Conditions of carriage
Updated September 24, 2021
The contract between you, the passenger, and us, American Airlines
At American Airlines, we fly over borders – across the country and the world – to connect people and communities. Providing this service and making the world a smaller, more inclusive place, is a huge part of who we are.
All transportation of passengers and bags provided by American Airlines is subject to the terms of these Conditions of Carriage, in addition to any:
- Terms printed on any ticket, ticket jacket or ticket receipt
- Published fare rules; and
- Applicable tariffs filed by American Airlines in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.
All terms, fare rules, and tariffs are incorporated herein by reference and constitute part of your agreement with American Airlines.
Good or bad, we want to hear from you. Please contact us with your comments, concerns and feedback. Our Customer Relations team is here for you and will respond promptly.
Call Customer Relations: 682-278-9000
When you buy a ticket or travel on a flight provided by American Airlines, you agree:
- To the extent not preempted by federal law, Texas law applies to this contract and any dispute from your ticket purchase or travel on American Airlines without regard to conflict of law principles.
- This contract cannot be modified or waived unless authorized in writing by an American Airlines corporate officer.
- Even if you didn’t pay for your ticket, for example if you’re one of multiple passengers in the same reservation, this contract is an agreement between us and you.
- We provided links to pages on our site for more information, but those pages are not part of this contract.
- Though we translated these conditions of carriage for convenience, the English language version is the official, legal version.
- This contract is the entire agreement that governs your rights and responsibilities as a passenger. If we don’t enforce a right under this contract in one case, it does not waive our right to enforce the contract later. And if any part of this contract is found invalid or unenforceable, we’ll strike what’s invalid or unenforceable without effect to the rest of the contract.
- Limit of liability: You agree we are not liable for special, consequential, indirect or incidental damages that arise from this agreement, even if we knew, should’ve known or were advised damages were possible, including from lost, damaged or delayed bags (including lost revenue or business interruption).
- Class Action Waiver: You agree that any lawsuit you bring against us, or any of our affiliated entities, agents, directors, employees, and/or officers related to these Conditions of Carriage, your ticket, and/or your use of or dealings with American’s website will be brought only in your individual capacity, and may not be brought in or asserted as part of a class action proceeding.
Here's what we mean by things like 'domestic' and 'FAA.' If you can't find something or have questions, please get in touch.
Under the name "American Airlines" we operate mainline flights as American Airlines and regional codeshare flights (doing business as American Eagle) operated by:
- Envoy Air Inc.
- Mesa Airlines Inc.
- Piedmont Airlines Inc.
- PSA Airlines Inc.
- Republic Airways Inc.
- SkyWest Airlines Inc.
We also offer codeshare flights operated by:
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Alaska Airlines, Inc.
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- China Southern Airlines
- El Al
- Fiji Airways
- GOL Linhas Aéreas
- Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
- Horizon Air Industries, Inc.
(doing business as Alaska Airlines)
- Hyannis Air Service, Inc.
(doing business as Cape Air)
- Iberia Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Jetstar Japan
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- Silver Airways
|What we say||What it means|
|American Ticket Office||A ticket sales office of American Airlines, Inc. / American Eagle or one of our appointed travel agents|
|Assistive device||Equipment used by passengers with special needs (Disabled Passenger or Qualified Individual with a Disability) to hear, see, communicate, maneuver or perform daily functions; includes medical devices and medications|
|Baggage||Personal property that's either checked in or carried on the plane|
|Codeshare||Codeshare agreements allow us to sell seats on flights operated by other airlines, giving American customers access to more flights and destinations; partners include British Airways, Iberia, Alaska Airlines and more|
|Customs and Border Protection (CBP)||CBP is our country's primary border control organization. It regulates and facilitates international trade, collects import duties, and enforces U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration|
|Disabled Passenger or Qualified Individual with a Disability||An individual who has a physical or mental impairment that, permanently or temporarily, substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment as further defined in the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations in 14 C.F.R. Section 382.3|
|Domestic||The 50 federated states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, also see 'U.S.'|
|Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)||An agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S. including operation of airports, air traffic and the certifying personnel and aircraft|
|Fare||The price you pay for your ticket; also, the rules associated with that ticket including whether it's refundable|
|Flight segment||A flight segment is a nonstop point-to-point flight that consists of one takeoff and one touchdown|
|International||Outside the 50 federated states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; also, outside of your home country|
|Montreal Convention and Warsaw Convention||International agreements that set the rules for airlines' liability when we carry passengers, baggage and goods internationally|
|Oversold flight||When the number of checked-in passengers exceeds the number of seats|
|Stopover||A planned stop in a city/airport for over 4 hours|
|Ticket||Passenger ticket, bag check and boarding pass which incorporate these conditions of carriage, including tickets issued electronically|
|Transportation Security Administration (TSA)||An agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with authority over the security of the traveling public in the U.S.|
|U.S.||The 50 federated states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands|
|U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)||A federal Cabinet department of the U.S. government that regulates aspects of air transportation|
As a passenger, you're required to act in way that's consistent with ensuring the safety of everyone on board. This includes complying with the laws and travel requirements of the countries we fly to, from or over. Traveling can be stressful, and we appreciate your patience and courtesy for other passengers and American Airlines team members.
