The Most Common Questions About American Airlines Answered

American Airlines is one of the most known airlines in the world. The line flies nearly 6,700 flights a day to 350 locations across 50 countries, which is wildly impressive and means that American Airlines can get most passengers to just about anywhere they want to go. 

American Airlines officially began in the 1930s, but the very first American Airlines flight was on April 15, 1926, when Charles Lindbergh flew mail from St Louis, Missouri, to Chicago, Illinois. The airline continued to carry mail for eight years before beginning the transformation toward passenger flights. In the decades that followed, American Airlines continued to grow, innovate, and build toward its present-day status as one of the biggest airlines in the world.

These days millions of people fly American Airlines each year (via Zippia). Here is a look at the most commonly asked questions about the airline and what you can expect with each concern and scenario.

Does American Airlines have Wi-Fi?

When it comes to flights these days, Wi-Fi connectivity is very simply a must-have for a lot of travelers. American Airlines currently states that Wi-Fi is available on most of their domestic flights but it has to be purchased. If you are traveling domestically within the United States, you can buy Wi-Fi ahead of your flight or once onboard; international travelers can only buy their Wi-Fi once they are on the plane. 

It's pretty easy to find out if your flight will have Wi-Fi before you get on it — simply enter your flight information on the American Airlines website. Passengers can connect to in-flight Wi-Fi via their tablet, phone, or laptop through the website, where you will be prompted to choose a Wi-Fi plan. Most packages begin at $10, and those who fly frequently can take advantage of the American Airlines Wi-Fi subscription plan. Signing up for one device will cost you $49.95, but it's only $10 extra to add a second (via American Airlines Wi-Fi and connectivity).

Does American Airlines have TVs?

If free Wi-Fi isn't an option on a flight, most passengers hope and expect to be able to enjoy in-flight entertainment. Luckily, American Airlines offers free in-flight entertainment on most of their flights. Acoording to the airline, entertainment options include television shows, movies, and even music that you can watch or enjoy with your tablet, phone, or laptop (via American Airlines).

Entertainment options include Apple TV+, Apple Music, games, and education videos from companies such as Rosetta Stone, with plenty of options available for kids and younger adults. The airline also offers passengers the ability to browse the current in-flight entertainment options ahead of their departure on the Entertainment section of American Airlines' website. 

As noted by Nerd Wallet, smaller and shorter flights are likely to offer entertainment options through a passenger's own device and the American Airlines app, and longer flights typically have seatback television screens that make it easier to enjoy the programming without having to use your own device.

Does American Airlines have first class?

In September 2022, American Airlines announced its intention to stop offering first-class tickets on international flights and to add more business-class tickets instead. The airline is calling the new seats Flagship Suite seats, and they come with privacy doors and beds that can lie flat to make those long trips more comfortable. The airline issued a statement affirming the change, saying that the new seats will offer customers more privacy and more personal space (via CNN).

In the months following that announcement, the airline's chief commercial officer Vasu Raja revealed that the biggest reason they are eliminating first class from international flights is that customers were not interested in buying the seats in the first place. Raja noted (per CNN).

However, the airline was quick to note that first-class seats are still available on domestic flights to offer a little bit more space for travelers who purchase those seats.

Does American Airlines have a free carry-on bag?

Like a lot of airlines, American Airlines has different baggage rules for different classes of seats. Happily, all seat classes on American Airlines are allowed to bring one personal item and one free carry-on bag to every destination that the airline flies to. That makes traveling incredibly easy for everyone who chooses the airline, especially if you are on a domestic flight or are a particularly smart packer for international trips.

It's important to make sure that your carry-on bag meets the restrictions and size guidelines set forth by the airline. As the airline's website notes, carry-on bags should be 22 x 14 x 9 inches or 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters (including the handles), and the carry-on has to fit in either the overhead compartment or snugly underneath the seat in front of each passenger. Passengers can also bring additional items, such as jackets, diaper bags, and assistive devices like wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers, without those items counting as part of their onboard baggage allowance (via Seat Guru).

