Your American Airlines Flight Just Got More Expensive

The airline has raised checked bag fees for the first time since 2018.

People with suitcases in line at the airport.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If exorbitant airline fees have you reconsidering your travel plans, we have some bad news: American Airlines just announced that it's raising prices on checked baggage

The new price structure, which marks the airline's first change since 2018, goes as follows:

  • $35 for first checked bags purchased online for domestic flights, including to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico (up from $30)
  • $40 for first checked bags on the same flights purchased at the airport (up from $35)
  • $45 for second checked bags on domestic flights 
  • $35 for first checked bags to Canada and short-haul international flights 
  • $45 for second checked bags purchased online or at the airport to Canada and short-haul international flights 

In a February 20 all Street Journal report, Scott Chandler, the airline's senior vice president of revenue management and loyalty, explained the reasoning behind the spike.

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“Fuel is a big component—obviously the more bags we carry, the more fuel you’re burning,” he said. “The cost of handling bags across the board, from real estate, machinery, et cetera, has gone up. This is trying to match that.”  

American Airlines did not immediately return a request for comment. 

It's not all bad news, though. American is simultaneously lowering the amount it charges for overweight luggage, kind of. Now, instead of $100 to $200, customers with bags that weigh between 50-53 lbs will be required to pay $30, while those with bags between 53-70 lbs will continue to pay the higher fee.

Troubles in the sky 

Despite the fact that overall, the cost of domestic travel went down in 2023, there have been many instances of overpaying, either in fees or time spent — including on American.

As Kiplinger previously reported, the airline was fined more than $4 million after the Department of Transportation (DOT) found it illegally made 5,821 passengers wait on tarmacs for hours at a time without letting them deplane. Spirit was required to pay more than $8 million over carry-on fees. 

On the flip side, many airlines have done away with flight change fees, a holdover from the drop in revenue during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As airlines continue to slap on additional flight fees, there are some steps you can take to avoid costly airline fees and make travel a bit more affordable. These include booking your flight as far in advance as possible to take advantage of free seat selection, booking your flight online rather than over the phone, which can incur a fee, or to pick airlines that don't charge for checked baggage.

And if you happen to be looking for some of the best places to visit where the dollar is strong, check out our list of the top-10 from the Americas and Europe to Africa and Asia.


Jamie Feldman

Jamie Feldman is a journalist, essayist and content creator. After building a byline as a lifestyle editor for HuffPost, her articles and editorials have since appeared in Cosmopolitan, Betches, Nylon, Bustle, Parade, and Well+Good. Her journey out of credit card debt, which she chronicles on TikTok, has amassed a loyal social media following. Her story has been featured in Fortune, Business Insider and on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS News, and NPR. She is currently producing a podcast on the same topic and living in Brooklyn, New York.