How to Get Free Checked Baggage on Major U.S. Airlines

Here are the baggage fees for each US Airline.

American Airlines

american airlines checked baggage us airlines

On September 21, 2018, American Airlines joined other major airlines to change their checked baggage policies. Currently, the prices have risen $5 for both the first and second checked bag when traveling domestically and to some international destinations.

Baggage Fees

  • First bag: $30
  • Second bag: $40
  • Maximum weight: 50 lb.

If you purchase a basic economy flight domestically, your first bag is $30 and the second bag is $40 for both ways.

American Airlines also charges for the first and second bag on flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America (except Panama). For transatlantic flights, basic economy flights incur a $60 baggage fee for both ways. The second bag will cost $120.

The maximum weight for all bags is 50 pounds.

How to Avoid American Airlines Baggage Fees

When you purchase a basic economy flight, you’re looking at spending at least $60 total for checking in a bag. However, there are a few specific ways to avoid these fees with American Airlines.

Premium Ticket

Purchasing a business or premium economy ticket will get you to fly with two bags for free. This rule applies to all flights, domestic, and transatlantic flights. First class customers can travel with three bags for free.

Credit Cards

American Airlines offers a few credit cards that provide waived baggage fees. Most of these credit cards give the cardholders and family members on the same reservation one to three checked bags for free. These cards are:

  • Citi/ AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
  • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

Elite Status

If you’re a loyal customer to American Airlines and you rack up miles with them, being a part of one of their four elite status programs is a great way to avoid paying for your bags.

American Airlines has four elite status programs that offer different baggage fee waivers.

  • AAdvantage Gold and oneworld Ruby: Waives the first bag
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Platinum, and oneworld Sapphire: Waives the first and second bag for travelers and their family members
  • Executive Platinum oneworld Emerald: Waives the first three checked bags.

Elite Status eligibility is calculated by combining your EQM (Elite Qualifying Miles), EQS (Earned Qualifying Segments) and EQD (Earned Qualifying Dollars). The eligibility requirements are:

  • Ruby-  25,000 EQMs, $3,000 of EQDs and 30 EQSs
  • Platinum oneworld Sapphire– 50,000 EQMs, 60 EQSs and $6,000 of EQDs.
  • Platinum Pro oneworld Sapphire- 75,000 EQMs, 90 EQSs and $9,000 EQDs.
  • Executive Platinum oneworld Emerald- 100,000 EQMs, 120 EQSs and $15,000 EQDs.

Special Circumstances

There are several exceptions to American Airline’s baggage rules:

  • Active US military and their dependents can travel with up to five bags for free with their military ID and a travel order. When flying for personal reasons, an active US military and their dependents can get up to three bags for free.
  • Any medical and mobility devices are free to check in.
  • Booking a trip that originates in Cuba will get you a free checked bag.
  • You can check a travel stroller and a car seat for free.