Complying with the law and government regulations
To fly on American, you must:
- Have a valid photo ID accepted by the TSA (like a driver’s license or other government issued ID).
- Have a valid passport, visa and any travel documents required if you're traveling internationally.
- Allow your baggage to be inspected by Customs, the TSA or other government officials.
Be sure your driver’s license complies with REAL ID and that your passport is valid or you may not be allowed to board your flight. Some countries require your passport be valid for 3 – 6 months beyond your departure date, so be sure you know the rules before you travel.
We are not responsible for any loss, damage or expense if you do not meet the travel document requirements.
Complying with airline rules for safety
The safety and comfort of our customers and team members is our top priority. We will respond seriously to any language or behavior that threatens the well-being or functionality of our crew or any American Airlines team member. Violent or inappropriate actions may result in the denial of boarding, removal from the terminal or legal prosecution.
To ensure a safe environment for everyone, you must:
- Allow you and your bags to be searched for explosives, dangerous weapons or banned substances.
- Show a valid ID.
- Understand and comply with all safety instructions.
- Release us from responsibility for any loss, damage or expense if you do not meet the travel document requirements.
- Behave appropriately and respectfully with other passengers, crew or any American Airlines team member.
- Postpone your flight if you have a dangerous disease deemed transmissible by a federal public health authority.
- Be respectful that your odor isn't offensive (unless it's caused by a disability or illness).
- Dress appropriately; bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed.
- Not threaten the safety of the flight in any way.
- Have the right travel documents and be allowed to travel to, from or through any countries in your itinerary.
- Be able to sit with your seatbelt fastened.
If your physical or mental condition is such that in American's sole opinion, you are rendered or likely to be rendered incapable of comprehending or complying with safety instructions without the assistance of an attendant, American may refuse to transport you.
In addition, you may be asked to give up your seat if a government official needs space, for weather conditions requiring reduced aircraft load, or for other conditions beyond our control.
Failing to comply
We may not let you fly (temporarily or permanently) for any reason, including if you:
- Don't obey the law
- Are uncooperative, abusive, harassing, or show the potential to be while on board
- Pose a risk to safety or security
- Appear intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Attempt to interfere with the flight crew or refuse to obey instructions
- Fail to comply with American Airlines rules or policies
- Need to be removed for your safety or the safety of other passengers or the crew
- Have a communicable disease or virus, or if we suspect you have a communicable disease or virus
- Are traveling with an animal that causes a delay or damage to the plane or other passengers
You may also be liable for any loss, damage or expense resulting from your conduct. For example, you may be liable for the costs if we have to divert to another city because of your conduct. Also, under U.S. law you may be liable if you assault a federal, airport or airline employee with security duties. Failing to meet passenger responsibilities is a material breach of this contract.
We welcome children of all ages on board. Be sure you know the rules for your child based on his or her age. We count "age" based on the child's age the day of departure.
Infants (under 2 years)
- One infant under 2 can travel in your lap. You are not required to pay for a separate seat unless you have an FAA approved car seat you plan to use on board.
- There may be a fee for infants traveling outside the U.S.
- Infants as young as 2 days old can fly, but any infant under 7 days old needs a passenger medical form filled out by your doctor before flying.
- Infants must be accompanied by a parent (any age) or someone 16 years or older in the same cabin.
