American Airlines Announces New Baggage Fee for Select Fliers

The airline is doing away with free checked baggage on all basic economy international flights, effective immediately.

Four American Airlines planes at gates

Basic economy travelers heading overseas have another fee to contend with.

Photo by Shutterstock

Booking an international flight with American Airlines just got costlier for those who book the most cost-conscious seats—that is, if you’re not a carry-on-only kind of traveler. The airline this week announced it would apply a $75 fee for the first checked bag for basic economy tickets on all transoceanic flights, effective immediately.

“With this change, our Basic Economy product will include all of the same features whether a customer is purchasing it for a domestic or international itinerary,” American Airlines said in a statement.

Previously, American Airlines charged $75 for domestic and transatlantic flights, so the change only affects transpacific flights to Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Those who had already purchased a basic economy ticket on a transpacific flight prior to the announcement will still receive one free checked bag. Frequent fliers with elite status will also continue to receive a complimentary checked bag on basic economy fares.

The prices for second and third checked bags ($100 and $200, respectively) remain unchanged.

At this time, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are continuing to allow for a free checked bag on transpacific flights for all fare classes. All three legacy carriers charge $75 for the first checked bag on transatlantic flights.

American Airlines’ basic economy fares are not eligible for free flight changes (as are other classes of service) and do not include the option to choose a seat. A seat can be selected for an added fee or will otherwise be assigned for free (there’s no guarantee traveling companions will be seated together—though the airline states it will automatically try to keep families traveling with children under 15 together).

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at AFAR. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More from AFAR