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If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful islands of Hawaii, there’s a good chance you’ll have a combination of checked bags and carry-on items to deal with on your flight.
Because of this, you’ll need to be up to speed with American Airlines’ checked baggage and carry-on policies. Specifically, the various rules and regulations for what you can and cannot “carry on” to the plane. Each airline’s rules are different, so don’t assume that what works for one will work for all airlines.
This article will cover the American Airlines Carry-On size and weight limits, as well as what you can bring on in terms of food, liquids, etc.
American Airlines Carry-On Size & Weight Limits
American Airlines allows each passenger one personal item and one carry-on bag at no charge.
American Airlines Carry-On Size & Dimensions
American Airlines’ size requirements for a carry-on are 22″ x 14″ x 9″.
If you aren’t sure what size your carry-on is, American Airlines has “size check templates” located at their ticketing counters and (occasionally) at the departure gates. But if you wait until you get to either of these locations and have an issue, it’s too late.
American Airlines Personal Item Size
American Airlines’ size requirements for a personal item are 18″ x 14″ x 8″. The item has to be able to fit under the seat in front of you.
Personal items are generally such things as a purse, briefcase, laptop computer, small backpack, etc.
Other items you can carry on with you
In addition to your one carry-on bag and personal item, you can bring the following items on board when flying American Airlines:
- A stroller
- A handbag or pocketbook;
- An overcoat, jacket, or wrap;
- An umbrella or walking stick;
- A camera and/or a pair of binoculars;
- A reasonable amount of reading matter for the flight; and
- Food (including baby food) for consumption on the flight.
American Airlines Carry-On Weight Limit
American Airlines limits the weight of your carry-on bag to 25 pounds.
Carry-On Guidelines for Basic Economy
There is no charge to carry a bag when you buy a Basic Economy fare. The carry-on rules are the same for all classes of service.
The main difference is with a Basic Economy ticket, you’ll be one of the last to board, so overhead space will be limited.
American Airlines Carry-On Liquid Policy
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), not by the airline. American Airlines doesn’t have its own specific Liquid Policy, they just enforce the rules and policies of the TSA.
It’s also important to note that the rules for bringing a “liquid” in your carry-on bag are different from the rules that govern what you can bring in your checked luggage.
Liquids in a carry-on bag must be 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit in a 1 quart-sized container. Anything larger must be placed in your checked luggage.
The TSA 3-1-1: (Rules for Carry-on Liquids)
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels, and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, mouthwash, deodorant, and lotion.
Any liquid that does not meet the TSA 3-1-1 rule will either have to be checked with your luggage or will be thrown away at the security checkpoint.
Here’s a video from the TSA to help illustrate this:
Exceptions to this rule are certain medications and baby food/child nourishment.
American Airlines Carry-On Food Restrictions
American Airlines follows the rules stated by the TSA regarding what type of food you can and cannot bring on the plane.
Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags. Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible.
The general rule is “If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it, then it’s considered a liquid or gel”.
This means things like yogurt, soup, jelly, and spreadable items like nut butter, cream cheese, and hummus are considered liquids and cannot be brought through security unless they are in a container of fewer than 3.4 ounces.
These rules apply to food you are bringing from home and taking with you through security. After you are through security, you can bring just about any food on the plane that you buy at the airport.
Prohibited and Restricted Items on American Airlines
There are certain items that are considered dangerous and classified as hazardous goods. These items are prohibited from both your carry-on and checked bag on all flights.
Hazardous materials include, but are not limited to Explosives, Gases, Flammable Liquids and Solids, Oxidizers, Toxic and Infectious Materials, Radioactive Materials, Corrosives, and many other items that can endanger the traveling public when not handled correctly.
The rules for restricted items are not specific to American Airlines. They are mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Here’s a video from the FAA to help illustrate this:
The Transportation Security Administration also has rules on “prohibited items” that pose a security threat. Though they sometimes overlap, the TSA security rules are separate from the FAA dangerous goods safety rules; go to the TSA Prohibited Items web page.
A complete list can be found on the FAA and TSA websites.
Please note, this is just a listing of common dangerous goods; if you don’t see your item here it doesn’t mean it’s allowed in baggage. When in doubt, leave it out!
American Airlines Carry-On Size & Fees
In summary, American Airlines doesn’t charge a fee for any carry-on items that meet their size requirements and restrictions. If your bag is too large, heavy, or doesn’t meet American Airlines’ carry-on restrictions, you may be charged a fee to gate check it.
Here is a link to American’s Carry-On page to make sure you have the most up-to-date information regarding what you can and cannot bring on the plane.