What are American Airlines’ personal item restrictions?

Anyone who regularly travels has probably spent time flying with American Airlines before. Ranked as the world’s largest airline based on multiple metrics, American Airlines regularly transports the most passengers of any airline year after year.

With that in mind, frequent flyers know all about the amenities that American offers that many other airlines do not, such as free carry-on bags and in-flight WiFi. With everything you’ll get as an American Airlines passenger, you still have to keep some things in mind, however, such as the size of your personal item.

American Airlines personal item policy

As one of the biggest airlines in the country, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that American Airlines does not charge extra for personal items. Just like the company’s carry-on policy, all passengers are entitled to one free personal item, even Basic Economy flyers.

The biggest stipulation with American’s policy is that the bag must fit underneath the seat directly in front of you to count as a personal item. Unlike some other airlines, American doesn’t count anything that you bring onboard as your personal item, so you’re granted some leeway with the following items that do not count:

  • Diaper bags
  • Soft-sided cooler bags for breast milk
  • Child safety seats
  • Strollers
  • Medical devices
  • Mobility assistance devices

So in addition to your personal item and carry-on bag, you can also bring these items with you on your next American Airlines flight.

American Airlines personal item size

Sure, we mentioned that American Airlines follows the industry classic of saying that your personal item must fit underneath the seat in front of you. But it’s also one of the airlines that actually specifies how big your personal item can be. According to the company’s baggage policy, personal items are limited to 18 “x 14” x 8 “(45cm x 35cm x 20cm).

Thankfully, these dimensions are right up there with the most generous in the industry, so you won’t have any problems bringing your regular personal item onboard.

Here are some carry-on bags that fit American Airlines’ policy:

The Away Everywhere Bag

Vera Bradley Weekender Bag

Vera Bradley Women's Microfiber Weekender Travel Bag

Travel Laptop Backpack

Travel Laptop Backpack

Jansport Backpacks

Jansport Luggage

Protege 16 ”Arendale Underseater

Protege 16

American Airlines personal item weight limit

Similar to just about every other major airline in the country, American does not put a weight limit on your personal item. As long as you’re able to carry it yourself and safely stow it under the seat in front of you, you’ll be fine with however heavy your personal item is.

American Airlines carry-on size

In addition to a personal item, American Airlines also grants all passengers a free carry-on bag. To make it easier for passengers to bring their carry-on along, the airline follows the industry standard size limits of 22 “x 14” x 9 “(56cm x 36cm x 23cm), including the wheels and handles. You can also bring a garment bag with dimensions adding to 51 “or less (ie 25” x 20 “x 6”) as your carry-on.

Since the company follows standard size restrictions, shopping for a carry-on bag is easy.

Here are some personal item options that fit on American Airlines:

July Carry-On

July Carry On

The Away Standard Carry-On

Away The Carry-On

Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Carry-On

Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable Spinner Luggage

Travelers Club


$ 43.83

American Tourister Phenom Softside Carry-On

American Tourister Phenom Softside Carry On Spinner Suitcase

American Tourister


iFLY Hardside Carry-On Luggage

iFLY Hardside Fibertech Carry On Luggage

Carrying liquids in your American Airlines personal item

American Airlines follows guidance from the TSA when it comes to traveling with liquids. Once you get through security, you can buy liquids at the airport and take them onboard, but in order to get through security, you must follow the 3-1-1 rule:

  • Any container that holds a liquid must be 3.4 ounces or less
  • All liquid containers must fit together in one transparent quart-sized plastic bag
  • All passengers are limited to one bag of liquids

If you don’t want to buy any sort of special bag to carry your liquids, a quart-sized Ziploc bag gets the job done. But if you want to get something a little bit nicer that was actually designed for this purpose, here are a few good options:

3-1-1 Travel Bags on Amazon

2 pack 3-1-1 Luggage Pouch Kit

Container Store 1-Quart Resealable Clear Bags with Zippers

1 Quart Zippered Clear Bag

LLBean Sea to Summit Traveling Light Clear Zip-Top Pouch

Sea to Summit Traveling Light TPU Clear Zip-Top Pouch

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