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American’s Reduced Baggage Allowance for Premium-Cabin Passengers

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Currently, American Airlines offers one of the most generous checked-bag policies for business and first-class customers, allowing those passengers to check up to three bags for no additional charge. As of March 29, that will no longer be the case. Why’s that? According to an AA spokesperson, “we’re making the change to line up our offerings with our US competitors.”

Beginning later this month, American will only allow premium passengers in two-cabin planes (including domestic first class and international business) to check two bags (up to 70 lbs. each) for “free” — that third bag will come along with an additional charge of $150 (ouch!), unless you’re a top-tier elite member.

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Once the change goes into effect, the following passengers will still receive a third free bag:

  • Confirmed first-class customers on 3-cabin aircraft
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum elites
  • Oneworld Emerald elites
  • Alaska Airlines MVP Gold 75K elites
  • Active U.S. military and/or dependents with ID traveling on orders (1st – 5th bags free of charge)
  • Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel

This policy change brings AA in line with its key competitors, including Delta and United — both of which permit all two-cabin premium passengers to check two free bags. However, Delta permits Silver Medallions and above to check three bags when traveling in business or first class, while United allows Gold elites and above to check three bags for free on any flight.

While this news is not nearly as upsetting as the devaluation hitting next week, it’s a disappointing change nonetheless.

How do you feel about AA’s baggage policy change?

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