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If you’re planning to travel with just a carry-on, you’ll need to be up to speed with airline carry-on policies. Specifically, the various rules and regulations each carrier has for what you can and cannot “carry-on” to the plane. Each airline’s rules are different, so don’t just assume that what works for one will work for all airlines.
Here are the American Airlines Carry-On rules that you need to be aware of:
American Airlines Carry-On Rules and Bag Guidelines
American Airlines allows one personal item and one carry-on bag at no charge.
Carry-On Rules for Basic Economy Fares
There is no charge to carry a bag on when you buy an American Airlines Basic Economy fare. The carry-on rules are the same for all classes of service. However, with a Basic Economy ticket, you will be one of the last to board, so overhead space will be limited.
American Airlines Personal Item Size and Fees
Personal items include a purse, briefcase, laptop, backpack, shopping bag or a similar sized item. Dimensions should not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm).
Diaper bags (1 per child), soft-sided cooler bags with breast milk, child safety seats, strollers and medical or mobility devices don’t count as your personal item or carry-on.
American Airlines Carry-On Bag Size and Fees
American Airlines’ size requirements for a carry-on are 22″ x 14″ x 9″.
If you aren’t sure what size your carry on is, American typically provides “size check templates” located at their ticketing counters and departure gates. But if you wait until you get to either of these locations and have an issue, it’s too late.
Soft-sided garment bags up to 51 inches / 130 cm (length + width + height) can also be taken as your carry-on item.
American Airlines Carry-On Weight Limits
As a rule, American Airlines does not impose weight restrictions with a carry-on bag.
Carry-On Rules for Small Regional Aircraft
American Airlines regional aircraft have limited overhead space. If your carry-on is larger than the personal item dimensions, you must gate check your bag before boarding.
Carry-on bags within American Airlines’ size restrictions will be gate checked, free of charge, during the boarding process and returned upon deplaning. Depending on the time of year and where you are flying to, this will give you the opportunity to hang out with 50 of your newest friends in either a steaming hot or freezing cold jet bridge. Fun!
Despite this “official rule” there are some bags you can carry on to a regional jet. Check out this article on the best carry-on luggage for regional jets.
There are certain items that are considered dangerous and classified as a hazardous material. Dangerous goods are prohibited from both your carry-on and checked bag on all flights. These rules are not specific to any airline and are mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
American Airlines Carry-On Liquids
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the TSA and FAA. American Airlines doesn’t make the rules, but they must enforce them.
The TSA 3-1-1 Rule
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.
Any liquid that does not meet the TSA 3-1-1 rule will either have to be checked with your luggage or will be thrown away at the security check point.
Here is a little video to help illustrate:
American Airlines Carry-On Food
There are two different scenarios pertaining to food:
- Food you bring with you from home, and
- Food you buy at the airport, after you have gone through security.
An important thing to note is the classification of liquid vs. solid foods. The general rule is “If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it, then it’s considered a liquid or gel”. This means your food may be considered a liquid and will fall under the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule, which mandates that any liquid, gel, cream, aerosol, or paste in a carry-on must be 3.4 ounces or less, and fit in one quart-size resealable bag (only one such bag is allowed per passenger).
Here’s a link to the TSA website advising what food can be brought with you on your American Airlines flight. This applies to food you are bringing from home through security. Once you get through security, you can bring just about any food on the plane that you buy at the airport.
American Airlines Carry-On Pet Policy
On American flights you can bring 1 kennel as your carry-on bag if:
- You pay the carry-on pet charge
- Your pet stays in the kennel and under the seat in front of you the entire flight
You can travel with your pet carrier and one personal item, but you won’t be permitted to bring a carry-on bag in addition to a pet carrier and personal item. Instead, the kennel will replace your carry-on bag.
Carry-On Pet Fees
Here is a chart showing the pet fees American Airlines charges each way. Double them for a round trip flight.
|To/From Destination||Pet Fee Each Way|
|Within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean (based on specific country’s entry policy)||$ 125.00|
Service animals has some separate guidelines. Here is a link to AA’s service animal rules.
TSA Approved Pet Carriers
American Airlines Carry-On Fees
American Airlines does not charge a fee for carry-on baggage that meets their size requirements. If your bag is too large and does not meet American Airlines’ carry on restrictions, you may be charged a fee to gate check it.
Here is a link to American’s Carry-On page to make sure you have the most up to date information.