American Airlines just announced a major update to its checked baggage policy that aims to make it easier for customers to understand exactly how many checked bags come with a specific ticket type.
This change goes into effect immediately for all tickets purchased from Feb. 23, 2021, and onwards. Starting now, all Premium Economy fares across the board will include two free checked bags, and all regular coach cabin fares on long-haul international routes will include one free checked bag. Baggage allowances for short-haul international flights remain the same.
“We want to make American the easiest airline to do business with,” said Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja in a statement. “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.”
Anyone who has ever tried to decipher which tickets and routes come with how many free checked bags will likely consider the airline’s new streamlined approach an improvement, though not all changes spell good news. Fliers on routes to Australia, New Zealand, and Asia will only be allotted one free checked bag instead of the previous two. However, these markets and flights to India and Israel will now have BasicEconomy and Basic Economy Plus Bag option.
What is the Basic Economy Plus Bag fare, you say? It’s basically a non-refundable, non-changeable Basic Economy fare that comes with one piece of checked luggage, and this is the first time it’s been offered—on any airline.
It seems that airlines are doing a little pre-spring cleaning to policies as American’s announcement came right on heels of last week’s JetBlue announcement stating that its Basic Economy fares will no longer include overhead bin space.
Luckily, American’s checked bag fees are fairly reasonable, starting at $30 to check your first bag domestically and topping out at $200 for a third or fourth bag on transatlantic routes. For more information about American’s new checked bag policy and checked baggage fees, visit the American Airlines checked baggage website.