I am planning (doing it from France) to fly from PHX to OAK with American Airlines (I am open to any other airlines, that one seems to be the typical one was readily suggested on that route, but I see there is also SW).

What surprises me is that at no stage of the reservation I am offered to add check-in luggage. There is a "check-in luggage" link, but it just opens a separate page which lists the prices.

How does this work? Should I make the reservation and then, at the airport, go to (check-in? AA booth?) and get the luggage added there?

  • It's worth pointing out that AA is just barely beginning to roll out the option of paying for your bags before arriving at the airport. On a limited number of domestic flights it is possible to prepay when you check in, but for most itineraries you will pay at the airport, for now. Pre-paid bags will be extended to all itineraries in the future, however.
    – cbw
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


You can always add luggage at the airport after booking online. Make sure however your total number of bags are within the maximum limit.

Seasonal bag limitations

You don’t want to show up at the airport with ten bags and you’re only allowed a total of five.

Bags − Travel information − American Airlines American Airlines

How does it work? You can choose to pay for up to 3 checked bags (per person) before arriving at the airport. If the option is available on your flight, pre-payment is taken during check-in on aa.com or in the app starting 24 hours and up to 4 hours before scheduled departure.

  • I wanted to avoid the hassle of looking for the AA counter, queuing up, getting the luggage added, then queing up again at the check-in.
    – WoJ
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 10:04
  • You'll be able to pay at the check-in counter or kiosk, during the check-in process. No need to go to their ticketing office.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 10:22
  • How does it work? You can choose ... -- would you be so kind and point out where you found the information you quoted? Before asking my question I scanned the web site (including the page you mentioned) and could not find anything like this. Thank you for that - I understand now that the possibility to pay for the luggage on line appears 24h before the flight and not at reservation time (this is different from how it works over here)
    – WoJ
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 12:08
  • @Sneftel: thanks for the information. I was not aware that the check-in counter (the one which takes your bags) would have money processing capabilities.
    – WoJ
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 12:10
  • I presume they can do it at the counter, but in the past I've done it at the kiosk. They're definitely set up for it; checking in at an AA kiosk, in my experience, involves clicking 'no' on a large number of "optional extras".
    – Sneftel
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 16:00

You have probably chosen the ticket class that doesn't allow luggage ("Economy Basic" or similar), so you would have to buy it extra, either online or at the check-in desk.

If you know for sure you will have luggage, it is typically cheaper to buy the next higher ticket class ("Economy" or similar), which includes some luggage, plus seat selection, instead of paying through the nose for the luggage a check in)

  • No domestic airfares on AA include baggage, except First Class.
    – Doc
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 15:48

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