Does American Airlines have live chat?

Sometimes it's good to get assistance while booking a flight or when you're planning to book a flight, and it doesn't always make sense to jump on the phone and make a call. This is especially true if wait times for phone calls are long, or if phone calls aren't something an individual enjoys doing. Some of us like to enter into a live chat with a customer service agent instead — and luckily, the American Airlines app offers a live chat function for travelers who want to get assistance in that way.

The live chat on the American Airlines app isn't available around the clock, but the airline's site offers plenty of virtual help options for when live chat isn't there. Of course, you may end up having to get on the phone and call the airline eventually. Fortunately, their customer service number is easy to find, either on the app or online. Get Human lists the number as 800-433-7300. The site also tells you how long of a wait time you should expect when calling. 

Does American Airlines have a military discount?

Servicemembers from all branches of the U.S. military often enjoy discounts for any number of experiences, including flights. Like several airlines, American Airlines offers special rates and benefits to those who are currently serving in the United States military and to veterans of the United States Armed Forces. As noted on the American Airlines website, veterans and active members of the military can access those benefits using the VetRewards or the Veterans Advantage program, and current members of the military can also contact the airline directly. 

The airline adds that veterans can receive 10% off their flights through VetRewards. American Airlines explains that anyone who is active duty, retired, or involved in the National Guard is eligible for the benefits. The program also automatically verifies a servicemember's time in the military, which makes it easy for those travelers to get approved for the discount.

Does American Airlines have change fees?

When it comes to air travel, one question that's at the top of nearly every passenger's mind is: Will this airline charge me a fee if I need to make changes to my flight after I book it? While airlines in the United States offer a grace period that allows you to cancel within 24 hours of booking a flight that originates in the United States, sometimes things come up that require us to make travel changes well after that period has expired.

This was extra true during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many airlines began waiving change fees to allow passengers the most flexibility possible when it came to making decisions for their health. 

At the time of writing, American Airlines is not charging change fees for "domestic, short-haul international and select long-haul international flying on premium cabin, premium economy and main cabin fares." However, if you've purchased a basic economy ticket since April 1, 2021, your ticket isn't eligible for a refund or to be changed without a fee (via Amerian Airlines).

Does American Airlines have assigned seats?

Customers who fly on American Airlines are able to choose their seats when they book a ticket. Choosing your seat at that time will result in a fee for the seat being charged. If no seat is chosen when you book, then the airline agent will assign you a seat when you check in (via

There is a workaround to this system, but it's only for people who are enrolled in the AAdvantage member program. If you're signed up and at a specific level, you can choose your seat. Joining the program isn't too complicated (and it's free). Simply access the program by signing up on the American Airlines website. Once you've set up your account, you can start adding flights as you book them to accrue miles with the airline and to take advantage of members-only perks. The perks increase as your level in the loyalty program increases as well. 

Does American Airlines have free checked bags?

Being able to check bags for free is a dream that many air travelers hope to achieve. Unfortunately, American Airlines doesn't allow free checked bags for travelers who are not part of their American Airlines AAdvantage member program. Bag fees for checked bags aren't too bad on the airline, beginning at $30 for the first bag on a domestic flight and for many international flights (via American Airlines).

When it comes to checked bags, joining the AAdvantage program makes sense for travelers who fly American Airlines frequently. Once you hit certain mileposts, the airline will allow travelers to check bags for free for themselves and up to four flying companions. No matter how or where you're traveling, you can also opt to pay for your checked bags ahead of time on the American Airlines website, which can save you time at the airport and sometimes some money on the total cost.

Does American Airlines have premium economy?

As many frequent travelers know, when it comes to what seats passengers can buy (and what perks come with those seats), most airlines offer tiered seating. At the time of writing, American Airlines offers the following types of seats: flagship first, flagship business, first, business, premium economy, main cabin extra, main cabin, and basic economy. Each class of seats comes with its own advantages (via American Airlines).