Children (2 years or older)
- Children 2 and older must have a purchased seat. If your child turns 2 during a trip, the child will need their own seat for the remainder of the trip.
- Children under 5 years cannot travel alone.
Unaccompanied minor service
Our unaccompanied minor service ensures your child is escorted on the plane, introduced to the flight attendant, chaperoned during connections and brought to the person you designate when they arrive. Keep in mind, flight attendants can't continuously monitor children during flight.
We're dedicated to providing customers with special needs dignified, professional and courteous service at all times. Customers with special needs may need to board the plane early.
You can request special assistance when you book on aa.com (our site is accessible) or call us anytime at (800) 433-7300.
Special assistance coordinators
When you request special assistance, a coordinator will contact you before your flight to make sure necessary medical paperwork is complete and requests are arranged.
They can help with:
- Wheelchair assistance
- Mobility assistance, getting in and out of the plane
- Traveling with a service animal*
- Traveling with a portable oxygen concentrator (POCs)*
- Battery-powered medical devices
- Traveling within 7 days of your due date or after your delivery
- Adjacent seating for yourself and your personal care attendant
- Disassembly and packaging for mobility assistive devices when needed
*We require at least 48 hours advance notice if you need to travel with a service animal, or a POC.
Call us anytime:
- For hearing or speech impaired assistance dial 711 to be connected through the National Relay Service
Mobility and medical devices
If you’re traveling with any medical device, a wheelchair or other mobility device, we’re here to help. If we're able, we offer early boarding, help getting off the plane and airport assistance. Contact us to make sure your device is approved for travel and to make any special requests.
Special assistance issues
If you had a special-assistance issue on your trip, please go to the American Airlines customer service desk. We have local complaint resolution officials (LCRO) available during operating hours, and a corporate complaint resolution official is available to assist our LCROs 24/7. You can also call our disability team 24/7 at 800-892-3624.
When it comes to checking in and arriving at the airport, earlier is better. Give yourself extra time if you're checking bags or traveling internationally.
Before you head to the airport, you can check for travel alerts that impact the cities in your trip and get flight status information like gates and times.
Download the American Airlines app to get real time updates about your travel.
You can check in on aa.com and in the app beginning 24 hours before departure. All airports have minimum check-in times. If you're not checked in by the minimum check-in time, we may reassign your seat to another passenger.
In most cities, you must be checked in:
- At least 45 minutes before scheduled departure, for flights within the U.S.
- At least 60 minutes before scheduled departure, for flights to or from airports outside of the U.S.
Some airports require you to check in earlier.
Travel on American Airlines Shuttle
For flights between Boston (BOS), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Washington D.C. Reagan (DCA) you need to check in:
- 30 minutes before scheduled departure (if checking a bag)
- 20 minutes before scheduled departure (no checked bags)
For flights between Chicago (ORD) and LGA
- 35 minutes before scheduled departure (if checking a bag)
- 25 minutes before scheduled departure (no checked bags)
Arriving at the gate
Be at the gate and ready to board the plane at least:
- 30 minutes before departure on domestic flights
- 45 minutes before departure for international flights
You must have a boarding pass with a valid seat assignment to board the plane.
Boarding ends 15 minutes before departure. If you’re not on board, we may reassign your seat to another passenger. You will not be allowed to board once the doors close.
If you're on a codeshare flight operated by one of our partners, check with that airline.
Sometimes we have to make adjustments to our operation, and between the time you book and the day you are scheduled to depart, there may be changes to:
- Your flight number
- The type of plane you're flying on and the available amenities
- Your seat assignment
- The airline that operates your flight
- The number of stopovers or stopover cities
- Departure or arrival times
When there are changes or cancellations that affect your trip, we'll try to contact you in advance to rebook another flight or move you to a similar seat or cabin, though we can't make any guarantees.
We do our best to be on time but our flight schedule is not guaranteed and not part of this contract. We are not liable if:
- We're late or you don't make your connection
- We change the schedule of any flight
- We (or our partners) cancel a flight or route
- Your checked baggage is late (except as required by statute, regulation, or Convention)
- There are special, incidental or consequential damages because of these changes
If we or our airline partner fails to operate or delays your arrival more than 4 hours, our sole obligation is to refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees according to our involuntary refunds policy, subject to our policy for rebooking your delayed / canceled flight.
