on requirements
  • Shouldn’t exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters (including handles and wheels)
  • Must fit in the sizer at the airport
If your items don’t fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, they may need to be checked. There may be additional carry-on bag restrictions at certain airports or on certain airplanes.
If they choose to size your bag you’ll be out of luck. If you board after Group 4, it’s quite possible your bag will be gate checked (you’d pick it up at the baggage carousel).
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Old Feb 18, 20, 10:07 pm
  #1210  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This is exactly why strict enforcement is a good thing. It is a zero-sum game. For everybody who wants to lug a steamer trunk onboard because they are ever so important, there are some number of people who are forced to gate check.
Well, no. Absurdities aside (steamer trunks), when bags are placed in the overhead bins wheels first, bags that are an inch too tall or an inch too thick don't take space away from anyone else's bag. It's not zero-sum except in silly cases where just eyeballing a bag shows its obviously way too big. Stop those.
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Old Feb 19, 20, 6:38 am
  #1211  
 
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Originally Posted by anabolism View Post
Well, no. Absurdities aside (steamer trunks), when bags are placed in the overhead bins wheels first, bags that are an inch too tall or an inch too thick don't take space away from anyone else's bag. It's not zero-sum except in silly cases where just eyeballing a bag shows its obviously way too big. Stop those.
An obvious fact that even United has realized. They are now going towards eyeballing the bag size

pennywise, pound foolish is a poor strategy; it gains nothing and just leaves everyone pissed off.
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Old Feb 19, 20, 7:53 am
  #1212  
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Originally Posted by anabolism View Post
Well, no. Absurdities aside (steamer trunks), when bags are placed in the overhead bins wheels first, bags that are an inch too tall or an inch too thick don't take space away from anyone else's bag. It's not zero-sum except in silly cases where just eyeballing a bag shows its obviously way too big. Stop those.
There are of course, limited times when it may be that the specific layout of the OH bin and the design of the bag are complementary and thus a slight excess won't really matter, but neither the GA nor most passengers know which specific bins fit that characteristic. Thus, there are rules.

Don't be fooled by the UA system. It was implemented solely as a means of avoiding FAA fines for failure to enforce its own policies. OH space is and remains a zero sum game (although there are certainly some extreme situations which the design of a particular bag and the particular bit of OH space happen to be complementary).
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Old Feb 19, 20, 8:13 am
  #1213  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Don't be fooled by the UA system. It was implemented solely as a means of avoiding FAA fines for failure to enforce its own policies. OH space is and remains a zero sum game (although there are certainly some extreme situations which the design of a particular bag and the particular bit of OH space happen to be complementary).
It isn't a zero sum game because there is space for air. We aren't stacking bags like UPS does onboard. And the sizer size vs every overhead bin in the AA fleet ensures that it is not a zero sum game; wasted space is guaranteed.
​​​​​​
As for the UA policy - whatever the motivation, it will work better than the one AA has.

If either airline was a freight operator, then sure. However given that we don't height restrict people for the same reason that we aren't perfectly stackable with no air gap, no need to do it for bags either.
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Old Feb 19, 20, 8:41 am
  #1214  
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I wish they'd enforced the rules on LAX-SFO on an E75 yesterday. I was 4th or 5th on board and, seated in 2A, had to put my roller 2 rows back in Y. Combination of oversized bags and people using overhead for bags that should have gone under seat. Pushback was then slightly delayed as FAs dealt with several rollers that were massively oversize and had been allowed on nonetheless.
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Old Mar 8, 20, 11:06 am
  #1215  
 
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115cm

So my cabin bag is H:55 W:40 D:20cm. Which is 115cm. Is this allowable? The sum of the dimensions is same as the 56 x 36 x 23cm American Airlines state, but it is narrower and a little wider.
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