Many travelers who want to have a comfortable flight experience but perhaps aren't quite prepared or willing to spring for Flagship seats or seats in First or Business class have opted for Premium Economy seating on an American Airlines flight instead. As noted by the airline, these passengers get to enjoy a lot. Perks of flying Premium Economy on American Airlines include a faster experience at check-in and security, wider seats, free in-flight entertainment options, a "chef-inspired" menu of drinks and food, Wi-Fi and power outlets, travel amenities from lifestyle brand Shinola and D.S. & Durga, and a Casper sleep set.

Does American Airlines have refundable tickets?

While most of us book airfare fully intending to take the trip we're paying for, sometimes things come up that interfere with even the best-laid plans. As such, a lot of passengers who plan to fly American Airlines wonder one thing: Does American Airlines offer refundable tickets?

The answer is yes, but not every ticket offered by American Airlines is refundable. Like every airline in the United States, all tickets purchased through American Airlines are eligible for a full refund if the refund is requested within 24 hours of purchase (as long as those tickets were not purchased as part of a group). If not, then whether or not a flight can be refunded varies. All passengers have the option to pay more for a ticket that can be refunded no matter the circumstances (per American Airlines).

If you purchase your ticket directly through American Airlines and opt to pay extra for a refundable ticket, then all you have to do to get your refund is to go online or call the reservations desk. If your ticket is nonrefundable, you might still have options. As noted by the American Airlines website, there are a number of reasons that would allow the airline to refund a nonrefundable ticket (including the death of a family member or receiving military orders). If a refund isn't an option, American Airlines does allow passengers to use part of their ticket as a credit toward future travel completed within a year.

Does American Airlines have bereavement fares?

Unfortunately, death is part of our collective experience on this planet, and sometimes this means that we find out we need to fly to another state or country at the last minute to be with a family member who is dying, or to mourn the loss of a family member. Some airlines offer bereavement fares to help customers in moments such as these. A bereavement fare is a ticket that is discounted to make it easier to purchase at the last minute (per CoverTrip).

Up until 2014, American Airlines was one of three airlines that offered bereavement fares (the other two were United Airlines and Delta Airlines). American Airlines discounted the policy of offering bereavement fares that year, but the airline's staff is available and willing to do anything they can to make your travel as easy as possible before and during your flight (via Sky Scanner).

Does American Airlines have free meals?

One of the perks that many people have questions about is what food is or isn't offered in-flight during American Airlines flight experiences. As noted on the American Airlines website, all seat classes and most flights offer complimentary drinks, such as soda, coffee, or tea, and light snacks (like bags of pretzels). Members of the airline's AAdvantage Executive Platinum program and its ConciergeKey program are also eligible to enjoy a free alcoholic beverage or drink and an item of food from the menu during their flights.

If you can't snag a free meal on board an American Airlines flight, you do have the option to buy one. The airline is careful to note that only flights that cover more than 250 miles will offer beverage surface, and snacks for purchase will only be available on flights that cover more than 1,300 miles. The airline also notes that the snacks available might vary, and that flight attendants could run out of a specific snack during your flight. The list of available snacks for purchase is on the American Airlines website.

Does American Airlines seat families together?

These days, there are way too many stories out there about families being split up while flying together, and many parents definitely prefer to travel seated next to their children. It makes sense for families to wonder what the American Airlines policy is when it comes to seating families together.

Happily, it's one that will make most parents feel comfortable about their choice to fly with American Airlines. As the airline's website notes, if families have not chosen seats 24 hours before their flight and parents are traveling with children under 15, the airline's computer system will begin to search for seats together for the entire family. If more than two members of a family are traveling together, and more than two passengers are under 15, the system will, at the very least, make sure one adult and one minor are seated together for the flight. 

Families can also ask flight attendants at check-in to help with any seating-related issues, especially if children aren't seated near their parents. Additionally, per American Airlines, the airline allows families with children under two-years-old to board early, and one carry-on diaper bag is allowed per child (and doesn't count as a carry-on for the adult).