American Airlines adds new checked bag, companion baby policies

Apr 29, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

American Airlines quietly introduced two new travel policies last week — one of which is a negative development for passengers, and one of which is an overall positive.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Under the first policy, the airline will charge passengers a checked bag fee if their carry-on bag does not fit in the gate-side bag sizer and is gate-checked.

Passengers who would normally be entitled to a free checked bag — including AAdvantage elites, passengers flying in a premium cabin, or certain co-brand credit cardholders — will still get the gate-checked bag for free.

The second policy change is a bit more obscure, but good news for those travelers who can benefit from it.

Previously, if a parent was traveling internationally with a lap-infant — a child under two, who could sit on the parent’s lap for about 10% of the cost of the parent’s ticket — was upgraded, then the basis for that infant fee would based be the new premium seat, potentially raising costs.

Now, American will not require them to pay the difference on the infant ticket — the cost stays the same, based on the originally purchased  seat — even if it was in a lower cabin.

Lap infants on domestic itineraries are still free.

More: Long airline hold times continue as Americans race to book spring and summer travel

Both policy changes were first spotted by the View From The Wing blog, and confirmed by TPG.

Featured image by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.