Rules for delays on international trips are governed by the Montreal Convention and Warsaw Convention. The full linked page provides more information and is incorporated by reference.
When there's an event we can't control like weather, a strike or other civil disorder, we may have to cancel, divert or delay flights. If your ticket still has value (if you were, for example, re-accommodated in a different class of service) we'll refund the unused portion to the original form of payment, but beyond that we are not liable.
Such "Force Majeure" events include:
- Meteorological or weather conditions
- Civil disturbances including war, embargoes or unsettled international conditions (real or threatened)
- Acts of terror
- Public health emergencies of domestic or international concern
- Labor disputes that involve or affect our service
- Government regulations or requirements
- Shortage of labor, fuel or facilities of American or others
- Any fact not reasonably foreseen or predicted by American
International air transportation liability is regulated by the Montreal Convention and Warsaw Convention.
A flight is “oversold” when there are more checked-in passengers than seats. When this happens, our team gets involved as early as possible to find volunteers to change flights.
When, despite our best efforts, we don’t have enough volunteers, we'll have to choose customers to change flights involuntarily, and deny boarding. If this happens, we will follow the DOT's compensation rules. We will do our best to get those customers on the next possible flight.
We will not involuntarily remove a revenue passenger who has already boarded to give a seat to another passenger.
Voluntary denied boarding
We will ask for passengers who are willing to voluntarily give up their seats in exchange for compensation in an amount and form to be determined solely at American’s discretion.
When you volunteer to give up your confirmed seat on a flight, we will compensate you in a form and in an amount we think is fair.
Involuntary denied boarding
If there aren’t enough volunteers, we will choose customers to change flights involuntarily and deny boarding.
Boarding priority is given to certain customers, including to those who:
- Have special assistance needs
- Are traveling as an unaccompanied minor
- Have AAdvantage elite status
- Paid for First, Business or Premium Economy
- Checked in earliest
The selection of customers who are involuntarily denied seats is solely at American’s discretion.
You will not receive involuntary denied boarding compensation if:
- You fail to comply with American’s ticketing, check-in and reconfirmation requirements, or you’re not acceptable for transportation under American’s usual rules and practices.
- Your flight is canceled.
- We switch to a smaller plane for safety or operational reasons.
- Your plane has 60 or fewer seats and there are safety-related weight/balance restrictions.
- You’re offered a seat in a section of the plane that’s different from your original ticket. If you are seated in a section for which a lower fare is charged, you will be given an appropriate refund.
- We’re able to get you to your next stopover or final destination within 1 hour of your original arrival time.
Compensation for involuntary denied boarding
DOT rules determine how much you're compensated based on how late you’ll be to your stopover or destination. Our goal is to get you to your next scheduled stopover or final destination as soon as possible, so we may offer flights on other airlines and non-air travel such as by train. If your flight is oversold and you're not allowed to board, we'll give you a check or travel credit the same day at the airport or mail it within 24 hours.
Travel within U.S.
- Up to 1 hour arrival delay – not compensated
- 1 - 2 hour arrival delay – 200% of one-way fare (max. $775)
- 2+ hour arrival delay – 400% of one-way fare (max. $1,550)
- Up to 1 hour arrival delay – not compensated
- 1 - 4 hour arrival delay – 200% of one-way fare (max. $775)
- 4+ hour arrival delay – 400% of one-way fare (max. $1,550)
Travel from European Union countries (EU)
If you're not allowed to board an oversold, nonstop flight from the EU to the U.S., you may be eligible to receive one of these:
- A travel voucher that can be used for 1 ticket to anywhere American flies
- A check for 300 EUR (arrival delays under 4 hours) or 600 EUR (arrival delays more than 4 hours)
Travel to or from Canada
If you’re not allowed to board a flight to or from Canada, the Canada Air Passenger Protection Regulations may provide additional protections, including compensation.
Our goal is to provide timely, frequent and helpful updates – from the time you are ticketed, at the airport and on board – when there are delays, cancellations and diversions.
Rebooking your delayed / canceled flight
When your flight is canceled or a delay will cause you to miss your connection, we'll rebook you on the next American Airlines or American partner flight with available seats. We’ll rebook you in your originally ticketed cabin or class with your original form of payment. If your flight was delayed or canceled and you don’t accept our alternative arrangements, or none were available, we'll refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees according to our involuntary refunds policy. Beyond that, we have no further contractual obligation.
