American Airlines Raises Checked Bag Fees

American Airlines Raises Checked Bag Fees

59

As predicted by @xJonNYC, American Airlines has just increased checked bag fees, creating a new record for bag fees among the legacy US carriers…

American Airlines significantly raises checked bag fees

American Airlines has updated its baggage page to reflect new fees for tickets purchased as of February 20, 2024. The airline has drastically raised the cost of checked bags.

For context, below is American’s new baggage fee chart, for tickets purchased as of February 20, 2024.

New American Airlines baggage fees

Meanwhile below is American’s old baggage fee chart, for tickets purchased through February 19, 2024.

Old American Airlines baggage fees

The one exception to the above chart is that the first checked bag fee for a domestic itinerary is “only” $35 if you pay for the bag online, in advance of your flight.

Just to highlight some of the most important points:

  • For travel within the United States, the cost for a first checked bag has increased from $30 to $40 (unless paying in advance online), while the cost for a second checked bag has increased from $40 to $45
  • For most short haul international travel, the cost of a first checked bag has increased from $35 to $45, while the cost of a second checked bag has increased from $40 to $45

As you can see, this represents a $5-10 increase on fees in many markets. While airlines have historically raised checked bag fees every so often in the past, it has almost always been by $5. Now we’re seeing a $10 increase on many kinds of checked bag fees.

As before, many passengers are entitled to free checked bags. In addition to first class passengers:

American has increased checked bag fees

Will other airlines follow American Airlines’ lead?

The major US airlines tend to follow one another. The last time we saw all the major US carriers match one another on increasing checked bag fees was backed in 2018. We’ve seen some minor adjustments since then, but nothing across the industry.

A few weeks ago, Alaska increased checked bag fees from $30 to $35 on the first checked bag on domestic itineraries. Now we’re not only seeing American match that, but surpass that, for those who aren’t paying in advance. Personally I think it’s highly likely that both Delta and United soon match American on this.

Will other airlines follow American’s lead?

Bottom line

American Airlines has just considerably increased checked bag fees. We’re seeing the cost of checked bags in many markets increase by $5-10 per direction.

I can’t say I’m surprised to see airlines trying to find new revenue sources, given how much their expenses have increased in the past couple of years. I suspect this won’t be the last change we see to checked bag fees in the coming weeks.

If American is going to bump checked bag fees, it would at least be nice to see the airline improve service associated with these bags, by introducing a 20-minute baggage guarantee, like we see at Alaska and Delta. However, I know that’s highly wishful thinking.

What do you make of American increasing checked bag fees?

Conversations (59)
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  1. Webby Guest

    I truly don't understand why carriers simply don't charge for carry-on bags and make checked bags free. They'd actually make more money and the gate stampede/lice and overhead fights would end. Boarding would be much more efficient and pleasant.

  2. John Guest

    @ConcordeFetus is on fire today....

  3. Johnny Guest

    As lifetime platinum I would like to see $10 tickets and $200 bag fees

  4. kimshep Guest

    Funny ! I can hear Southwest cheering loudly re: AA's luggage move.

    Although to be fair to AA - at least they left the fee restructure the same as the previous chart for long-haul international.

  5. Steven E Guest

    So more people trying to drag everything onboard creating problems for everyone and I mean everyone

  6. Bort Guest

    This will further increase demand for the limited space in the overheads.

  7. Lee Guest

    You will earn hotel loyalty program points if you book on the program's own portal or a designated agency portal. If you book on any other site, you will not earn hotel points. AA is moving to the same thing. Why should this be so shocking?

    For those who didn't read carefully, BUSINESS travelers will have separate rules. They are NOT going to be excluded out of hand. Everyone take a deep breath.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      It's shocking because you commented in the wrong post!!!!!

  8. Powerball Winner Guest

    Can't say I'm surprised. The amount of bags that I see that are almost as big as a small adult is insane. I'm sure the weight really adds to the flight and fuel burn too. Carry-on only club for life.

    1. Bort Guest

      I doubt that's the reason because there was already an overweight bag fee.

  9. Flyer Guest

    You missed that the bag fee is $5 lower when purchased in advance online. Pretty big oversight on your end.

    1. UncleRonnie Guest

      Great if you gave an American bank account. I couldn’t pay AA cabin bag costs in advance last summer on their website with a UK debit or credit card - their system doesn’t allow for a foreign zip code. Had to pay at the airport, so I’ll miss out on the discount this year.

