DFW Founders Plaza

American Airlines 777-200

I’ve had a few readers email me directly (you can always do that, by the way, at andystravelblog at gmail) with a few questions about this morning’s Basic Economy announcement.

The baggage policy for Basic Economy fares is one of the more complex aspects of the new offering, for two reasons:

  1. Most people don’t realize what the dimensions are for a “personal item”
  2. The press release stated that AAdvantage status holders and certain AAdvantage credit cardholders will be exempt from the baggage restrictions

So let’s cover it right now with information from this American page.

Dimensions of a “personal item”

Directly from the page linked above:

Carry-on items can’t be larger than:

  • 18 x 14 x 8 inches
  • 45 x 35 x 20 cm

Again, the penalty for having to check a bag is no longer just the checked baggage fee of $25 or $35, but if you’re caught with an item bigger than a personal item and have to check it at the gate on a Basic Economy ticket you’ll pay an extra $25 per bag.  I would bet a lot of money that American will have new sizers for personal items, so double-check your laptop bags and larger purses to make sure they’re compliant.

Which credit cards exempt you from the policy?

It’s a simple list, but if you have one of the following cards (or AAdvantage elite status) then you can still bring a piece of luggage on board (subject to typical carry-on restrictions) even if you purchase a Basic Economy ticket:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • CitiBusiness / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®


Hopefully that clears some things up for everyone!

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