Six years ago I shared that, despite publishing a minimum time to check in of 45 minutes prior to departure, with a few exceptions American actually lets you check in 27 minutes before a flight. That meant setting systems to 30 minutes, minus a 3 minute grace period.
Checked bag cutoff has had that same 3 minute grace period – so you’re able to check bags 42 minutes prior to departure for a domestic flight (45 minutes is the published rule) and 57 minutes prior to departure for international (60 minutes is what’s published). Again, there are a handful of airport exceptions.
American has now aligned self-service check-in machines to have the same cut-off times as the system agents use at the counter.
However there are still times when you’ll need to see an agent to take advantage of an exception. If you’re taking a domestic connection to an international flight, self-service kiosks will apply the international cut-off for bags. So if you show up for your domestic flight and try to check bags 50 minutes prior to departure, you’ll need to see an agent.
At the SSM, if a customer with a bag attempts to check in at D-50, they would not be permitted since the international check-in cut off applies. The customer would need to see an agent and D-42 domestic baggage cutoff would apply.
If you miss the baggage cut-off time for your flight, think up a good excuse, be nice, and generate sympathy from the agent you’re talking to. It’s possible to override these minimums, but only “by a supervisor with a 7 sine in QIK.”