Delays caused by us
If the disruption is our fault or you're diverted to another city, and we don't board before 11:59 p.m. local time on your scheduled arrival day, we'll arrange an overnight stay or cover the cost of an approved hotel, if available. We don’t guarantee reimbursement for hotel expenses if you book directly without written authorization from American Airlines.
Delays beyond our control (like weather)
If the delay is beyond our control, or you book your own arrangements without written authorization from American Airlines, you're responsible to pay for your hotel, meals and other expenses. An American Airlines agent may be able to help you find a hotel.
Taking care of delayed passengers
We'll do our best to ensure delayed passengers are as comfortable as possible. Gate agents are asked to look after customers with special needs including unaccompanied minors, customers with disabilities and the elderly.
For long delays on the plane, we'll make every reasonable effort to ensure you have food (such as crackers or biscuits), water, access to the restroom and basic medical assistance if needed.
We are not responsible for any special, incidental or consequential damages if we're unable to meet this commitment.
Travel to or from Canada
If your flight is delayed or cancelled due to reasons within our control, the Canada Air Passenger Protection Regulations may provide additional protections, including compensation.
Your ticket, bags and refunds
All bags are subject to inspection. We will not accept checked or carry-on bags we think are unsuitable for transportation for reasons like size, weight or character.
Before you go to the airport, be sure to check our baggage page for information on all our checked and carry-on baggage policies.
Checking your bag
You can only check bags on the day you travel, and your bags must travel to the same ticketed final destination as you. Be sure your name is on all bags before you check them.
If you're flying from one of these airports, you can't check bags more than 4 hours before departure:
- Denver (DEN)
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Orlando (MCO)
- Portland (PDX)
- Salt Lake City (SLC)
- Seattle (SEA)
Baggage limits and fees
The number of bags you can check depends on your destination. Checked bag fees apply with some exceptions. All bag fees are non-refundable and apply per person, each way. Additional fees may apply for overweight / oversize bags or specialty items.
Also, you may have to pay bag fees again if:
- You are connecting on another airline
- Your connection on American is more than 12 hours later
Claiming your bag
Hang on to your baggage claim tickets; you may have to show your ticket to claim your bags. The airport baggage office will release bags to the person with the baggage claim ticket that matches. If you lose your ticket, we may ask for ID.
When you arrive in the U.S. from an international city, you will claim your checked bags before going through Customs.
If you arrive on American at your final destination and your bags have not arrived with you, our goal is to return them within 24 hours (for flights within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
Some of the reasons it may take us longer to get you your delayed bags include if:
- We don't have a local name, address or phone number for you
- You're on a cruise, in remote camp site or somewhere we can't reasonably reach you
- You changed your delivery address
- We have limited flights to your destination
- Weather or other operational issues get in the way
If you arrive at your final destination on another airline, please check with that airline for information.
In general, you're allowed 1 bag and 1 personal item:
- Your bag must fit in the sizer at the airport.
- Your personal item must fit under the seat in front of you.
- All bags must be stowed before takeoff.
Diaper bags, child safety seats, strollers and medical or mobility devices don’t count as your bag or personal item. You may carry on a fully collapsible stroller if it's under 20 lbs. and fits in an overhead bin. All other strollers must be checked at a ticket counter.
We always reserve the right to decide if your carry-on items are suitable to bring on board and if there is enough space in the overhead bins.
If you need to check your carry-on bags, be sure to take any fragile or valuable items like your keys, medication or computers with you on board. Also remove and carry on any e-cigarettes and spare batteries for laptops, cameras or other mobile devices.
There are additional carry-on restrictions for certain fares, aircraft and airports. We may have to check your bag at the gate if the overhead bins are full or if there are restrictions. Overhead bin size varies, and some planes and American Eagle flights have smaller bins.
For everyone's safety on board, some common items are restricted by the TSA and FAA. Be sure you know what you can carry on and what you can check in your bags before you go to the airport.
We don't transport hazardous materials, except for small amounts of dry ice, and we may remove and dispose of any hazardous material in your bags.
You can travel with firearms in checked baggage only. Firearms must be declared to an agent at check-in. There are other rules or temporary policies that apply; be sure you understand the rules before you go to the airport.
