American Airlines Bans Javelins, Pole Vaults, And Largest Luggage In New Checked Bag Restrictions

American Airlines raised checked bag fees on Tuesday and now charges more for bags than United or Delta. They’re highlighting, though, that they reduced their fees for overweight and oversized bags.

What American didn’t tell everyone about the modest giveback is that you can no longer take bags that are as big or heavy as before – at any price – and that they’ve banned some items they previously used to allow as checked luggage. Aspiring Olympians beware!

Effective April 17, 2024 – even for tickets that were already purchased before this policy was announced – passengers will no longer be able to check bags that are up to 126 linear inches. The new size limit is 115 linear inches, a 9% reduction. Musical instruments are exempt from this rule.

American Airlines also now forbids:

  • hang gliders

  • javelins

  • pole vaults

Here’s American’s internal memo on these new checked baggage restrictions:

United Airlines used to sponsor Team USA. Now Delta does. American Airlines seems to be telling pole vaulters headed to Paris in 2024 and LA in 2028 that they should stick to their team’s Official Airline.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Oh no! I’ll never get upgrades now at AA because of all the Javelin athletes rushing to book their flights!

  2. That could also affect ski bags and surfboard bags.

    With ski and snowboard bags, people pack a lot of gear into those bags as well (boots, jackets, pants, etc)

  3. I guess passengers will have to carry them on, instead. Except the pointy ends would make that a no-no. Hopefully, the ends can be detached, so they can go inside checked luggage, while the now-safe pole is carried on?

    Also, surely the prohibition applies to ski poles as well? As well as canes / walking sticks with pointy ends?

  4. @Zebratitis, exactly my thinking. Am now going to have to measure my skis bag. On a weekend trip I typically only take that and a backpack.

  5. I wonder if AA will exempt certain colleges and universities from this requirement. They fly a ton of college track programs and this change would force them to other airlines.

    It’s beyond time for Vasu to go over there.

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