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At American Airlines, we fly over borders – across the country and the world – to connect people and communities. Providing this service and making the world a smaller, more inclusive place, is a huge part of who we are.
These conditions cover all of your rights and responsibilities as a passenger on flights operated by American Airlines. We’ve simplified this contract to make our policies clearer and easier to understand.
Good or bad, we want to hear from you. Please contact us with your comments, concerns and feedback. Our Customer Relations team is here for you and will respond promptly.
Call Customer Relations: 817-786-3778
Here's what we mean by things like "domestic" and "FAA." If you can't find something or have questions, please get in touch.
Under the name "American Airlines" we operate mainline flights as American Airlines and regional codeshare flights (doing business as American Eagle) operated by:
|What we say||What it means|
|American Ticket Office||A ticket sales office of American Airlines, Inc. / American Eagle or one of our appointed travel agents|
|Assistive device||Equipment used by passengers with special needs (Disabled Passenger or Qualified Individual with a Disability) to hear, see, communicate, maneuver or perform daily functions; includes medical devices and medications|
|Baggage||Personal property that's either checked in or carried on the plane|
|Codeshare||Codeshare agreements allow us to sell seats on flights operated by other airlines, giving American customers access to more flights and destinations; partners include British Airways, Iberia, Alaska Airlines and more|
|Disabled Passenger or Qualified Individual with a Disability||An individual who has a physical or mental impairment that, on a permanent or temporary basis, substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment as further defined in the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations in 14 C.F.R. Section 382.3|
|Domestic||The 50 federated states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, also see 'U.S.'|
|Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)||An Agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S. including operation of airports, air traffic and the certification of personnel and aircraft|
|Fare||The price you pay for your ticket; also, the rules associated with that ticket including whether it's refundable|
|International||Outside the 50 federated states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; also, outside of your home country|
|Montreal Convention and Warsaw Convention||International Agreements that set the rules for airlines' liability when we carry passengers, baggage and goods internationally|
|Oversold flight||When the number of checked-in passengers exceeds the number of seats|
|Stopover||A planned stop in a city/airport for more than 4 hours|
|Ticket||Passenger ticket, bag check and boarding pass which incorporate these conditions of carriage, including tickets issued electronically|
|Transportation Security Administration (TSA)||An agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that has authority over the security of the traveling public in the U.S.|
|U.S.||The 50 federated states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands|
|U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)||A federal Cabinet department of the U.S. government that regulates aspects of air transportation|
As a passenger, you're required to act in way that's consistent with ensuring the safety of everyone on board. This includes complying with the laws and travel requirements of the countries we fly to, from or over. Traveling can be stressful, and we appreciate your patience and courtesy.
To fly on American, you must:
We are not responsible for any loss, damage or expense if you do not meet the travel document requirements.
You're required to act in a way that ensures a safe environment for everyone on board. You must:
If your physical or mental condition is such that in American's sole opinion, you are rendered or likely to be rendered incapable of comprehending or complying with safety instructions without the assistance of an attendant, American may refuse to transport you.
You may be asked to give up your seat if a government official needs space, for weather conditions requiring reduced aircraft load, or for other conditions beyond our control.
We may not let you fly (temporarily or permanently) if you:
You may also be liable for any loss, damage or expense resulting from your conduct. For example, you may be liable for the costs if we have to divert to another city because of your conduct. Failing to meet passenger responsibilities is considered a material breach of this contract.
We welcome children of all ages on board. Be sure you know the rules for your child based on his or her age. We count "age" based on the child's age the day of departure.
Infants can travel in your lap or in an FAA approved car seat if you pay for a separate seat.
Our unaccompanied minor service ensures your child is escorted on the plane, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and brought to the person you designate when they arrive. Keep in mind, flight attendants can't continuously monitor children during flight.
We're dedicated to providing customers with special needs dignified, professional and courteous service at all times. Customers with special needs may need to board the plane early.
You can request special assistance when you book on aa.com (our site is accessible) or call us anytime at (800) 433-7300.