Pets and service animals
Depending on the animals' breed, size and requirements, pets can travel as a carry-on, be checked or transported with American Airlines Cargo. We only allow you to travel with your pet cats and dogs.
Service animals are welcome at no charge if they meet the requirements. The animal must fit on your lap, at your feet or under your seat, and cannot block the aisle. Dogs trained to detect explosives/drugs or trained for search and rescue (documentation required) are also welcome at no charge.
What we cover
If your checked bag is lost, damaged or delayed, we will pay the provable value of the losses up to $3,800 (or up to $5,000 if you declare excess value).
A good rule of thumb is never to check anything you can't live without. If it's irreplaceable, sentimental or you depend on it for your well-being, keep it on you or leave it at home.
What we don't cover
We don't cover loss or damage to:*
- Antiques or artifacts
- Books or documents
- Business equipment or samples, or marketing material
- China or silverware
- Computers, software or other electronics
- Fragile items
- Medication (over-the-counter)
- Orthotics or surgical supports
- Perishable items
- Photographic, video or optical equipment
- Precious metals or stones
- Securities or negotiable papers
- Time pieces
- Unique, irreplaceable or similar valuable items
*Wheelchairs or other assistive devices are covered
We strive to be as careful as possible during the normal transport of your belongings. As such, we also don't cover:
- Items you carry on the plane
- Minor scratches, scuffs, stains, dents, cuts or dirt from normal wear and tear
- Things not packed appropriately for transportation like musical instruments or recreational/sports items that aren't in a hard-sided case
- Damage to the inside contents of a bag if the outside isn't damaged
- Damage to or loss from normal wear and tear to parts that stick out like wheels, straps, pockets, handles, hooks or other attachments
- Damage to an item caused by another item in your bag
- Loss, damage or delay of any bag or item considered not acceptable as checked baggage on American
Items not properly packed in a hard-sided case will be treated as fragile items.
We are not liable for any incidental, punitive or special damages that result from lost, damaged or delayed bags including damages for lost revenue or business interruption.
We are not liable if and to the extent that the damage resulted from the inherent defect or quality of the bag.
Excess valuation coverage is not available for and does not apply to items we don't cover.
Time limits for liability
If your bags are lost or delayed, you should file a report before you leave the airport.
- Within 4 hours of arriving at your final destination if your bags were delayed
- Within 12 hours of arrival if you used Bags VIP Luggage Delivery
If your bags are damaged, you should file a report before you leave the airport.
- Within 24 hours of receiving your bags if they were delayed and then delivered or picked up
- Within 24 hours if your bags were damaged
For any follow-up reports or action you must:
- Ask us to repair the damage within 30 days of your first report
- Submit a Passenger Property Questionnaire within 30 days of filing your first report (if you're seeking compensation)
- Take legal action related to damage, delay, or loss within 2 years of the incident
We may reject your claim if you:
- Falsify information on your claim or submit the same claim with more than 1 airline
- Don't have proof of loss or receipts
- Don't submit your report or necessary claim documents in time
- Used a prohibited booking practice and then made a claim
For international travel, the Warsaw Convention and the Montreal Convention govern liability for personal injury, death or damage. The terms and conditions are set by these international conventions and are not subject to change or modification by American Airlines. These conventions set compensation amounts for death, injury and baggage loss and damage. The full linked page is incorporated herein by reference.
Each passenger must have a valid ticket to fly. A ticket is non-transferrable – it can't be used by or refunded to any other passenger. All refunds are made to the original form of payment.
How long a ticket is valid
In general, a ticket is valid for 1 year:
- If unused, you must start travel within 1 year of date the ticket was issued
- If partially used, you must complete travel within 1 year of the first completed flight
So for an unused ticket issued June 1, 2019, you must begin travel on the new ticket by June 1, 2020.
For a roundtrip ticket that was partially flown on March 1, 2019, you must complete all new travel by March 1, 2020.
These rules apply unless your ticket states otherwise.
Generally, you have up to 24 hours from when you buy your ticket to get a full refund if you booked at least 48 hours before departure. You must cancel your trip within 24 hours of purchase for a refund. If you bought your ticket through a travel agency or another booking source, contact them for a refund. Some countries have different rules about refunds, and if so, we will follow those rules.
