American Airlines Military Baggage Policy (All You Need To Know)

Active military service is an honorable status that is appreciated all across the service industry.

American Airlines offers many perks to military service workers, especially when checking in bags for a flight. If you’re curious about the military baggage policy at American Airlines, make sure you check out my research!

American Airlines Military Baggage Policy In 2024

Active US military personnel and their dependents can enjoy up to three to five checked bags in 2024. Military personnel must show their ID (and their orders if they’re flying on orders). Military personnel are restricted to one carry-on per flight. A standard military backpack will usually be too large to be a personal item.

Are you curious about the many perks and guidelines you need to know when boarding a plane as a military service individual? Keep reading to find out all you need to know!

American Airlines’ Retired Military Baggage Policy

Retired military personnel have a civilian-military ID, meaning they cannot enjoy the benefits of free checked bags like active military personnel.

However, retired military personnel are rewarded for their service with an extra 10% off on tickets.

How Many Bags Can You Check With Military Orders?

Active military personnel traveling on orders can check up to five complimentary bags with a weight limit of 100 pounds.

Additionally, the bags must also be a maximum of 126 inches (width x length x height).

Further, military personnel traveling on orders will need to present a copy of their active orders and military ID.

Can Military Personnel Have Two Carry-On Bags?

Unfortunately, military personnel is restricted to one carry-on bag, which is in accordance with civilians who are also allowed one carry-on bag.

That said, carry-on bags must be 22 x 14 x 9 inches, including the handle and wheels, and fit into the sizer at check-in.

Further, passengers are advised to label their carry-on luggage just like their checked bags.

Also, if carry-on luggage cannot fit into the overhead bin or under the seat, it will be moved to the checked luggage.

Do Military Personnel Always Get Free Checked Bags?

Do Military Personnel Always Get Free Checked Bags?

Fortunately, active military personnel always get free checked bags with American Airlines.

So, while traveling for personal or business reasons, up to three free checked bags are allowed, and the bags must not exceed 50 pounds and 62 inches (width x length x height).

For military personnel on active orders, up to five free checked bags are allowed to weigh up to 100 pounds and 126 inches (width x length x height).

Lastly, passengers will be glad to hear that military dependents will also receive the same perks as active US military personnel, including family members such as a spouse or child.

Can Military Personnel Check Bags For Free On American Airlines?

Depending on the activity status of military passengers, military passengers can check-in bags for free.

Also, it is worth mentioning that military passengers will need to present their military ID at the check-in counter.

Additionally, if a military passenger is on orders, the orders will also need to be presented at check-in.

Does A Backpack Count As A Personal Item?

American Airlines will allow backpacks as a personal item if they fit under the seat in front of the passenger.

Usually, a good rule of thumb to follow is that backpacks under 20 liters will generally be small enough to fit under the seat in front.

Unfortunately, many military backpacks range from 35 liters to 50 liters, making them unsuitable as a personal item.

Do Military Personnel Pay For Overweight Baggage?

American Airlines will charge an overweight baggage fee of $100 to $200.

However, active-duty military personnel and their dependents are not likely to run into this problem.

That said, there is plenty of room to play around with up to five free checked bags with a weight limit of 100 pounds for each individual.

How Do Military Personnel Get TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is a US government program that allows low-risk passengers to take advantage of express check-in.

Also, Department of Defense members are automatically entered into the program.

Therefore, members of the Armed Forces simply need to enter the Department of Defense ID number into the “Known Traveler Number” box during their flight reservation.

Also, holders of a civilian-military ID will need to register via milConnect before they can use their “Known Traveler Number.”

American Airlines Military Upgrade

American Airlines has been known to upgrade the seats of uniformed military personnel when checking in for flights.

That said, these upgrades are not always guaranteed. However, flight attendants will occasionally select military personnel to enjoy this benefit.

Further, please note that this upgrade does not include an increase in the size or number of free checked bags allowed.

To know more, you can also read our posts on American Airlines missed flight policy, American Airlines stroller policy, and American Airlines refund policy.


American Airlines offers active members of the US military additional free baggage when boarding a flight.

Depending on whether or not the military personnel is on orders, the baggage limit will vary from three to five bags and 50-100 pounds. Also, military dependents can enjoy free checked bags.

Unfortunately, inactive members of the military do not have extra baggage perks. However, passengers in this category can enjoy an extra 10% off on all flights.

Lastly, members of the armed forces can also sign up for TSA PreCheck to expedite their check-in and board their flight quickly and stress-free.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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