Guide to AA’s carry-on policy for red-eye flights

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If you’re planning to take a red-eye flight on American Airlines in basic economy class, it’s useful to be aware of their carry-on policy to ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything that you need to know about American Airlines’ (AA) carry-on policy.

Carry-on baggage size and weight restrictions

AA allows each passenger to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item on board their flight. The carry-on bag must not exceed the following dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm). The personal item must be 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm) or smaller. Personal items, such as a purse or laptop bag, must be able to fit under the seat.  
You are also allowed to bring a soft-sided garment bag on board AA flights as your carry-on item, if it does not exceed 51 inches or 130 cm in length, width and height combined. 

AA also imposes weight limits on carry-on bags. The maximum weight for a carry-on bag is 40 pounds (18 kg). If your bag exceeds this weight limit, you will be required to check it in.  

There are no specific weight restrictions relating to personal items.

Exceptions to carry-on items restrictions

Certain items are allowed on board AA flights even if they exceed the carry-on size or weight limits. These exceptions include: 

  • Mobility aids such as wheelchairs or crutches 
  • Child restraint seats, diaper bags and strollers 
  • Diplomatic or military bags 
  • Musical equipment that fits in the overhead bin or under the seat 
  • Wedding dresses 

If you need to bring any of these items on board, be sure to inform AA in advance for a smooth boarding process. 

If you are traveling with a pet, the kennel or container that houses your pet will be considered your carry-on item, and the carry-on pet fee will be charged accordingly.

Valet service

During regional flights operated on small aircraft, limited overhead space may not allow for carry-on bags, and passengers may be restricted to bringing only a personal item on board. In these instances, AA provides a valet service (removing restricted items such as batteries and electronic cigarettes from any checked bags) at the gate where your carry-on bag will be checked for free.

Liquids on board

If you are carrying duty-free liquids, you can bring them through security in your carry-on bag, if they are packed in a security tamper-evident bag, as allowed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. However, if you are unsure about any item or have any concerns regarding liquids, it is best to contact the TSA for further information and guidance. 

Red-eye flight-specific policies

Broadly speaking, AA’s carry-on policies for red-eye flights are the same as their policies for any other flight. However, it’s important to note that certain red-eye flights may have specific policies regarding carry-on bags. For example, some red-eye flights may require all carry-on bags to be checked in due to limited overhead bin space. Additionally, some airports or planes may have additional restrictions on carry-on bags. 

To avoid any issues, it’s best to check with AA before your flight to confirm their specific carry-on policies for your red-eye flight.

Benefits of bringing a carry-on bag on a red-eye flight

While checking in your bags can be convenient, there are several benefits to bringing a carry-on bag on a red-eye flight. For one, you’ll have all your essential items with you throughout the flight, making it easier to access items such as headphones, medication, or a change of clothes. 

Also, bringing a carry-on bag onto a red-eye flight means that you won’t have to wait for your luggage at baggage claim upon arrival. This can be particularly beneficial if you have a tight connection or need to get to your destination quickly. 

Watch red-eye flight tips and learn everything you need to know about overnight travel.

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