When you request special assistance, a coordinator will contact you before your flight to make sure necessary medical paperwork is complete and requests are arranged.
They can help with:
*We require at least 48 hours advance notice if you need to travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, or a POC.
Call us anytime:
If you’re traveling with any medical device, a wheelchair or other mobility device, we’re here to help. If we're able, we offer early boarding, help getting off the plane and airport assistance. Contact us to make sure your device is approved for travel and to make any special requests.
If you had a special-assistance issue on your trip, please go to the American Airlines customer service desk. We have local complaint resolution officials (LCRO) available during operating hours, and a corporate complaint resolution official is available to assist our LCROs 24/7. You can also call our disability team 24/7 at 800-892-3624.
When it comes to checking in and arriving at the airport, earlier is better. Give yourself extra time if you're checking bags or traveling internationally.
Before you head to the airport, you can check for travel alerts that impact the cities in your trip and get flight status information like gates and times.
Download the American Airlines app to get real time updates about your travel.
You can check in on aa.com and in the app beginning 24 hours before departure. All airports have minimum check-in times. If you're not checked in by the minimum check-in time, we may reassign your seat to another passenger.
In most cities, you must be checked in:
Some airports require you to check in earlier.
For flights between Boston (BOS), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Washington D.C. Reagan (DCA) you need to check in:
For flights between Chicago (ORD) and LGA
Be at the gate and ready to board the plane:
If you're not, we may reassign your seat to another passenger.
The doors close 10 minutes before departure and you will not be allowed to board once the doors close.
If you're on a codeshare flight operated by one of our partners, check with that airline.
Sometimes we have to make adjustments to our operation, and between the time you book and the day you depart, there may be changes to:
When there are changes that affect your trip, we'll try to contact you in advance and move you to a similar seat, though we can't make any guarantees.
We do our best to be on time but our flight schedule is not guaranteed and not part of this contract. We are not liable if:
Rules for delays on international trips are governed by the Montreal Convention and Warsaw Convention. The full linked page provides more information and is incorporated by reference.
If you book an American flight and then find it for less, we'll refund the difference as long as:
For non-refundable fares, you'll receive the difference, minus the change fee, as a non-refundable voucher for travel only on American. You need to use the voucher within 1 year of the issue date.
When there's a limited-time sale, we may not refund the difference in fares.
When there's an event we can't control like weather, a strike or other civil disorder, we may have to cancel, divert or delay flights. If your ticket still has value (if you were, for example, re-accommodated in a different class of service) we'll refund the unused portion to the original form of payment, but beyond that we are not liable.
Such "Force Majeure" events include:
International air transportation liability is regulated by the Montreal Convention and Warsaw Convention.
A flight is “oversold” when there are more checked-in passengers than seats. When this happens, our team gets involved as early as possible to find volunteers to change flights.
When, despite our best efforts, we don’t have enough volunteers, we'll have to choose customers to change flights involuntarily, and deny boarding. If this happens, we will follow the DOT's compensation rules. We will do our best to get those customers on the next possible flight.
We will not involuntarily remove a revenue passenger who has already boarded to give a seat to another passenger.
We will ask for passengers who are willing to voluntarily give up their seats in exchange for travel credit in an agreed upon amount. The amount of compensation offered for volunteers is solely at American’s discretion.
When you volunteer to give up your confirmed seat on a flight, we will compensate you with travel credit in an amount we think is fair. You won’t be asked to give up a seat on your rebooked flight involuntarily unless we warn you up front and tell you how much we’d compensate you in that event.
If there aren’t enough volunteers, we will choose customers to change flights involuntarily and deny boarding.
Boarding priority is given to certain customers, including but not limited to those who:
The selection of customers who are involuntarily denied seats is solely at American’s discretion.
You will not receive involuntary denied boarding compensation if:
DOT rules determine how much you're compensated based on how late you’ll be to your stopover or destination. Our goal is to get you to your next scheduled stopover or final destination as soon as possible, so we may offer flights on other airlines and non-air travel such as by train. If your flight is oversold and you're not allowed to board, we'll give you a check or travel credit the same day at the airport or mail it within 24 hours.
