When preparing for a trip abroad, it's important to know your airline's luggage.restrictions. American Airlines' international luggage rules and fees vary depending on your destination, but several common guidelines exist. Pack smart, and you're more likely to move through the check-in and customs processes without delay.

Baggage Limits

When traveling to or from Japan and China on American Airlines, passengers can check two bags and bring one personal item and one carry-on item at no charge. Travelers to Europe aboard American can check one bag and bring one personal item and one carry-on item at no charge. Additional bags will cost extra, except that business and first-class travelers often are allowed to check a third bag for free regardless of their distination. The overall limit is 10 bags per passenger. American Airlines determines its allowable sizes by adding up the total outside dimensions -- length, width and height -- of each bag. Checked bags can't exceed 62 inches, and can't weigh more than 50 pounds. Personal items can't exceed 36 inches, and carry-ons can't exceed 45 inches. Personal items and carry-on items don't have weight limits.

General Restricted Items

General items restricted on all American Airlines flights -- per requirements set by the Transportation Security Administration -- include defense sprays, explosives, flammable materials, household cleaning items, pressurized containers and self-heating metals. Items like firearms, alcohol, ammunition and gasoline-powered tools must be declared and placed in checked baggage. If you fail to declare dangerous items to the airline, you will be violating U.S. federal law and could face prison time.


Every country has rules that restrict certain items from passing through its borders. It's important to do your research in advance because banned items will be seized as you go through customs, and that can cause a delay in your travels. For instance, the European Union bars visitors from bringing animal products -- including lard, sausages and cheeses -- into its countries. When you go through customs, you will be asked to declare the contents of your luggage, and banned items will be seized.

Other Considerations

Certain Latin American travel destinations have seasonal or year-round luggage limitations, especially on oversized items. Travelers flying to Brazil, for example, will note a permanent embargo in place barring passengers from bringing boxes, oversized luggage or overweight luggage on their trip. People going to other Latin-American destinations may face limitations during busy summer months only. People flying to other destinations with oversized or overweight baggage will simply pay a fee for checking these items.