How Strict Is American Airlines With Personal Item Size 2024?

AA website specified their personal item size as the following 18 x 14 x 8 inches.

And it can be a small laptop backpack, a purse, a small duffel bag or a style tote bag that can fit under the seat in front of you.

However, many passengers still want to know if the airline is strict and if they are taking these dimensions seriously.

So from our experience and a detailed research we are going to unpack all the AA personal item policies and restrictions.

How strict is American Airlines with personal item size-1

American Airlines Personal Item Policy

Personal Item Sizes

It doesn’t matter what type of bag you use as long as it is within the required dimensions you won’t face any issues.

The dimensions should not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm) so the bag fits under the seat in front of you.

Additional items

In addition to your main carry on and one personal item you can also bring the following items and they don’t counted toward your carry on luggage:

  • A coat
  • diaper bags when traveling with an infant
  • canes and crutches
  • Portable Oxygen Concentrators, respiratory devices or any other assistive devices, and foot rugs for use during prayer

For more information please visit this page on their website.


All types of liquids are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item placed in a quart sized bag.

Find out more about the TSA  3-1-1 Liquids Rule.

Baby food like breast milk and medical necessary products are excepted from this rule, so you can bring more than 3.4 or / 100 ml and you don’t have anything to worry about.

Is American Airlines Strict About Personal Item Size?

Rarely when American Airlines will inspect your personal item size, especially if it looks small.

But on some occasions the airline is relatively strict like in busy flights and if you bring a massive large personal item.

If you arrive at the airport with a large personal item that won’t fit under the seat and is more than the allowed size, it will be counted as a second carry-on and you will be required to send one of them as a checked bag.


My Personal Item Is Slightly Oversized, What Will Happen?

A small soft-sided bag or a backpack that can be easily squeezed or squashed, will suit under the seat in front of you even if it is a few inches oversized.

But if you have a large, solid bag I don’t think will be fitting.

If it doesn’t fit the size, or if you get caught with it in the gate you will be forced to pay extra charges and you will have to check it in the bag.

Bear in mind that the more you respect the rules the more you avoid any inconvenience at the airport.

How Strict Are American Airlines With Personal Item Weight?

You don’t need to worry about the weight of your bag.

There are no weight limits for AA personal items, passengers can bring onboard any personal item if it is within the required size limits and fits under the seat.

Is A Backpack Considered A Personal Item On American Airlines?


You can use a backpack as a personal item, as long as the backpack fits under the seat in front of you ( a standard size backpack will just fit perfectly, However if the backpack is above the Airline personal item size your backpack will be considered as your main carry on.

Here is an answer from American Airlines customer service on Twitter.

American Airlines Carry on Policy

According to AA your carry on bag must not exceed 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters (including handles and wheels) and must fit in the size at the airport.

If your items don’t fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, they may need to be checked. There may be additional carry-on bag restrictions at certain airports or on certain airplanes.

AA recommends labeling your carry-on the same way you do checked bags.

Soft-sided garment bags up to 51 inches / 130 cm (length + width + height) can also be taken as your carry-on item.

Musical instruments are also considered a carry-on item and must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

How Do I Make The Most Of My Personal Item Space?

Always go with the essentials when packing.

But there are many practical ways to take advantage of your carry-on and personal items, like rolling up your clothes and using packing cubes.

A carry-on bag will be more than enough to take all your clothes and the personal item will be a good way to secure your documents and electronics.

The more you travel and practice the more you will get good at packing techniques.

How Strict Is American Airlines With Personal Items?

It is obvious that AA will be slightly strict on busy flights about its personal items, however the airline offers a generous carry on baggage and additional objects.

To avoid any inconvenience, we recommend taking a bag that is fully compliant with their size policies.

But if you are planning to show up to the airport with some extra items and you see that you will be charged, check out this extra baggage tricks before heading to the airport.

What Is The Best Personal Item For American Airlines ?

Amazon has a large line of personal items that fits with AA personal item policy 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm), from foldable duffle bags that will perfectly fit under the seat and take the maximum of your items.

A bag backpack is also a great fit not just for AA but also for any US airline, it has a size of 17″x13″x7″ and comes in many colors, and is lightweight, so it can be squashed and fit properly in the luggage sizer.

Final Thoughts

Generally speaking you can bring any type of bag as a personal item on American Airlines as long as it fits with its dimensions.

The personal item needs to fit under the seat in front of you or at least have these dimensions: 18 x 14 x 8 inches.

With that said, we hope this answers all your questions about “How strict are American airlines with personal items”, and Wishing you a safe and joyful journey ahead.