If you're not allowed to board an oversold, nonstop flight from the EU to the U.S., you may be eligible to receive one of these:
Our goal is to provide timely, frequent and helpful updates – at the airport and on board – when there are delays, cancellations and diversions.
When your flight is canceled or a delay will cause you to miss your connection, we'll rebook you on the next flight with available seats. If you decide not to fly because your flight was delayed or canceled, we'll refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees.
If the delay is our fault or you're diverted to another city, and we don't board before 11:59 p.m. local time on your scheduled arrival day, we'll arrange an overnight stay or cover the cost of an approved hotel, if available.
If the delay is beyond our control, you're responsible to pay for your hotel, meals and other expenses. An American Airlines agent may be able to help you find a hotel.
We'll do our best to ensure delayed passengers are as comfortable as possible. Gate agents are asked to look after customers with special needs including unaccompanied minors, customers with disabilities and the elderly.
In the event of long delays on the plane, we'll make every reasonable effort to ensure you have food (such as crackers or biscuits), water, access to the restroom and basic medical assistance if needed.
We are not responsible for any special, incidental or consequential damages if we're unable to meet this commitment.
All bags are subject to inspection. We will not accept checked or carry-on bags we think are unsuitable for transportation for reasons like size, weight or character.
Before you go to the airport, be sure to check our baggage page for information on all our checked and carry-on baggage policies.
You can only check bags on the day you travel, and your bags must travel to the same city as you. Be sure your name is on all bags before you check them.
If you're flying from one of these airports, you can't check bags more than 4 hours before departure:
The number of bags you can check depends on your destination. Checked bag fees apply with some exceptions. All bag fees are non-refundable and apply per person, each way. Additional fees may apply for overweight / oversize bags or specialty items.
Also, you may have to pay bag fees again if:
Hang on to your baggage claim tickets; you may have to show your ticket to claim your bags. The airport baggage office will release bags to the person with the baggage claim ticket that matches. If you lose your ticket, we may ask for ID.
When you arrive in the U.S. from an international city, you will claim your checked bags before going through Customs.
If you arrive on American at your final destination and your bags have not arrived with you, our goal is to return them within 24 hours (for flights within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
Some of the reasons it may take us longer to get you your delayed bags include if:
If you arrive at your final destination on another airline, please check with that airline for information.
In general, you're allowed 1 bag and 1 personal item:
Diaper bags, child safety seats, strollers and medical or mobility devices don’t count as your bag or personal item. You may carry on a fully collapsible stroller if it's under 20 lbs. and fits in an overhead bin. All other strollers must be checked at a ticket counter.
In all cases, we reserve the right to decide if your carry-on items are suitable to bring on board and if there is enough space in the overhead bins.
If you need to check your carry-on bags, be sure to take any fragile or valuable items like your keys, medication or computers with you on board. Also remove and carry on any e-cigarettes and spare batteries for laptops, cameras or other mobile devices.
There are additional carry-on restrictions for certain fares, aircraft and airports. We may have to check your bag at the gate if the overhead bins are full or if there are restrictions. Overhead bin size varies, and some planes and American Eagle flights have smaller bins.
For everyone's safety on board, some common items are restricted by the TSA and FAA. Be sure you know what you can carry on and what you can check in your bags before you go to the airport.
We don't transport hazardous materials, except for small amounts of dry ice.
You can travel with firearms in checked baggage only. Firearms must be declared to an agent at check-in. There are other rules that apply; be sure you understand the rules before you go to the airport.
Depending on the animals' breed, size and requirements, pets can travel as a carry-on, be checked or transported with American Airlines Cargo. We only allow you to travel with your pet cats and dogs.
Service animals are welcome at no charge if they meet the requirements. The animal must fit on your lap, at your feet or under your seat, and cannot block the aisle. Dogs trained to detect explosives/drugs or trained for search and rescue (documentation required) are also welcome at no charge.
