Conditions of carriage

Updated May 8, 2020

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.

These conditions cover all of your rights and responsibilities as a passenger on flights operated by American Airlines.

Flying with American

Contact us

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: 817-786-3778

When you buy a ticket or fly on an American Airlines operated flight, 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.

Customer service plan

Here's what we mean by things like 'domestic' and 'FAA.' If you can't find something or have questions, please get in touch.

Contact American

American Airlines

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 Dragon
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Southern Airlines
  • El Al
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • GOL Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
  • Horizon Air Industries, Inc.
    (doing business as Alaska Airlines)
  • Hyannis Air Service, Inc.
    (doing business as Cape Air)
  • Iberia Airlines
  • Interjet
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jetstar
  • Jetstar Japan
  • Qantas
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • Silver Airways
  • Vueling
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.

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.

More about ID 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 and airport team members. 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 and airport team members.
  • 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 or show the potential to be uncooperative 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
  • 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.

Traveling with children and infants

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.

Traveling with children and infants

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.

Unaccompanied minor service

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 (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 an emotional support 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 an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, or a POC.

Call us anytime:

  • 800-433-7300
  • For hearing or speech impaired assistance dial 711 to be connected through the National Relay Service

Special assistance

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.

Mobility and medical devices

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.

Your flight

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.

American Airlines app

Check-in times

You can check in on 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.

Check-in and arrival

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 depart, there may be changes to:

  • The type of plane you're flying on
  • Your seat
  • The airline that operates your flight
  • The number of stopovers or stopover cities
  • Departure or arrival times

When there are changes that affect your trip, we'll try to contact you in advance and move you to a similar seat, 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
  • There are special, incidental or consequential damages because of these changes
  • Your checked baggage is late (except as required by statute, regulation, or Convention)

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.

Montreal Convention and Warsaw Convention

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.

Montreal Convention and Warsaw Conventions

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 travel credit in an agreed upon amount. The amount of compensation offered for volunteers is solely at American’s discretion.

When you volunteer to give up your confirmed seat on a flight, we will compensate you with travel credit 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. $675)
  • 2+ hour arrival delay – 400% of one-way fare (max. $1,350)


  • Up to 1 hour arrival delay – not compensated
  • 1 - 4 hour arrival delay – 200% of one-way fare (max. $675)
  • 4+ hour arrival delay – 400% of one-way fare (max. $1,350)

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.

Canada passengers

Our goal is to provide timely, frequent and helpful updates – 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 flight with available seats. If you decide not to fly because your flight was delayed or canceled, we'll refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees.

Delays caused by us

If the delay 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.

Delays beyond our control (like weather)

If the delay is beyond our control, 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.

Customer service plan

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.

Canada passengers

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.

Delayed bags

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.

Carry-on bags

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.

Carry-on baggage policy

Restricted items

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.

Hazardous materials

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.

Restricted items


You can travel with firearms in checked baggage only. Firearms must be declared to an agent at check-in. There are other rules 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.

Emotional support animals require specific documentation; please review the requirements before travel.

What we cover

If your checked bag is lost, damaged or delayed, we will pay the actual value of the losses up to $3,500 (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
  • Artwork
  • Books or documents
  • Business equipment or samples, or marketing material
  • China or silverware
  • Computers, software or other electronics
  • Fragile items
  • Furs
  • Heirlooms
  • Jewelry
  • Keys
  • Liquids
  • Medication (over-the-counter)
  • Money
  • 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 consequential, 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

First report

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

Next steps

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

Rejected claims

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

Prohibited booking practices

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.

Montreal Convention and Warsaw Conventions

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. 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.

Refundable tickets

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.

Refunds FAQs

Non-refundable tickets

We don't refund cash for non-refundable tickets. But if you cancel your trip before departure, you can use the value of your ticket toward future travel on American. You'll need to rebook and travel within 1 year and pay a change fee plus any difference in fare.

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.*
  • Military orders require you to cancel your trip.*

*Supporting paperwork is required.

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.

Request a refund Opens another site in a new window that may not meet accessibility guidelines

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.

Involuntary refunds

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

Fare errors

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