Trying to sneak an oversized carry-on bag on the plane? American Airlines is saying not so fast.
Some crafty travelers bring larger carry-on bags through security, hoping to avoid paying $30 each way to check a bag. Instead, they take the airline up on its offer to gate check it: Just throw a tag on it, leave it on the jetbridge, and the airline will throw it in the hold below … for free.
View from the Wing reports that American Airlines will now charge passengers who try to gate-check an oversized carry-on bag. The airline will apparently charge that same $30 checked baggage fee for bags that won't fit in the sizer at the gate.
Like most U.S. carriers, American's maximum carry-on size is 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches. Almost every standard carry-on bag on the market fits that bill, though larger versions and checked luggage moonlighting as a carry-on will not.
That said, there are two exceptions where you won't be charged even when trying to bring a bigger bag as a carry-on on American:
- If you've got an American Airlines co-branded credit card that gets you free luggage like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® or the AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard from Barclays, you won't get charged that fee. The same is true if you're entitled to a free checked bag due to elite status or flying in a premium cabin.
- American won't collect the fee for gate-checking an oversized bag if doing so could cause a flight delay.
American defends this new fee, saying it will “create a consistent customer experience for those who bring non-compliant bags to the gate.”
And unlike airlines like Spirit, American won't charge you more for an oversized bag checked at the gate compared to the standard luggage fee. Spirit, for example, charges a whopping $65 (or more!) to gate check a bag. American will still charge you just $30, the same fee as if you paid to check it in the first place.
Don't count on sneaking an oversized carry-on bag onto your next American Airlines flight. Now, the airline will make you pay for it.