Emotional support animals require specific documentation; please review the requirements before travel.
If your checked bag is lost, damaged or delayed, we will pay the actual value of the losses up to $3,500 (or up to $5,000 if you declare excess value).
A good rule of thumb is never to check anything you can't live without. If it's irreplaceable, sentimental or you depend on it for your well-being, keep it on you or leave it at home.
We don't cover loss or damage to:*
*Wheelchairs or other assistive devices are covered
We strive to be as careful as possible during the normal transport of your belongings. As such, we also do not cover:
We are not liable for any incidental, punitive or special damages that result from lost, damaged or delayed bags including damages for lost revenue or business interruption.
If your baggage is lost, delayed, damaged or items are missing, you should file a report before you leave the airport.
For any follow-up reports or action you must:
We may reject your claim if you:
For international travel, the Warsaw Convention and the Montreal Convention govern liability for personal injury, death or damage. The terms and conditions are set by these international conventions and are not subject to change or modification by American Airlines. These conventions set compensation amounts for death, injury and baggage loss and damage. The full linked page is incorporated herein by reference.
Each passenger must have a valid ticket to fly. A ticket is non-transferrable – it can't be used by or refunded to any other passenger. All refunds are made to the original form of payment.
In general, a ticket is valid for 1 year:
So for an unused ticket issued June 1, 2017, you must begin travel on the new ticket by June 1, 2018.
For a roundtrip ticket that was partially flown on March 1, 2018, you must complete all new travel by March 1, 2019.
These rules apply unless your ticket states otherwise.
Generally, you have up to 24 hours from when you buy your ticket to get a full refund if you booked at least 2 days before departure. You must cancel your trip within 24 hours of purchase for a refund. Some countries have different rules about refunds, and if so, we will follow those rules.
Refunds will be made only to the person who paid. Tickets issued for official government travel will be refunded only to the government agency that issued the transportation request.
If you bought a refundable ticket, decide not to travel and want a refund, we'll pay:
We'll refund the original credit card within 7 days (allow 1-2 billing cycles for credit to show). We'll process cash and check refunds within 20 days of receiving all your paperwork.
Some requests may take longer, for example, tickets bought outside the U.S. in another currency or tickets that require research or verification. We are not liable for longer processing times.
We don't refund cash for non-refundable tickets. However, if you cancel your trip before departure, you can use the value of your ticket toward future travel on American. You'll need to rebook and travel within 1 year and pay a change fee plus any difference in fare.
We will refund a non-refundable ticket (or the value of the unused segment of your trip) to the original form of payment if:
*Supporting paperwork is required.
You can request a refund of eligible taxes included in the ticket price. If eligible, we'll refund the original form of payment.
If you paid for seats, bags or other extras and don't use them because you didn't travel as planned, you may request a refund. Read our refunds FAQs for details.
If you are due a refund because we failed to operate on schedule (more than 60 minutes delayed) or we refused to let you fly, we will refund you:
If you were involuntarily denied boarding, we will not charge any refund fees or penalties.
We will only refund tickets issued by American Airlines and reserve the right to only make refunds in a currency or country of the original purchase.
Tickets are valid for travel only when used with all terms and conditions of sale.
Your ticket is valid only when:
Fare requirements, like dates, special purpose or status, may include:
Your ticket is not valid when:
Bookings made to exploit or circumvent fare and ticket rules are strictly prohibited. For example, you can't buy a roundtrip ticket and only use the return flight; you can’t combine two or more roundtrip excursion fares end-to-end for the purpose of circumventing minimum stay requirements (back-to-back ticketing); and it's illegal to book a ticket in someone's name without the person's consent.
If we find evidence that you or your agent are using an exploitive practice, we reserve the right to:
If we sell a fare in error, we have the right to cancel the ticket. This includes fare errors, computer errors and third party errors (human or computer). We make every effort to prevent, detect and correct errors as soon as possible.
When we issue a mistaken fare, we'll void the ticket, give a full refund and notify you within: