Lonely Planet Writer

American Airlines is bringing back free carry-ons for basic economy passengers

We have all become used to no-frills when we fly on budget fares, but one airline has announced it’s bringing back free carry-on bags for basic economy passengers on domestic and short-haul international flights.

American Airlines bringing back free carry-ons for basic economy passengers. Image: Kazunori Nagashima

American Airlines announced that it’s making that fare more competitive by removing the carry-on bag restriction that is currently part of its domestic and short-haul international basic economy fare rules. “Basic economy is working well in the markets where we offer it, and we continue to see more than 60% of customers buy up to main cabin when offered a choice,” said President Robert Isom. “Removing the bag restriction will make basic economy more competitive, allowing us to offer this low-fare product to more customers.”

TSA security check at Denver international airport.
American Airlines is bringing back free carry-ons for basic economy passengers. Image by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

This change will take effect from 5 September, and until then, current basic economy fare rules will continue to apply, including the allowance for only one personal item. If you have already purchased a basic economy airfare flying later than that date, you’ll still be eligible for the free carry-on. However, passengers on basic economy will still be the last to board, so if the overhead cabin space is full, they may be forced to check their bags gateside.

American Airlines bringing back free carry-ons for basic economy passengers. Image: JGI/Tom Grill

It is believed American Airlines has eased up on carry-on baggage policies for its cheapest tier of seats in a bid to remain competitive with other more flexible carriers. It said in an airlines earnings conference call that the new change is aimed at allowing the airline to become more competitive, as the basic economy revenue has fallen short of expectations.

For further information, please see here.