American Airlines is one of the most popular airlines in the world. Statistics show that in 2021 alone, American Airlines hosted almost 166 million passengers, and the airline also enjoys over 123,000 employees. Suffice it to say that if you’re a frequent flyer, you’ve probably flown with American Airlines, but if you’re about to embark on an AA flight for the first time, there are some things you should remember to make your experience a little smoother. Here are 15 tips when flying with American Airlines.
1. Take advantage of in-flight entertainment
Your flight is likely to be lengthy, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of the in-flight entertainment where possible. Luckily, American Airlines offers the AAInflight system, which lets you watch movies and access other media. It’s definitely a good idea to hook your device up to the AAInflight entertainment complex as soon as you can when you board your flight.
2. Be sure to sign up for the loyalty program
Like many other flight companies, American Airlines offers a loyalty program that allows you to accrue points every time you fly. It’s called the AAdvantage program, and you should definitely consider signing up to it if you’re going to be flying regularly. It’s only worth it if you’re a frequent flyer, though, so think carefully about whether it’s a good idea for your specific situation.
3. Check if your ticket is refundable
Changes in circumstances can’t be helped, and there might be times when you need to refund your ticket. Make sure that the ticket you purchase is refundable, because American Airlines offers both refundable and non-refundable ticket options depending on when you make your purchase. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a flight you can’t take.
4. Arrive in time
According to American Airlines’ very own support page, you should aim to arrive at your departure gate at least 15 minutes before departure if it’s a domestic flight. International flights double that time to 30 minutes, so make sure that you’re leaving plenty of time when you set out for the airport. It’s not fun to be late for a flight!
5. Check baggage fees
American Airlines charges bag fees for certain baggage, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re not going to be paying any fees you weren’t previously aware of. Fees change all the time, too, so keep checking the airline’s checked bag policy to ensure you’re not falling foul of it or missing any crucial updates.
6. Book the right class
There are, broadly speaking, four different classes of flight on American Airlines. These are Basic Economy, Premium Economy, First, and Business, and they all offer varying degrees of comfort. If you’re not too worried about living in luxury, then go for Basic Economy, but if you need some extra legroom and want to fly in style, go for First or Business.
7. Check you’ve got the right documents
Domestic flights on American Airlines require at least one form of photographic ID, and it has to be compliant with the REAL ID system. This can include a passport, a military ID, or a driver’s licence, and various other documents are also valid. International flights require different documents, including visas, so check what you need before you leave.
8. Don’t eat if you have a nut allergy
Though American Airlines takes every precaution to make sure its food is safe for passenger consumption, the airline says that it can’t guarantee its food won’t contain nuts, nor does it make special accommodations for nut allergies. As such, be sure that you’re not eating the in-flight food if you have a severe nut allergy.
9. Talk to the crew if you need to
American Airlines says its crew is there to provide a safe and pleasant flight for you, so you can talk to them if you have any concerns. Are you worried about any aspect of your flight? Need to alert the crew to a certain problem passenger? Have any other requests? Don’t be afraid to flag down a member of the air crew and talk to them.
10. Know your boarding group
As with other airlines, American Airlines boards its passengers in groups. Members of the military on active duty, as well as Executive Platinum card holders, board first, and passengers decrease in priority through to those travelling in Basic Economy class within the US. Make sure you know when you’re boarding!
11. Don’t travel with pets
There are only two exceptions when it comes to travelling with pets on American Airlines: active US military service members and US State Department Foreign Service personnel. If you don’t fall into one of those two categories, then you won’t be allowed to travel with your pet, so arrange adequate pet cover before you leave.
12. Try an American Airlines credit card
If you’re a frequent American Airlines customer, you may wish to take advantage of one of the company’s credit cards, which come with flight benefits. You might get bonus miles for purchases, for instance, and you can also get elite miles with higher denominations of credit card. Check them out if you’re looking for new credit!
13. Charge your devices
Some American Airlines customers have apparently made reference to the fact that you need to use your own electronic devices to access AAInflight systems. As such, make sure your devices are charged and ready when you board. Charging sockets may be available, but you may not be able to depend on that.
14. Download the app
There’s an app available on both Android and iOS for all things American Airlines. If you’re going to be flying regularly with the airline – or, indeed, if you just want to check up on the status of your flight and other useful information – it’s a good idea to download it. After all, it’s free!
15. Make sure to read up on the airline’s child policy
If you’re going to be travelling with children – especially younger children – then it’s important to read up on American Airlines’ policy for your kids. This includes specific information regarding nursing mothers, children under 2 years of age, and larger families. Don’t get caught out!