American Airlines Carry On Size

American Airlines Carry On Size and Rules – Correct Personal Items in American Airlines

Are you looking to book a seat on one of the American Airlines flights, or have you booked an AA seat? In that case, you might be wondering about what can you carry with you inside the plane.  If you are planning for a business or personal trip or a vacation on an AA flight, then you need to know all about the American Airlines carry on size, AA baggage policy 2020-2021, carry on dimensions and restrictions, and personal items in American Airlines. 

You would be right to wonder – there are certain rules and regulations of American Airlines, and indeed of any airline company, about what you can or cannot carry on a plane. Today, we will help you understand about the American Airlines personal item size, carry on restricted items, rules about liquids etc. in this guide to AA personal items. 

American Airlines Carry On Policy Guide 

American Airlines allows 1 personal item and 1 carry on baggage in their flights with each passenger. Additionally, you can take 1 medical device, assistive device, or childcare baggage. We will discuss each category below. 

American Airlines carry on baggage 

Carry on baggage in AA can be like a bag, pack or briefcase that can fit in the overhead bin. Following are the rules and regulations concerning AA carry on baggage. 

american airlines carry on luggage
  • The maximum size of a carry on item in AA flights: 22” x 14” x 9” (56 x 36 x 23 cm). 
  • If the carry on is soft and can be folded into storage space, (like a soft-sided garment bag), then the maximum size of such bags should be less than 51” (130 cm) in total dimensions (length + width + height). 
  • These sizes will be measured including the bag’s handles and rollers – basically anything that will occupy space. 
  • For your convenience, there will be a sizer box in the airport. Your intended AA carry on bag must fit into that sizer box. If it doesn’t you will have to check it in.  
  • There are no weight restrictions on the carry on’s in AA – but you need to be reasonable. They certainly wouldn’t let you bring a few bricks in your backpack, for example. Keep your American Airlines carry on weight rational. 
  • American Airlines requires you to label your carry on bag the same way you need to label your checked baggage. 
  • Musical or sports equipment that you would have to bring with you are also considered as 1 carry on baggage in AA, and will have to fit into the sizer mentioned above. 

American Airlines personal items  

A personal item in AA are very small bag or packet that you can fit under the seat in front of you. This includes – 

  • Small pack 
  • Purse 
  • Small bag 
  • handbag 
  • And similar things 

There is one rule about American Airlines personal item size – they must be less than 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). 

Additional items in American Airlines 

The American Airlines will let you bring 1 more item, other than those two mentioned above. This American Airlines extra item is allowed only if you meet the following criteria: 

  1. If you are carrying an infant
  2. If you are a disabled person who needs special devices
  3. If you require a medical device attached to you at all times 

Therefore, the following are the extra things that you can bring with you on an AA flight and will not be counted as a “carry on” or a “personal item”: 

  • Jackets or coats 
  • Blanket 
  • Disability assistance devices like walking stick or crutches
  • Diaper bags (allowed only 1 per baby) 
  • Child safety seat (not the big ones, small enough to fit an airplane seat) or harnesses 
  • Small, soft cooler bags containing milk or beverage 
  • Small cams/binocs 

FAQ’s about American Airlines Carry On Luggage Policy 

What is called a “Carry On” in American Airlines?

Any small bag, briefcase, backpack or similar container that is too small to check in, or which contains items you may need on the plane, is termed as a ‘Personal Item’ or ‘Carry On’ baggage in American Airlines. 

How many personal items I can take with me on an AA flight? 

You are restricted to taking only one (1) personal item with you in the AA flights, as long as fits under the seat.  

However, accessibility, childcare or medical devices don’t count as carry on item for Americal Airlines. These include the following – jackets or similar garment, baby needs like diaper bags or breast milk containers, crutches, strollers etc. 

Can I bring pets with me on an AA flight? 

Yes, you can bring pets on an American Airlines flight. However, the animal must be securely enclosed in a travel kennel or similar container, will be counted as you AA carry on, and you will have to pay $125 per kennel. Note: Registered service animals are free of this charge. 

What can I bring inside my carry on bag or in personal item? 

Bring only what you would absolutely need on the flight, or immediately after leaving the airport. The TSA has a full list of things you cannot take on a plane, you must avoid those. Also, any container of fluid or cream-like item cannot be larger than 3.2 oz (100 ml). Meaning, the container (bottle or tube or jar) will have to be 100 ml in size, regardless of how much is left in it. 

