American Airlines has today announced some updates to its baggage policy, as well as an expansion of basic economy to more markets. Here’s how Vasu Raja, American’s Chief Revenue Offer, describes these changes:
“We want to make American the easiest airline to do business with. To accomplish this, we are creating transparent fare products and policies that are consistent across our global network so customers can clearly choose their experience when they travel with us.”
What all is changing?
All premium economy tickets offer two free checked bags
For tickets issued as of February 23, 2021, all American Airlines premium economy tickets will include two free checked bags, regardless of the route or destination.
As a point of comparison, previously American offered premium economy passengers only one free checked bag in some markets (like for flights to Hawaii), so this is a wholly positive change.
American has increased the premium economy baggage allowance
Long haul main cabin tickets all offer one free checked bag
For tickets issued as of February 23, 2021, all American Airlines long haul main cabin tickets will include one free checked bag. This applies to all economy tickets booked in “main cabin,” which is everything except basic economy tickets.
This is a negative change — previously all long haul main cabin tickets received at least one free checked bag, while main cabin tickets to Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, included two free checked bags. So in this markets the free baggage allowance is being cut in half.
American has cut the baggage allowance for main cabin flights to some destinations
Basic economy coming to Asia & Oceania
American’s basic economy product offering has expanded significantly over the years, including to more markets. American Airlines will be introducing basic economy tickets on flights to Asia, India, Israel, and Oceania (that’s how American describes it, though I recognize that’s somewhat redundant, since India and Israel are both in Asia).
These basic economy tickets won’t be changeable, but they will include one free checked bag. American recently announced the elimination of change fees on everything except basic economy tickets, so the airline is clearly trying to reintroduce some kind of fares to these regions with change fees.
American basic economy is expanding to more regions
American Airlines is making some changes to its checked baggage allowance and basic economy tickets. The baggage changes for premium economy tickets are positive, the baggage changes for economy tickets are negative, and the introduction of basic economy to Asia & Oceania is… well, it depends on how you look at it.
What do you make of these American Airlines changes?