August 5, 2023

American Airlines Carry-on Policy: Is American Airlines Strict with Carry-on Size and Weight?

Bringing items on a AA doesn’t require you to check them as baggage. American Airlines limits the number, size, and contents of carry-on bags for passengers’ safety and comfort.

When flying with American Airlines, passengers are limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item. The size of a carry-on must not exceed 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches. A laptop case, purse, small backpack, or briefcase are considered personal items. The weight of both a carry-on and personal item may not exceed 40 pounds and both must fit under a seat or in an overhead bin. Domestic and international flights are covered by this policy.

American Airlines Carry-on Policy: All you need to know

Per passenger, American Airlines allows one carry-on bag and one personal item. Carry-on bags must fit in overhead bins. It is necessary to check in any bag that cannot fit in the overhead bin.

 Carry-on bagPersonal item
Max dimensions22 x 14 x 9 inches 
(56 cm X 36 cm X 23 cm)18 x 14 x 8 inches 
(45 cm X 35 cm X 20 cm)  
Max weightNot specifiedNot specified
Allowance1 carry-on bag (fee free)1 personal item (fee free)

The weight limit for carry-on bags is not specified in any of American Airlines’ fares. Make sure your carry-on bag doesn’t exceed the size limit.


In terms of checked bags, unless you qualify for one of their mileage or credit card perks, the first checked bag costs $30, the second $40, the third $150, and the fourth $200.

Per passenger, American Airlines (AA) allows 1 carry-on bag and 1 personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop bag) free of charge.

It is recommended that carry-on luggage does not exceed the following dimensions and weights:

  • With handles and wheels, it measures 45 linear inches (22 x 14 x 9 in) or 115 centimeters (56 x 36 x 23 cm).
  • It fits in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.
  • Make sure that your personal item fits under the seat in front of you
  • Jackets, umbrellas, diaper bags, duty-free items, and assistive devices (wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, strollers, child restraint seats, etc.) do not count as carry-ons.

Note: Under-seat storage is not available for bulkhead seats, so carry-on luggage must be stowed in the overhead bin.

American Airlines allows you to carry on certain carry-on items without paying an additional fee if you are traveling with small children.

This includes:

  • Child restraint seat
  • Diaper bag
  • Baby stroller

You may also carry the following items onto the plane at no charge that are not considered personal items or carry-ons:

  • Wheelchair or other mobility devices
  • Medical Devices
  • Duty-free items in a security tamper-evident bag

American Airlines Carry-on Policies for Special Items

Cremated human remains are considered carry-on baggage when traveling. Documentation is not required if you are traveling within the country. For international travel, you should consult a local consulate or a burial advisor since regulations may vary from country to country.

Musical instruments can be carried on American Airlines flights as carry-on items. To do that, make sure the instrument fits in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. In general, musical instruments can be carried on as carry-on items based on a first-come, first-served basis. In the event that your instrument can’t fit in your carry-on bag, you can purchase an additional seat in which the seat bag cannot exceed 165 pounds (75 kilograms).

A maximum of two small portable speakers or one sound bar can be taken on board as personal items, and the total number of items is based on both your carry-on and checked bags.

What is American Airlines’ policy on carry-on liquid items?

American Airlines follows the (TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for carry-on liquids) Passengers may carry 3.4 ounces or smaller containers containing liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in a quart-sized bag. For faster check-in, keep these items in a small bag separate from your carry-on.

What is the size restriction for carry-on bags on American Airlines?

American Airlines carry-on dimensions should be no more than 22 inches X 14 inches X 9 inches (56 cm X 36 cm X 23 cm), including handles and wheels. All carry-on must fit the sizer at the departure gate. If the bag does not fit in the sizer, it will need to be checked.

  • Carry-on bags must meet American Airlines’ size requirements and adhere to its rules.
  • Your carry-on may be checked and penalized if it is oversized.
  • If the flight is busy, it is especially likely to happen.
  • It’s all down to the ease of movement in the aircraft in the event of an emergency, which is why the dimensions exist.
  • It ensures that the airline stays in compliance with safety regulations, as well as preventing passengers from fighting for space.

On American Airlines, can I bring a backpack and a carry-on bag?

As long as they meet the size requirements, American Airlines will allow you to bring a backpack as a personal item and a carry-on bag.