Refunds will be made only to the person who paid. Tickets issued for official government travel will be refunded only to the government agency that issued the transportation request.
If you bought a refundable ticket, decide not to travel and want a refund, we'll pay:
- The full amount of the ticket if travel hasn't started
- The value of the unused travel if the ticket is partially used
We'll refund the original credit card within 7 days (allow 1-2 billing cycles for credit to show). We'll process cash and check refunds within 20 days of receiving all your paperwork.
Some requests may take longer, for example, tickets bought outside the U.S. in another currency or tickets that require research or verification. We are not liable for longer processing times.
We don't refund cash for non-refundable tickets. But if you cancel your trip before departure, we will then cancel the ticket and issue a credit you can use toward future travel on American. You'll need to book a new trip with your credit within 1 year (a change fee and any difference in ticket price may apply).
We will refund a non-refundable ticket (or the value of the unused segment of your trip) to the original form of payment if:
- You cancel within 24 hours of booking (and booked at least 2 days before departure).
- We cancel your flight
- We make a schedule change that results in a change of more than 4 hours to your departure time
- A passenger or their travel companion dies. (Supporting paperwork is required)
- Military orders require you to cancel your trip. (Supporting paperwork is required)
If you bought your ticket through a travel agency or another booking source, contact them for a refund.
Refunds of taxes
You can request a refund of eligible taxes included in the ticket price. If eligible, we'll refund the original form of payment.
- Destination-specific taxes not imposed by us may be eligible
- Taxes we must pay whether or not you travel are not eligible.
Refunds for seats, bags and extras
If you paid for seats, bags or other extras and don't use them because you didn't travel as planned, you may request a refund. Read our refunds FAQs for details.
- Request a refund Opens a new site in another window that may not meet accessibility guidelines
- Refunds FAQs
If you are due a refund because we failed to operate on schedule (a delay to your departure time of over 4 hours) or we refused to let you fly for reasons other than your violation of this contract, we will refund you:
- The full amount of the ticket and any extras if travel hasn't started
- The value of the unused travel if the ticket is partially used
If you were involuntarily denied boarding, we will not charge any refund fees or penalties.
We will only refund tickets issued by American Airlines and reserve the right to only make refunds in a currency or country of the original purchase.
Tickets are valid for travel only when used with all terms and conditions of sale.
Your ticket is valid only when:
- Travel is to/from the cities on your ticket and in your trip record
- You meet all the fare requirements
Fare requirements, like dates, special purpose or status, may include:
- Dates of stay (a Saturday night, weekend, etc.)
- Military status (to qualify for a military fare)
- Official government business (to qualify for a government fare)
- Attendance at an event (to qualify for a meeting or convention fare)
Your ticket is not valid when:
- You don't meet the dates of stay, purpose or status requirements for the fare
- We find that the ticket was bought using an exploitative practice
Prohibited booking practices
Reservations made to exploit or circumvent fare and ticket rules are prohibited.
Examples include (but are not limited to):
- Purchasing a ticket without intending to fly all flights to gain lower fares (hidden city ticketing)
- Buying a ticket without intending to travel, including to gain access to our airport lounges or other facilities
- Combining 2 or more roundtrip excursion fares end-to-end to circumvent minimum stay requirements (back-to-back ticketing)
- Booking a ticket in someone's name without the person's consent (which is illegal)
- Holding reservations for reasons like securing upgrades, blocking seats or obtaining lower fares
- Booking duplicate or impossible trips, for example multiple trips for the same passenger around the same time (trips a passenger physically could not complete)
If we find evidence that you or your agent are using a prohibited practice, we reserve the right to:
- Cancel any unused part of the ticket
- Refuse to let the passenger fly and check bags
- Not refund an otherwise refundable ticket
- Charge you for what the ticket would have cost if you hadn't booked it fraudulently
- Require you refund to us any compensation we provided like bag delivery costs, and reimbursement for clothes or toiletries because of late or lost bags
If we sell a fare in error, we have the right to cancel the ticket. This includes fare errors, computer errors and third party errors (human or computer). We try to prevent, detect and correct errors as soon as possible.
When we issue a mistaken fare, we'll void the ticket, give a full refund and notify you within:
- 72 hours after we learn of the mistaken fare
- At least 24 hours before departure if you bought the ticket less than 72 hours before departure