  10. SamericanSMairlines Guest

    new or updated article to speak to the details of mileage and loyalty program changes

  11. Ben Guest

    WAIT THERE IS MORE -- Starting May 2024 - AA will no longer give you miles unless you book thru there website!
    Starting with tickets issued on May 1, 2024, we’re updating the way you earn AAdvantage® miles and Loyalty Points on flights depending on where you book.

    How to earn miles and Loyalty Points

    You’ll earn miles and Loyalty Points on flights when you:

    • Book directly...

    WAIT THERE IS MORE -- Starting May 2024 - AA will no longer give you miles unless you book thru there website!
    Starting with tickets issued on May 1, 2024, we’re updating the way you earn AAdvantage® miles and Loyalty Points on flights depending on where you book.

    How to earn miles and Loyalty Points

    You’ll earn miles and Loyalty Points on flights when you:

    • Book directly with American and our eligible partner airlines

    • Book travel anywhere as an AAdvantage BusinessTM member or contracted corporate traveler

    • Book through our preferred travel agencies

    UNREAL!

    1. Sel, D. Guest

      Rather this than devaluing miles. Gotta pay those greedy pilots somehow.

    2. sb Guest

      in my mind this is the real story here.

    3. Anna Guest

      If they cut off earnings to all OPM flyers who dont book via aa.com, that would be AWESOME.
      Hope other airlines follow

    4. George Romey Guest

      So does this mean business travelers that must use a corporate travel site such as CWT, Corporate Traveler or Navan won't earn LPs? Given the number of business travelers that are forced to use these
      sites by their corporate policies that won't go over very well.

    5. S_LEE Gold

      This is shocking to me. I must use SAP Concur for business trips. If it's not designated as "preferred agency program," I'll seriously ditch AAdvantage and switch to Alaska Mileage Plan. It sucks that I have to wait until the end of April to see which OTAs will be included in the preferred agency program.

  12. Yoloswag420 Guest

    Checked bags are a literal scam.

    Airlines take your money so that they can mishandle and destroy your property or lose it. So much evidence out there on this it's insane.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Resort Fee and Fuel Surcharge: Hold my beer!!!

  13. Pat Guest

    They last raised their bag fees to $35 in 2018. Increased to $40 in 2024 equates to about 2% annualized inflation, compounded annually. We know that the broader inflation rate has been higher during that span.

  14. Eric Guest

    First check bag will cost 35 usd if you pay for it online . $40 at the airport . Be more specific .

  15. Miadolphin Guest

    Still better than the $99 Frontier charges for a carryon (aka a duffel bag that's half an inch too big for their sizer) at the gate...

  16. Jerry Diamond

    I just don't understand why people check bags.

    1. James Guest

      Why don't you understand? If people are travelling for a week or so why wouldn't they need to check bags? I try and get it all into cabin baggage but it can be a struggle depending on how long you're away for.

    2. Babblespeak Guest

      Then you don’t travel much.

  17. Matt Guest

    The DOT should require that the displayed price of an airline ticket include a carry-on, 2 checked bags, and a seat assignment. This will stop the tricks by the airlines.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Why "should" they do that, when many people don't utilize such services?

  18. George S. Guest

    They have long considered Spirit to be their competition; therefore, going the Spirit route.

  19. jak Member

    Waiting now for the post about their unfavorable changes to earning loyalty points and redeemable miles that they just blasted out...

  20. Antwerp Guest

    Those who will have to pay these fees should, when boarding, ask the pilots if they are enjoying their new contract at your expense.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Those who will have to pay these fees should, when boarding, ask the pilots if they are enjoying their new contract at your expense.

      What an idiotic post.

      Here's an idea: if airline's board doesn't want their labor asking for a 40% raise, then don't give 40% raises to executives...

      ...especially after having asked the former to take a haircut to "save the company" multiple times over the last few years.

  21. Lee Guest

    Certain cabin classes receive free checked bags. BUT, irrespective of cabin class, if a person has AAdvantage Gold tier status, the person receives one free checked bag for each person on the same reservation. If a person has any AAdvantage credit card, it's the same. If a person has AAdvantage Platinum tier status, it's two free checked bags for each person on the same reservation. Let's not over-react.

    1. Antwerp Guest

      in 2022 U.S. airlines made $6.8B in checked bag fees. You make it sound like just a few people will be impacted. Clearly that's not the case.

    2. Lee Guest

      Correct. But, for Ben's average reader, this should not be an issue.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      @Lee

      But you are ignoring all the international travels that credit card would not cover the free bag.

      Let's not under-react.

  22. roger Guest

    I agree with UncleRonnie......it should be complimentary to Check a Bag and you Pay if you insist on bringing it onboard. Way too much luggage being brought onboard which makes boarding/deplaning time consumming.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      ^ This. Checked baggage should be "free," and carry-on should pay through the nose (barring medicine and other essentials).