When it comes to American Airlines, is a backpack considered a personal item?

American Airlines considers a backpack a personal item if it meets the required dimensions of 18 x 14 x 8 inches. You should be able to fit it under the seat in front of you.

Restricted Items on American Airlines

Besides materials banned by the TSA, American Airlines does not allow passengers to bring alcohol on board in carry-on luggage. There is a limit to the amount of alcohol that can be checked in baggage. Passengers can bring any amount of alcohol that is less than 48 proof and as much as 5 liters that is between 48 and 140 proof, as long as the country of destination allows it. Alcohol over 140 proof is not allowed.

American Airlines Carry-On Requirements for Pets

Only cats and dogs are allowed on American flights within the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Hawaii flights may not carry pets. You must carry your pet in a carrier that is no more than 19 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 9 inches high. During the flight, the pet cannot be removed from the pet carrier. Pet carriers are considered carry-on bags and require additional fees.

American Airlines Carry-On Requirements for Checked Pets

On flights in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, pets older than 2 months can be checked as baggage for transportation in the cargo compartment. Contact American Airlines Reservations for information about transporting pets overseas. Pets are not accepted as reservations, and they are checked for an additional fee on a first-come, first-served basis. There must be a water container in the kennel that can be refilled by airline staff for pets. Whenever the ground temperature reaches 85 degrees F in any of the cities where the flight is scheduled to stop, American Airlines will refuse to check pets. Airlines may have additional restrictions for certain breeds and destinations.

American Airlines Carry-On Requirements for Sports Equipment

Sports equipment can be checked in with American Airlines. In addition, the maximum weight must be less than 70 pounds or 32 kilograms, and the total dimension must not exceed 126 inches or 320 centimeters. It is also subject to the size of the airplane and the amount of cargo space available, so it is wise to check with the airline before purchasing a ticket. The bag will be counted as one checked-in bag.

Sports equipment allowed includes:

  • Bow, quiver, and arrows
  • Baseball bats
  • Bicycle
  • Bowling Balls and case
  • Camping equipment (without camping stove, fuel, Sterno, matches, lighters, or flares)
  • Curling equipment
  • Fencing equipment
  • Fishing
  • Golf clubs
  • Hang gliders
  • Hockey, cricket, and lacrosse equipment
  • Oars and paddles
  • Scuba gear
  • Skateboards
  • Skis
  • Tennis, badminton, squash, or racquetball
  • Windsurf

Be sure to check out American Airlines’ liability limitations in regard to hauling sports equipment.

American Airlines Carry-On Requirements for Musical Instruments

American Airlines accepts small musical instruments as carry-ons on a first-come, first-served basis. Ideally, the item should fit under your seat or in the overhead bin. The bag will count as your carry-on.

The instrument must be no bigger than 150 inches or 381 centimeters and no heavier than 165 pounds or 75 kilograms in order to be checked in. A bag like this will count as one checked-in bag.

To take the instrument on board, you will need to buy an extra seat at full cost if you do not feel comfortable checking it in.

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

As far as American Airlines is concerned, any bag, briefcase, backpack, or similar container that’s too small to check in, or that contains items you might need on the plane, is referred to as a ‘Personal Item’ or ‘Carry On Baggage’.

How many bags can you carry-on American Airlines for free?

Customers are permitted 1 free carry-on, the details about size and weight limit are mentioned above.

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

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

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

Can I bring pets with me on an American Airlines flight?

Pets are allowed on American Airlines flights. As long as the animal is securely enclosed in a travel kennel or similar container, it will be counted as your American Airlines carry-on, and you will have to pay $125 per kennel. This charge does not apply to registered service animals.

What can I bring inside my carry-on bag or as a personal item?

You should only bring what you absolutely need for the flight or after you leave the airport. TSA has a list of items you cannot take on a plane; you must avoid them. It is also prohibited to use containers larger than 3.2 oz (100 ml) for fluids or creams. The container (bottle, tube, or jar) must have a 100 ml capacity, regardless of the remaining contents.

Below is a table with all American Airlines checked bag fees, depending on destination.

