American Airlines travelers can fly anywhere from the Virgin Islands to India, according to the airline’s official website. Since September 11, 2001, the airline has placed baggage restrictions to protect passengers and crew members alike. Some rules, such as regarding liquids on an airplane, have changed over time.

Types of Restricted Items

Alcoholic beverages must be part of your checked baggage and cannot be more than 140 proof, according to the American Airlines website. Aerosols are only permitted in personal-use quantities in formulations such as hairspray and deodorant; any type of liquid in your carry-on baggage cannot weigh more than 3.4 ounces as stated on the product label. Plastic knives are allowed aboard; all other types of knives must be stowed in your checked luggage.

Prohibited Items Warning

Bringing prohibited items aboard, whether on your person or in checked baggage, is a federal crime punishable by up to five years' incarceration, according to the American Airlines website. You cannot pack fuel, paint, paint thinner, bleach, turpentine, explosives such as fireworks, spray starch, loaded guns or self-inflating life jackets. Any type of flammable liquid or solid, including self-heating meals and some types of glue, also cannot be included in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.

Carry-On Size

American Airlines' general rule is you can only bring one personal item such as a briefcase, purse or laptop bag on-board and one small piece of luggage. But some items don’t count toward that limit; you can bring also assistive medical equipment, diaper bags, strollers, child safety seats, coats and a small bag of food. All items must fit either underneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead compartment.

Checked Luggage Considerations

You can’t check laptops and similar electronics, nor can you check lithium batteries unless they are associated with your wheelchair, notes American Airlines. Most domestic flights charge nominal fees per bag unless you purchased a first-class ticket; some overseas flights allow all passengers to check at least one bag free of charge. If you have more than two checked bags or a bag weighs more than 50 lbs., you must pay an overweight baggage fee as determined by your flight itinerary.


Military personnel can check three bags aboard an American Airlines flight without any charge regardless of the itinerary purchased. Some pieces of sporting equipment and musical instruments may not fit on-board as a carry-on and shouldn’t be checked as baggage; passengers carrying fragile equipment should plan to buy a second seat for that item. If a musical instrument is checked and sustains damage, the airline does not take responsibility for that damage.