American Airlines Checked Luggage Policies 

The following table shows how many bags you can bring in what class you have booked in American Airlines:

Which class? No. of Checked Bags?  Fees applied? 
First 3 (in 3-cabin plane) or 2 (in 2-cabin plane) No 
Business 2 (any plane) No 
Premium Economy 2 (any plane) (except to/from Alaska, Hawaii) No 
Main 2 (any plane) Yes 

American Airlines checked bags size and weight restriction 

  • Each checked bag must be under 62 inches (158 cm) in total dimensions (length + width + height).  
    • Any bag bigger than above will be considered an “Oversize Bag” in AA and extra fees for these bags will be applicable. 
  • Each checked bag must weigh under 50 pounds (23 kgs) overall. 
    • Any bag heavier than that will fall into AA “Overweight Bag” category and you will need to pay extra fees for those bags. 

American Airlines checked luggage rules 

  • You can bring up to 10 bags with you on an AA flight to check in. This is applicable on flights that are: 
    • Domestic
    • Transatlantic
    • Transpacific 
  • You can bring up to 5 bags only if your plane route/itinerary includes these regions: 
    • Mexico
    • Caribbean 
    • Central America
    • South America 
    • Brazil 
  • Only the first two bags or items will be considered as standard checked bags in AA, and from the third bag or item onwards they will be considered as Excess Luggage in American Airlines and extra fees will be charged. 
  • Multiple fees may be applied to one item if it falls into multiple categories. For example, a bag may be both larger and heavier than the standard regulation mentioned above; in that case, you will have to pay both oversize fees and overweight fees. 
  • Musical equipment in AA: if it can fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, then the instrument will be counted as a carry on or a personal item on AA flights, respectively. If not, then either (1) you have to purchase the seat next to you to keep the musical instrument, or (2) pack it safely and check it in.
  • In case (1), the instrument must be less than 165 pounds (75 kgs), and must fit in the sit safely. 
  • In case (2), the instrument should be smaller than 150” (381 cm) in total and weigh 165 pounds (75 kgs) or less.  
  • Fees for musical instruments follow the AA checked baggage fee structure as mentioned beneath, and will be categorized similarly. 

Other than the above, there are many different rules and fees for taking special equipment on AA flights. You should check this page to find out the exact rules for the item you want to transport. 

Attention! For traveling to and from Cuba, you cannot take more than 2 checked bags in any condition on an American Airlines flight. However, the weight limit here is raised to 70 pounds (32 kgs). 

American Airlines Checked Luggage fees 

Standard checked bags fees in AA 

Generally, AA takes $30 for the first bag and $40 for the second bag. However, this rule is widely varied depending upon what region your trip is taking you through. The following table depicts AA checked baggage fees in detail. 

American Airlines Checked Bags Fee Chart 

RegionStandard Checked bags Excess Luggage
Bag 1Bag 2Bag 3Bag 4 +
Domestic  $30  $40  $150  $200  
Mexico  $30  $40  $150  $200  
Haiti  $0  $70  $150  $200  
Cuba  $0 / $30  $0 / $40  $150  $200  
Caribbean (except above locations) $30  $40  $150  $200  
Panama  $0 / $30 $40  $150  $200  
Central America (except above locations) $30 $40 / $55  $150  $200  
Colombia  $0 / $30 $55  $150  $200  
Ecuador  $0 / $30 $40  $150  $200  
Guyana  $30  $40  $150  $200  
South America (except above locations $0 / $45 $65 $150  $200 
Transatlantic  $0 / $75 $100  $200  $200  
Transpacific  $0  $0  $200  $200 
* The prices after the “/” apply for basic economy class, for tickets booked after April 21 2020 or for flights in 2021. 

Note: The first checked bag in AA is always free if you are one of the following: 

  • AAdvantage Aviator and Citi / AAdvantage card members (on domestic AA flights) 
  • AAdvantage Gold member
  • Oneworld Ruby member 
  • Confirmed Business customer 
  • Confirmed Premium Economy customer 
  • AAdvantage® Platinum Pro 
  • AAdvantage® Platinum 
  • Oneworld® Sapphire members 
  • Confirmed First customers on 3-cabin aircraft* 
  • AAdvantage® Executive Platinum 
  • Oneworld® Emerald 
  • 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 

Learn more about “first bag free” in American Airlines flights here. 

AA overweight and/or oversize baggage fees  

Any bag you check in that is above 62 inches (158 cm) is considered an oversize baggage in American Airlines. They do not take bags that are larger than 126 inches (320 cm) – you will need to book special transport for that. 

