American Airlines today announced some updates to its baggage policy and an expansion of the basic economy to additional markets. Here’s how Vasu Raja, American’s Chief Revenue Offer, describes these changes:
“We want American Airlines to be the easiest airline to do business with. To achieve this, we create transparent tariff products and guidelines that are consistent across our global network so that customers can clearly choose their experiences when traveling with us. “
What is changing
All Premium Economy tickets offer two pieces of checked baggage for free
For tickets issued after February 23, 2021, all American Airlines Premium Economy tickets include two pieces of checked baggage for free, regardless of route or destination.
For comparison: Until now, American Airlines has only offered Premium Economy passengers one free checked bag in some markets (such as flights to Hawaii). So this is a thoroughly positive change.
American has increased the baggage allowance for Premium Economy
All main cabin long-haul tickets include a free checked bag
For tickets issued after February 23, 2021, all American Airlines long-haul main cabin tickets include a free checked bag. This applies to all economy tickets booked in the “main cabin”. This is everything but basic economy tickets.
This is a negative change: previously, all long-haul main cabin tickets received at least one free checked bag, while main cabin tickets to Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea included two free checked bags. In these markets, the baggage allowance is halved.
American has reduced the baggage allowance on main cabin flights to some destinations
Basic economy to Asia and Oceania
American Basic Economy’s product range has expanded significantly over the years, including to more markets. American Airlines will introduce basic economy tickets for flights to Asia, India, Israel, and Oceania (this is how American describes it, although I recognize that this is a little redundant since India and Israel are both in Asia).
These Basic Economy tickets are non-changeable but include one checked bag for free. American recently announced the elimination of change fees for all but basic economy tickets. Therefore, the airline is clearly trying to re-charge these regions with change fees.
The American basic economy is expanding into more regions
American Airlines is making some changes to baggage allowance and basic economy tickets. The baggage changes for Premium Economy tickets are positive, the baggage changes for Economy tickets are negative, and the introduction of Basic Economy in Asia and Oceania is … well, it depends on how you see it.
What do you think of these changes at American Airlines?