American Airlines Will Allow Passengers To Check Bags On Longer Connections

American Airlines now allows passengers to check bags to their final destination even when their connections are exceptionally long. They used to only allow bag checks all the way through on connections under 12 hours. That’s now been increased to 16.5 hours, and this new rule applies not just to American Airlines travel, but also when checking a bag in with American Airlines and connecting onto one of their airline partners.

That means passengers on very long connections, such as short overnight connections, won’t have to collect their bags at their connecting city, and then re-check in those bags the next day. And it may save some passengers from having to pay a second bag fee.

Twelve hours is a common rule. I once had to ask for an exception from Thai Airways on a 14 hour overnight connection during a weeks-long trip, where I had everything I needed in my carry on and didn’t want to deal with my checked luggage. They made the exception for me as a first class passenger, but it wasn’t policy (and I worried about the bags just a little bit).

It used to be though that a 12 hour connection would allow you to short-check a bag, so you wouldn’t have to send it to your final destination, which was perfect for throw away ticketing (booking to a destination beyond the city you want to travel to, when flights to the connecting city are less expensive). Normally you can’t do this with checked bags, but a long enough connection was a workaround. Such long connections used to usually only be permitted on international itineraries, but are now allowed (and more common) on domestic award bookings.

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. I recently had a 19 hour (4 am-9 pm) international-international connection in Bogota from Air Canada to Aviana. On checking in in Montreal, they just automatically checked the bag through without it even being requested. Similarly, I had a 15 hour international-international connection in Istanbul from Turkish to Turkish and they also automatically checked the bag through without it being requested.

  2. @Gary,
    Would checking through to the final destination be required for say a 14-hour connection? There are times I would like to collect my bag.

  3. It feels like this just increases the chances of the bags being lost. I will face this in MIA in April on my way to LIM. I will want to collect my bag in MIA and recheck the next morning.

  4. Good to learn American Airlines is now offering more customer-friendly passenger interline baggage policies. American Airlines is getting better every day.

  5. AA is only offering this because pretty much every sAAver award (if even available) now involves an insane 12+ hour/overnight layover

  6. Because of people who still do throw-away ticketing, people like me, who, at certain airports, would rather transfer my bag between carriers than trust the airport (looking at you, BA @ LHR), get significant pushback from check-in agents.

  7. Had to be forced to check mysmall roller carry-on bag on AA recently Charlotte to Providence even tho it fits under the seat(esp in FC) all of the time on all CRJ’s..But FA said NO ROLLER-BAGS allowed ON BOARD and refused to let me even show her it would fit.. Of course it was raining and my brand new carry-on sat on the tarmac and got wet and somehow the wheel got mangaled. and grease-like stains were on the back of it,,,..on return to me at the gate but they do not deal with wheel issues I guess that is why it had been 15 years since I got on an AA flight and will probably not do so anytime soon…I did write it up and 3 days later got a response saying they would look at the NO roller issue!!!

  8. If I legitimately have a long layover I’m pretty sure I want my bag anyways. I had 23 hours at Narita and was thankful I could take my bag to a hotel, sleep, shower, and change

  9. Now if they could only start allowing checked bags on separate PNRs (at least on their own metal) I’d be more impressed. Besides, I don’t trust them with my bags for 16 hours even on a typical MCI-CLT-LGA-JFK-CDG award booking.

  10. They need to explain why baggage fee goes from $40.00 for 2nd bag to $140.00 for 3rd bag when you’re a member of their credit card family.
    That’s an enormous jump! Especially when you see people boarding and getting a free baggage fee because overhead bins are full.

  11. 5 years ago wife and I had a 22 hr layover at LHR on flight from Kiev to Dallas. AA checked the bags all the way through. We spent the night in a hotel in London and never worried about the bags.

    To address another commenters post, we just bought AA award travel DFW round trip CDG. Non stop flights, no problem.

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