How strict is American Airlines with carry on 2024?

Last Updated on January 1, 2024 by Henry @ The Getaway Lounge

This post is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure a high level of accuracy.

How strict is American Airlines with carry on?

Just how strict is American Airlines with carry on?

It’s a question we’re often asked by passengers, and so we did a little research so you don’t have to.

American Airlines are relatively strict and state that if you are permitted to take carry on luggage only, you’ll be limited to one main bag and one smaller personal item. According to them, your bag must fit in the sizer and so be compliant with their rules.

And if you’re looking for a carry on which is the perfect size for American Airlines and many other airlines, we recommend this Maximum Allowance Suitcase on Amazon.

The Getaway Lounge

American Airline’s main carry on allowance

American Airline’s main carry on allowance is as follows:

22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm)

This includes any wheels and or handles, and the bag must fit in the sizer at the airport.

American Airlines personal item policy

In addition to your main carry on, you can take a smaller personal item on board which is limited to the following dimensions: 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm).

Examples on their website include small handbags, laptops and so on.

In our experience however, it is rare for the airline to check the size of your personal item.

So, if you’re really tight for space in your main bag, it might be wise to take a small backpack or holdall for instance which can carry some of your essentials.

Besides, as long as this personal item is clearly small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you, you shouldn’t have a problem getting it on board.

American Airlines carry on liquids

Nothing out of the ordinary here – you are allowed to take one quart-sized bag of liquids, gels and aerosols in your carry on bag through security.

These are limited to 3.4 oz or 100ml per item, comfortably placed in a see-through, resealable bag.

For details on restrictions and exceptions including liquids like baby formula and medicine, please see Transport Security Administration’s (TSA) advice here.

Other items

Other items that don’t count as your carry on or personal item include the following:

If you’re unsure about any item, please contact the TSA. 

How strict are American Airlines with carry on size?

There’s a good chance that if your carry on is oversized, you will be checked and penalised.

That’s especially likely if the flight happens to be a busy one.

The dimensions are there for a reason, and it’s mainly down to ease of movement in the aircraft in the event of an emergency.

This ensures that the airline stay compliant with the latest safety regulations, and also prevents passengers from fighting for space!

My carry-on bag is slightly oversized, should I risk it?

No is the simple answer to that question.

Not unless you have a soft-sided bag which is only slightly oversized.

Besides, these carry on bags can often be squeezed into the sizer and if you can demonstrate that it fits you should be fine.

Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you are forced to pay extra to have your carry on checked in to the hold.

That’s not only a hefty fine, but an inconvenience for anyone looking for a speedy exit out of the airport, and we all like to keep an eye on our bags if possible!

If you’ve got a hard case and that’s oversized, we wouldn’t take the risk as you won’t be able to squeeze it through the dreaded cage if required to.

American Airlines baggage fees

If your bag is deemed to be oversize, you may incur significant baggage fees.

For more information please see this page on their website here.

Where can I find a quality bag which is within American Airlines carry on limits?

This Maximum Allowance Suitcase has been designed to fit perfectly within American Airlines’ limits.

They’re great value for money, and features include:


We strongly recommend investing in a bag which is fully compliant with their latest rules.

With that said however, if you have a soft-sided bag like a backpack or holdall which is only slightly over the limits – there’s a good chance you’ll get away with it.

These soft-sided bags without wheels are a lot more “carry-on friendly”, and there’s a chance you’ll be able to squeeze it into the sizer.

One response to “How strict is American Airlines with carry on 2024?”

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