Bags or equipment that are over 50 pounds (23 kgs) is considered an overweight luggage with AA. There are two fee slabs for overweight bags – 51 pounds (23 kgs) to 70 pounds (32 kgs), and 71 pounds (32 kgs) to 100 pounds (45 kgs). American Airlines will not accept anything heavier than 100 pounds. 

The AA fees for overweight / oversize bags varies depending upon which places your flight will go through. Following is the fee chart for American Airlines overweight / oversize luggage. 

AA Flight Stops Include AA Oversize AA Overweight
62” to 126”51 lbs to 70 lbs 71 lbs to 100 lbs 
USA internal, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Canada $200 $100 $200 
Mexico / Caribbean / Central America (except Panama) $200 $100 $200 
South America and Panama $150 * $100 $200 ** 
Europe $150 $100 n/a ** 
China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong Australia $200 $100 $450 ** 
* For AA tickets booked after November 4, 2019. If you had booked before that, you would have to pay $200 (except for Brazil). 
** This weight category is not accepted for AA flights to/from Cuba and Australia. 

American Airlines sports equipment fees and rules 

You can transport various kinds of sports equipment in an AA flight, like duffel bags, golf bags, diving gear, bicycles etc. They are subjected to the following regulations: 

  • Sports equipment size: Generally, the maximum size of sports equipment in American Airlines should be 126” (320 cm), and it can be at most 70 pounds (32 kgs) heavy.   
  • You have to declare the item specifically as a sports equipment, for a particular type of sport, for each bag or equipment to AA. 
  • The sports bag/pack must contain only sports equipment of that sport as you declared. 
  • If you don’t declare a something you check in as “sports equipment” specifically, then it will be treated same as a general baggage will be subjected to AA baggage fees and regulations mentioned above.  

Detailed American Airlines sports equipment rules and fees chart 

Sport Type Allowed items
and packing 
Prohibited Items Numbers allowed Size (length+
weight+
height)
Weight (slabs) Fee per checked item 
Antlers Trophy antler with skull, completely
clean, in safe
package  
– – – $150 
Archery Bow, quiver, arrows, maintenance kit – 1 set 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs General checked bag/ overweight bag fees  
Baseball Bats must be safely
packed within luggage,
Will consider as part
of normal bags 
– – – – – 
Bicycle Non-motorized,
compactly packed
in hard carrying
case 
– 1  126 in / 320 cm  Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150 
Bowling Bowling case with
3 balls &  shoes,  
Cleaners with high
acetone or more
than 70% alcohol 
1 case 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs General checked bag/ overweight bag fees  
Camping Packed tent, packed sleeping
bag, rucksack – each
will be considered
as 1 separate bag 
Stoves, Fuels,
Sterno, Matches,
Lighters, Flares 
– 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs General checked bag/ overweight bag fees  
Curling Curling bag or case including stone,
broom, sticks,
stabilizers 
– 1 bag/case 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs General checked bag/ overweight bag fees  
Fencing Bag or case containing foils, jacket, gloves,
mask, very securely
packed 
– 1 bag/case 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs General checked bag/ overweight bag fees  
Fishing Case with 2 rods&
1 reel, equipment
bag, tackle box,
net, boots,
waders (encased) 
– 1 rods case + 1 equipment bag or box = 1 checked item 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs General checked bag/ overweight bag fees. If any of the case/bag/box goes above size or weight, standard charges will apply 
Golf Golf bag with clubs,
balls, tees, 1 pair of
shoes 
Swing-less golf club load strips 1 bag 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150 
Hang gliding Glider packed in appropriate, protective case – – – $150 
Hockey bag or case with
hockey sticks,
equipment bag 
– 1 sticks set + 1 eq bag = 1 checked item  126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150. *  
Cricket bag or case with
cricket bats,
equipment bag 
– 1 bats set + 1 eq bag = 1 checked item  126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150. *  
Lacrosse bag or case with
lacrosse sticks,
equipment bag 
– 1 sticks set + 1 eq bag = 1 checked item  126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150. *  
Javelin throw Javelin, in
transport case 
– 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150 
Pole vaulting Pole, in transport
casing 
– 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150 
Kayaking / Canoeing Oars or paddles,
packed securely 
– 1 pair 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  General checked bag/ overweight bag fees 
Parasailing Packed parachute Compressed gas canister or such 1 pack 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  General checked bag/ overweight bag fees 
Scuba diving (with tanks) Scuba tank, equipment bag, scuba regulator, harness, gauge, fins, snorkel, mask, vest. Regulator parts must be completely disconnected from tank, cylinder must have opening to be inspected. – 1 set – – $150 
Scuba diving (without tank) Regulator, harness, pressure gauge, fins, snorkel, mask, vest – 1 set 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  General checked bag/ overweight bag fees 
Hunting or Shooting Hard, locked gun case with unloaded rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, up to 11 lbs. (5 kg) of ammunition securely packed, shooting mat, noise suppressor and tools. Loose ammo 1 case 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  General checked bag/ overweight bag fees **  
Skateboarding Board – 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  General checked bag/ overweight bag fees 
Skiing Ski set, pole set, boots, helmet, life preserver – 1 set + 1 eq bag = 1 checked item  126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150. *  
Snowboarding Snowboard with equipment – 1 set + 1 eq bag = 1 checked item  126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150. *  
Watersports Surf board, water ski, wakeboard, boogie board, skim board, paddle board, speed board, kite board. All attached parts must be removed and safely packed – 1 bag (may contain multiple items) 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  Standard checked bags fees up to 50 lbs, afterwards $150 
Tennis, Badminton, Racquetball, Squash Bag of rackets and balls – 1 bag (may contain multiple items) 126 in / 320 cm Up to 50 lbs; 51 lbs to 70 lbs  General checked bag/ overweight bag fees 
Windsurfing Board, mast, boom + sail – Any 2 of the items = 1 checked item – – $150 
* If equipment bag is overweight or oversize, then it will be considered 1 separate item and AA checked bag charges for such baggage will be applied, including overweight or oversize fees. 
** Plus $80 extra if to/from London. 

