American Airlines™
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Seating Policy
Baggage Essentials
Restricted Items
Hand Baggage
Checked Baggage Policy
Excess Baggage
Special Baggage
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Hand baggage


Hand baggage

You can take advantage of our generous free hand baggage allowance, which you take onto the aircraft with you. There are size and weight limits that apply.


Hand baggage allowance

  • You are allowed one piece of hand baggage plus a laptop or handbag.
  • A 23kg (51lbs) maximum bag weight applies and you must be able to lift the bag unaided into the overhead lockers in the aircraft cabin.
  • Please see below for sizes.

Your maximum number of hand baggage items

Number of hand baggage items

 Passenger  Type of baggage allowed  Weight
 Adults and children(aged 2 and over) One bag
One laptop-sized bag, handbag or briefcase
23kg (51lbs).
You must be able to lift the bag into the overhead locker unaided.
 Infants (under 2 years) One bag (for items your infant may require during the flight) You must be able to lift the bag into the overhead locker unaided.

Occasionally we may not have space to stow all hand baggage safely on the aircraft and you may be asked at the boarding gate to check some or all of your hand baggage into the hold. If the baggage is within your permitted allowance, you will not be charged for extra baggage.

Exceeding your allowance

If any of your hand baggage is over the size or weight limit, or you have more hand baggage than your allowance, it will need to be checked in and will count towards your checked baggage allowance. If the additional baggage then takes you over your checked baggage allowance, or if you are travelling on a hand-baggage only fare, you will be charged for extra baggage at the airport rate.

See our charges for extra baggage

If you are travelling on a flight operated by American Airlines, American Airlines' allowance on hand baggage will apply. This may mean that your hand baggage will have to be checked in as hold baggage. In this case no charge for excess baggage would be applied.

Please follow the links on this page to 'Information if you're travelling on American Airlines' for more information about their baggage allowances.


Restricted items in hand baggage

Governments and local authorities may impose restrictions on what you are allowed to take on board with you and what you pack in the baggage that you check in.

Find out about liquids you can take on board with you

Find the instructions for dangerous, restricted and banned items


Allowance for flights operated for us by franchise airlines

If you are travelling on a route operated by another airline on behalf of British Airways, the following allowances apply:

Franchise hand baggage allowances

Carrier   Flight numbers  Aircraft Class of travel   Hand bag allowance (max)
 Comair BA6200 - 6449  All   All 7kg (15lbs) 
SUN-AIR of Scandinavia BA8200 - 8299  All  All  6kg (13lbs)
The aircraft used by these airlines are smaller than those used by British Airways and so the maximum baggage weight and size allowances are smaller.

Baggage allowances on other airlines

We have partnerships with other airlines to offer you more destinations worldwide, so even if you've booked direct with British Airways, one or more of your flights may be operated by another airline. In this case you should contact the operating airline for information about their baggage allowances. 

If you travel with British Airways and another airline during your journey, the British Airways baggage allowance may be more generous and you could be charged for extra baggage by the other airline.

If you are travelling on a flight operated by American Airlines or Iberia, please follow the links on this page to 'Information if you're travelling on American Airlines or Iberia' for more information about their baggage allowances.

If you've made a booking and are unsure which airline it is on, you can find out in 'Manage My Booking'.

Manage my booking

Find out more about airline alliances


Transfer passengers travelling with liquids

If you buy any individual liquid, gel or cream products of more than 100ml on board a flight and you are transferring onto another flight, please ask a member of cabin crew to place your purchases and receipt inside a clear tamper-proof bag, which must be sealed.

Any products not sealed in a clear tamper-proof bag with the receipt are liable to be confiscated in transit or at disembarkation.

British Airways cannot accept liability for any products that are confiscated.

Find out more about restrictions on liquids


Musical instruments

  • Small musical instruments (including cases) within the maximum size and weight limits for hand baggage may be carried onboard as part of your free hand baggage allowance. Where possible, those musical instruments (including cases) which slightly exceed the maximum size and weight limits for hand baggage will be carried subject to availability.
  • If the instrument is in addition to your free checked baggage allowance, you will need to pay an extra bag charge.
  • Larger musical instruments must be carried as checked baggage. Each item will count as part of your free checked baggage allowance. We will accept musical instruments between 23-45kg (51-99lb) and up to the dimensions 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in), provided that British Airways has been notified at the time of booking, or at least 24 hours before your flight. A heavy bag charge may apply to bags over 23kg (51lb).
  • It may be possible to purchase an extra seat for your musical instrument, depending on availability. If you would like to book an extra seat for a musical instrument, please make the booking through your nearest British Airways office. Extra seats cannot be booked through 
  • A double bass will still be accepted as checked baggage even if it exceeds the maximum dimensions.

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