American Airlines has a wide variety of policies for how many checked bags are offered free to customers. They’re simplifying their policies, which in a couple of cases means more free bags but in other cases means fewer.
They’re also adding basic economy fares to transpacific and Israel/India flights, but those fares will include a checked bag. So the major restriction is that these fares will not allow changes.
Here are the (3) changes American has announced:
- “All Premium Economy tickets will now include two free checked bags regardless of the
route.” Currently Alaska and Hawaii premium economy travel gets only one free checked bag, so a small win for customers heading to those two destinations.
- “Long-haul international Main Cabin tickets in all markets will include one free checked
bag.” Transpacific destinations go from two free checked bags down to one.
- “Customers traveling in Asia/Oceania will be offered a new nonchangeable Basic
Economy Plus Bag fare that includes one free checked bag.” Transpacific flights already get free checked bags, so this is just saying they’ll be selling Basic Economy on Asia Pacific routes plus Israel and India, but won’t be taking away a checked bag as part of that.
In addition American is pushing forward with their ‘new distribution capability’ to allow upsales through more points of sale. Starting today “a select group of pilot agencies” can offer “a Main Plus experience, which includes an extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra or Preferred Seat, an additional free checked bag, and Group 5 boarding” as well as “a Corporate Experience offer, which includes a preferred seat and priority privileges for Business Extra customers” on domestic American-operated flights.
Changes to American’s checked bag fee allowances aren’t taking anything away from business or first class customers, or from elite frequent flyers and co-brand credit card customers, who will continue to receive their customary extra baggage allowances.
What would be more helpful that simplification of course would be for American Airlines to take a competitive page from partner Alaska Airlines and competitor Delta and offer a 20 minute bag delivery guarantee so that customers don’t sit and wait for checked bags on arrival. American does track 20 minute bag delivery times but hasn’t ever been willing to guarantee them.