      Would drastically speed up boarding/deplaning.

  23. Matthew Guest

    Why do people check bags in this day and age? Pack smart like a ninja. I fly 200,000 miles a year and haven't checked a bag even to Antarctica. Just be smart people you don't need all this stuff on your trips. Get elite status or learn to pack.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      I'm sure you smell delightful after a while. :-/

    2. Timtamtrak Member

      That’s simply not practical for everyone.

    3. AD Diamond

      Exactly. I refuse to let hotel laundries touch my expensive business attire because they're not going to replace a $200 shirt and I can't buy off the rack and get something that fits. So, 10 day business trip... that's at least two suits and ten shirts. Sure, I can get away with a handful of other items but that takes a lot of space. I'll carry on for up to about six days of business...

      Exactly. I refuse to let hotel laundries touch my expensive business attire because they're not going to replace a $200 shirt and I can't buy off the rack and get something that fits. So, 10 day business trip... that's at least two suits and ten shirts. Sure, I can get away with a handful of other items but that takes a lot of space. I'll carry on for up to about six days of business and two weeks of vacation becuase I can find a laundry on vacation. But after about a week for work it's in the hold -- and while I hate the risk of my bag being lost. It's awfully freeing to not drag my crap throught he airport.

    4. ImmortalSynn Guest

      "I'm sure you smell delightful after a while"

      That was my immediate thought, especially when going to a place like Atlanta, New Orleans, or anywhere in Florida. I'd sweat straight through a shirt in an hour, just due the humidity! No way I'm re-wearing clothes then, that's nasty.

  24. Alonzo Diamond

    Really simple. Stop checking bags unless you have to. I don't think I've checked a bag willingly in at least 6 years. Baggage handlers throw your shit anyway.

    1. James Guest

      But surely people only check bags because "they have too," otherwise they would just do carry on?

      People might be travelling for longer than a few days, have equipment, have to go to events with various clothing options, have a kid and need to carry all their stuff too.

      It's really simple why you would need to check a bag.

    2. Alonzo Diamond

      You'd think people who don't have to check bags wouldn't, but clearly they are checking bags too because they don't want to be bothered.

      For those traveling for 1+ week, equipment, ect. Those folks can afford $40 for a bag so idgaf.

    3. Eric Guest

      Don’t be surprise if they start weighing your carry on like European and South American Airlines . They do 15 pounds and your personal item must fit in their sizer .

  25. upstater Guest

    Repugnant corporate GREED. Wait until the US has a terrible incident like the A350 at Haneda and the stuffed bins and under-seat stowage will result in death. I flew a domestic Qantas flight last week and with free checked bags, handled promptly, the bins were close to empty.

    The FAA should mandate one free checked bad in the interest of passenger safety. More government regulation is needed.

    1. UncleRonnie Member

      Checked bags free, $40 for any bag in the overhead locker. :)

    2. Sel, D. Guest

      This is more likely due to pilot greed, but okay.

  26. Jim Guest

    They're just desperate to have Congress add regulation of ancillary fees to the FAA reauth, huh...

  27. Ben Guest

    I LOVE flying Delta bc the bags come out within 20 minutes -- or I get miles. AA cant get the bags out ANYWHERE in 45 minutes -- it's terrible -- even at its hub in DFW.

    1. jak Member

      You mean *especially* at its hub in DFW.

    2. ann Guest

      ah yes... you get 20 cents worth of skypesos...

    3. AD Diamond

      The miles may not be terribly valuable but it's an incentive to Delta to get bags to the belt quickly. They do fudge the 20 minutes -- I've received my "you just arrived and you'll have your bags in 20 minutes when I've been all the way down in the tunnel at ATL. But, I rarely have to wait more than a couple minutes. It used to take 45 minutes to an hour to get a bag at ATL.

  28. Christian Guest

    No doubt this is “Due To Customer Demand”.

  29. George Romey Guest

    After awhile passengers will smart up and lug their bag to the gate where the GA will be more than happy to check it for free.

    1. Redacted Guest

      Eh, that depends on a lot of factors.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

James Guest

Why don't you understand? If people are travelling for a week or so why wouldn't they need to check bags? I try and get it all into cabin baggage but it can be a struggle depending on how long you're away for.

3
ConcordeBoy Diamond

I'm sure you smell delightful after a while. :-/

2
Webby Guest

I truly don't understand why carriers simply don't charge for carry-on bags and make checked bags free. They'd actually make more money and the gate stampede/lice and overhead fights would end. Boarding would be much more efficient and pleasant.

1
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