American Airlines has told its gate agents to crack down on oversized carry-ons. In practice, however, I expect very little will change in terms of carry-on enforcement.
New Policy: American Airlines Will Charge For Gate Checking Oversized Carry-On Bags
Effective immediately, American Airlines will charge passengers who attempt to evade carry-on size restrictions and are “busted” at the gate. AA has carry-on sizers in most gate areas and the new policy tells gate agents to charge to check in a larger carry-on item if it does not fit in the sizer.
View from the Wing reports two exceptions:
- Passengers entitled to free checked baggage (AAdvantage elites and co-branded credit card holders)
- When charging for these bags may lead to a departure delay
That last exception is huge. In theory every traveler should know (after so many years and such a uniform policy across airlines) what the maximum size of a carry-on item is. American Airlines says this new policy “will create a consistent customer experience for those who bring non-compliant bags to the gate.”
But let’s face it: the sort of travelers who willfully defy carry-on restrictions are the sort of travelers who will argue and perhaps even throw a fit if gate agents attempt to charge them to check their large “hand” baggage.
And from all that I’ve seen and observed over the years, given this extra leeway gate agents are not going to even bother.
American Airlines rightly identifies the problem of oversized carry-on items. These slow down boarding, take space away from other passengers, and cost AA revenue. But practically, I simply do not see gate agents willing to escalate arguments over miserly passengers. The result: you’ll still want to board as early as possible to guarantee overhead bin space.
image: American Airlines