Restricted items in American Airlines flights 

To begin with, you cannot take anything that the TSA specifies as items restricted in air travel. Furthermore, FAA has another list of things you cannot take on a plane. You will absolutely have to abide by those rules or you won’t even clear security. Worse, you may even get arrested. 

Apart from the above, American Airlines has a list of things that you cannot take on their flights, or can take under some conditions. These are described in the table below. 

American Airlines Restricted Items Chart 

Item type Common items of
this type 
Allowed in carry on? Allowed in checked bags? Under what conditions? 
Alcoholic drinks (70% and above) Drinks with over 140
proof alcohol 
No No – 
Alcoholic drinks (less than 70%) Beer, wine, or other drinks
– fully packaged 
No Yes Bottle not opened, max 5 litres per head (or according to customs rules) 
Animal produce Meat, cheese, lard, sausages Yes Yes Not to Europe 
Batteries (good) 9-volt, AA, AAA, C, D, Alkaline,
Carbon Zinc, Silver oxide,
Zinc air, Lithium or lithium-ion*,
Nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal
hydride 
Yes Yes Batteries must be removed from device and placed in separate plastic bags. 
Batteries (damaged) Damaged cells, automobile,
aircraft or boat batteries 
No No – 
Batteries (embedded in devices) Batteries embedded inside
watches, calculators, cameras,
cell phones, computers and
so on 
Yes Yes 2 spares are allowed, individually protected. Conditions apply depending on the type of the cells. * 
Sharp instruments Knives, forks, razors, box
cutters, ice picks 
No Yes Plastic cutlery and safety razors allowed in carry on 
Defence sprays Mace, pepper spray, tear gas No No – 
Drones Drones for recreational uses Yes Yes Drone battery must be less than 160 Wh 
Dry Ice Dry ice for packing perishable
items food or drink 
Yes Yes Up to 5.5 lbs (2.5 kgs) only, packed securely in hard plastic or styrofoam, and declared at gate 
E-cigs Vapes, e-cigs, etc. Yes No Must be inside proper casing, cannot use in-flight 
Explosives Gunpowder, fireworks, flares,
swing-less golf club load strips 
No No You can carry the swing-less golf club as sports equipment if you don’t bring the strips 
Firearms Handguns, rifles, shotguns,
ammunition 
No Yes See sports equipment section above 
Flammable substance Fuel, paints, gas torches and
lighters, flammable glues 
No No – 
Gas-powered tools Gas-powered trimmers/shavers,
chain saws 
No Yes In mint packaging only 
Household items Bleach, Spray starch, Insecticides,
Drain cleaners, Solvents,
Aerosols, Oven or bathroom
cleaners 
No No – 
Hoverboards & scooters Hoverboards, Balance wheels,
Electric small scooters,
Intelligent scooters  
No No Not if Li-on powered or similar 
Matches and lighters * Matches, lighters, lighting
fluid, grill lighters 
Yes No – 
Marijuana Recreational or medical
marijuana 
No No – 
Mobility devices Electric wheelchairs with
spillable batteries 
– No – 
Personal Care Aerosol deodorant or hair
spray, Insect repellent, Perfume
or cologne containing alcohol, Nail polish or nail polish remover, Large bottles of acetone such as liquid nails etc. 
Yes Yes In checked bag: less than 16 oz in container, summing up to 70 oz. 
Pressurized containers Spray cans, Butane, Fuel, Propane tanks, CO2 cartridges, Self-inflating rafts, Recreational oxygen No No – 
Full-body PPE Personal face / full-body pod, Personal face / full-body tent, Stadium tent Yes Yes Cannot use in-flight 
Air purifier Portable electronic air freshener / purifier, Ozone generator Yes No Cannot use in-flight 
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 No No – 
Self-heating meals Flameless meal products such
as HeaterMeals, Meals
Ready-To-Eat (MREs) 
No No – 
Self-inflating life jackets Self-inflating life jackets No Yes One jacket, with up to 2 small CO2 cartridges only, but may get confiscated by TSA 
Small scissors and Tools * Metal scissors, Screwdrivers,
Wrenches, Pliers  
Yes No With special size restrictions 
Large tools Crowbars, drills, hammers,
saws 
No Yes – 
Smart bags Checked or carry-on bags with
charging devices 
Yes No Allowed as carry on item only if the battery is removed 
* Complicated rules apply for the following: Lithium-ion batteries, lithium-ion or lithium-metal cells inside devices, matches and lighters, scissors and tools. Please visit this page for details.

A Complete Packing Guide and Tips for American Airline Travelers 

If you’ve chosen an American Airlines flight as your ride, good choice! Here are some advices to make your AA travel smoother and better. 

American Airlines Baggage Tips 

  • Try to travel light and pack everything you must have in two bags that you would check in. 
  • Keep only a small bag or briefcase as a carry on.  
  • Keep only the items you must use on the flight or immediately after leaving airport. 
  • It’s better to send heavy or large things in mail to your destination, rather than travelling with them. 
  • Do check the TSA and FAA lists of restricted items before you pack. Also check the list of restricted items in American Airlines given above – you may be surprised to see something you thought perfectly common not allowed on their flights. 
american airlines carry on baggage fees not allowed items

A guide about packing for AA 

  1. Remember that you are allowed only the following when travelling on an AA flight: 
    • personal item (jacket, purse etc.) 
    • carry on (backpack, briefcase, handbag etc.) 
    • extra medical, childcare or assistive item (diaper bag, milk container, crutch etc.)
    • checked bags or cases (actually you can take up to 10, but at huge cost)
  2. Measure the sizes of your bags, suitcase, briefcase etc.  
    • Personal item size: 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm)
    • Carry on size: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) 
    • Checked bag sizes: 62 inches (158 cm) – sum of all sides 
  3. Check the list of restricted items to see if everything will pass through airport security. Above, we have discussed about items not allowed in American Airlines. 
  4. Make two heaps of items – the first for carry on bag and personal bag, the second for the checked bags. 
  5. Put only in-flight essentials in the first heap, and everything else in the second heap. 
  6. All containers, bottles, tubes with more than 3.4 oz (100 ml) size will go in the second heap. You can take smaller tubes and bottles (100 ml or less) in the carry on. 
  7. You cannot take bottles larger than 16 oz, or any more than 70 oz in total
  8. Fold and pack all your cloths properly, because this saves a lot of space. 
  9. Now pack your bags, spreading items around to cover as wide area in the bags as possible. Don’t just pile things on top of each other. 
  10. When done, weigh the bags on a home scale or something similar. 
  11. Are the bags under the AA baggage weight limits? The carry on and personal items don’t have any weight restrictions (as long as they’re reasonable), but the checked bags have to be under 50 lbs. (23 kgs) or else you will have to pay overweight fees, which are substantial. 
  12. If one bag is heavier than the other, try exchanging items between them to get them more even. You may have to discard something in order to get under the precise weight limit
  13. Very important – place info cards inside and outside all your luggage saying your name, contact and your AA flight information. It helps the airport people to sort them out, also very useful if you lose something on the way. 

That’s all about the best way to pack your luggage for American Airlines flights. We hope you found it useful. Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions using the comments section below. 

Scroll to Top