American Airlines US Domestic Flights Baggage Fees

  • 1st Bag – $30
  • 2nd Bag – $40
  • 3rd Bag – $150
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each


  • 1st Bag – $30
  • 2nd Bag – $40
  • 3rd Bag – $200
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each


  • 1st Bag – $30
  • 2nd Bag – $40 (Increased to $55 peak season for SAP, TGU and PAP)
  • 3rd Bag – $200
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each

Exception: Cuba – Effective 2023, the government of Cuba has removed its 2-bag restriction on international commercial flights.

On flights to/from Cuba, different baggage rules apply. Since March 14, 2023, baggage fees have increased significantly, including the cost of a second bag when flying to Cuba (previously $65, now $150, and increasing to $200 on Jan 10, 2024). The amount you’ll be charged depends on whether your flight is one-way or round-trip, as follows. This applies to all flights to/from Cuba, including those from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, Canada, and the Caribbean.

  • One-way to Cuba – 1st Bag $30, 2nd Bag $150 ($200 after January 10, 2024)
  • Round-trip to Cuba – 1st Bag $30, 2nd Bag $150 ($200 after January 10, 2024). Free on the return flight.
  • One-way from Cuba – 1st Bag Free, 2nd Bag Free
  • Round-trip from Cuba – 1st Bag Free, 2nd Bag Free (1st Bag Free on return, 2nd bag $150 on return, $200 after January 10, 2024)

Exception: Haiti – On flights to Haiti, the first bag costs $30, a 2nd bag will cost you $65 USD. All other baggage fees are the same.

Central America

  • 1st Bag – $30 ($45 to/from Panama)
  • 2nd Bag – $65 (some exceptions apply)
  • 3rd Bag – $200
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each

South America (Including Brazil), except Guayana, Suriname

  • 1st Bag – $0 ($45 for Basic Economy Passengers)
  • 2nd Bag – $65
  • 3rd Bag – $200
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each

Special prices for American Airlines flights to/from Guyana, Suriname

  • 1st Bag – $30
  • 2nd Bag – $40


  • 1st Bag – $0 ($75 for Basic Economy Passengers)
  • 2nd Bag – $100
  • 3rd Bag – $200
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each

Between Israel and North/South America

  • 1st Bag – $0 ($75 for Basic Economy – effective June 7 2023)
  • 2nd Bag – $100
  • 3rd Bag – $200
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each

India, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia (transpacific), New Zealand

  • 1st Bag – $0 ($75 for Basic Economy – effective June 7 2023)
  • 2nd Bag – $100
  • 3rd Bag – $200
  • 4+ Bags – $200 each

1st checked bag is complimentary for:

  • Eligible AAdvantage® Citibank card members (on Domestic American Airlines flights only)
  • Eligible US Airways MasterCard® and US Airways Visa® card members (on Domestic US Airways flights only)
  • AAdvantage Gold
  • oneworld Ruby
  • Alaska MVP members

1st and 2nd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • AAdvantage® Platinum
  • oneworld® Sapphire members
  • Alaska Airlines MVP Gold
  • Confirmed Business Class customers*

1st, 2nd and 3rd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • AAdvantage® Executive Platinum
  • oneworld® Emerald
  • 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

American Airlines Overweight Baggage Charges 2023


  • 50 lbs./23 kgs – 70 lbs / 32 kgs – $100
  • 70lbs./32 kgs – 100 lbs / 45 kgs – $200
  • Mexico / Caribbean / Central and South America (Including Brazil)
  • 50 lbs./23 kgs – 70 lbs / 32 kgs – $100
  • 70lbs./32 kgs – 100 lbs / 45 kgs – $200 (Not accepted to/from Cuba)
  • Transatlantic (Europe)
  • 50 lbs./23 kgs – 70 lbs / 32 kgs – $100
  • 70lbs./32 kgs – 100 lbs / 45 kgs – Not Accepted
  • China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia (Transpacific)
  • 50 lbs./23 kgs – 70 lbs / 32 kgs – $100
  • 70lbs./32 kgs – 100 lbs / 45 kgs – $450 (Not accepted to/from Australia)

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.

Bags over 100lbs / 45kg will not be accepted as checked baggage.

American Airlines Oversize Baggage Charges 2023

An oversize baggage charge applies for all bags larger than 62 in / 158 cm. Baggage larger than 126 in / 320 cm will not be accepted as checked baggage.

  • Domestic – $200
  • Mexico / Caribbean / Central – $200
  • South America and Panama – $150
  • Transatlantic – $150
  • China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Australia (Transpacific) – $200
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