How can I check in for an American Airlines flight?
American Airlines offers several check-in options for you to choose the most convenient for you:
- Online Check-in.
- Mobile Check-in.
- Self-Service Check-in.
- Curbside Check-in.
- Ticket Counter Check-in.
When must I check-in when traveling with American Airlines?
Minimum check-in time for American Airlines flights varies depending on the originating airport:
- At least 45 minutes for domestic flights departing from any airport within the U.S.
- At least 60 minutes for international flights to or from airports outside any airport outside the U.S.
- At least 60 minutes – Puerto Rico (SJU).
- At least 75 minutes – Barcelona (BCN), Buenos Aires (EZE), Dublin (DUB), MAdrid (MAD), Paris (CDG).
- At least 90 minutes – Caracas (CCS), Maracaibo (MAR), and US Virgin Islands (STX, STT).
Does American Airlines suggest a time for arriving at the airport?
For flights operated by American Airlines, AmericanConnection or American Eagle, you should take into considerations the following suggested times for arriving at the airport:
- For flights within the U.S., you should be at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to departure.
- For flights to international destinations, arrival at the airport at least two hours prior to departure should allow you to complete all necessary international requirements.
The arrival time at the airport recommended by the TSA is 2 hours for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights. If you travel often, you can save time by enrolling in TSA PreCheck.
Which check-in requirements apply for codeshare flights?
When traveling on a codeshare flight, you must check in with the airline actually operating your initial flight. To determine if you are on a codeshare flight and to find the carrier operating the flight, your booking details will indicate the operating carrier.
You may check in online for your domestic or international flight starting 24 hours prior to scheduled departure. The minimum check-in time for domestic¹ flights is 45 minutes before departure. For international flights, you must check in at least 90 minutes before departure.
Connecting or return flights
You may use Online Check-in and obtain a boarding pass for each flight if your itinerary includes a connection to an American Airlines, AmericanConnection or American Eagle flight. When your connecting flight is operated by another carrier, you may use Online Check-in as long as American Airlines has an e-ticketing and online check-in agreement with that carrier. Boarding passes for other carriers other may not be issued depending on the agreement with the carrier involved. You may still use Online Check-In, but you will need to obtain a boarding pass directly from that carrier.
You can check in online for both outbound and return flight segments at the same time if the return flights are within 24 hours of departure.
At the end of Online Check-in, you will be presented with the following options:
- Print – if you have your printer ready, print your boarding pass from the confirmation page.
- Email to Print – receive your boarding pass in PDF format to print it later.
- Email with Mobile Option – save paper and time by using your phone as a boarding pass at select airports².
If you lose your boarding pass, forget to or cannot print it, you have the following options for obtaining a boarding pass upon arrival at the airport:
- Stop by Curbside Check-in, if available.
- Visit a Self-Service Check-in machine.
- See an American Airlines agent.
If you checked in for your American Airlines flight online and you have bags to check, there are a few options to check your bags and pay baggage charges:
- At the curbside, for flights within the U.S.
- At a Self-Service Check-in machine located near the ticket counter, by selecting “Check-in Bags Only”.
- At the ticket counter.
¹Flights within and between the United States, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.
Mobile Check-in is available from your mobile device through the travel app that can be downloaded on a number of devices. The rules for Online Check-in apply also for Mobile Check-in, with the following amendments:
- You must already have a seat assignment.
- You’ll be redirected to Online Check-in if you don’t have a seat assignment or you’re traveling with an infant under 2.
Mobile Boarding Pass
You can choose to save paper and time and receive your boarding pass on your mobile device for select flights. You may use a Mobile Boarding Pass only if the following requirements are met:
- Your flight is operated by American Airlines or American Eagle.
- Your flight departs from one of the eligible cities².
If you want to check your bags, you must show your boarding pass at a Bag Drop position or ticket counter. At the airport, scan the barcode on the screen at the security checkpoints and at the gate during boarding. A paper boarding pass will be required if the scanner cannot read your barcode.
Self-Service Check-in is available for all passengers with electronic tickets traveling on domestic flights operated by American Airlines, AmericanConnection or American Eagle. At select international airports, Self-Service Check-in is available for passengers traveling on international flights.
You may check in for a flight using a Self-Service Check-in machine from 24 hours before scheduled departure up to the minimum check-in time. The front screen of the Self-Service Check-In machine will display specific cutoff times.
American Airlines has installed Self-Service Check-in machines in most domestic airports and select international airports. Self-Service Check-in machines may be found in the ticket counter lobby, in front of the ticket counters for checking baggage, and in select gate locations.
To be eligible for Self-Service Check-in, you must travel on an electronic ticket issued by any source. To identify yourself at a Self-Service Check-in machine, you can swipe a major credit card, scan or swipe your passport, boarding pass, or mobile itinerary barcode. You can also find your reservation by entering your confirmation code, AAdvantage elite-status card number, or American Airlines ticket number. In addition, you will be required to swipe your passport or manually enter the required information when checking-in for an international flight.
To receive boarding documents, assistance from an American Airlines agent is required in a few situations, such as:
- The name on the passport does not match with the name on the ticket.
- Travel documents such as visas need to be verified.
- Unaccompanied Minors using Self-Service Check-in.
- Passengers traveling with an infant, pet, or oxygen container.
Self-Service Check-in machines offers the following options: choose language (English, French, Japanese, Spanish, etc.), select or change your seat, print or reprint your boarding pass, check baggage, use the “Check-in Bags Only” option if you already checked in online, add your AAdvantage number, stand by for an earlier or later same-day flight (for eligible passengers), or request an upgrade (for AAdvantage members).
When using a Self-Service Check-in machine, you are allowed to check in bags and process any associated baggage charges for domestic or international travel. At select airports, you can also print your bag tags.
You may use Curbside Check-in as a convenient way to check in for your flight, get a seat assignment and check your baggage. American Airlines is expanding Curbside Check-In services to allow passengers traveling to international destinations, even countries requiring a visa, the ability to check their bags with a skycap.
You may use Curbside Check-in even if you used Online Check-In, have an electronic ticket or a pre-reserved seat. Curbside Check-In availability typically coincides with ticket counter hours. You may use Self-Service Check-In if Curbside happens to be closed. When using Curbside Check-in, there is no fee, but gratuities are appreciated for outstanding service.
You have to present your photo ID along with your confirmation number, flight number or eTicket number to one of the Skycaps. You can pay any associated baggage charges with a credit card.
Ticket Counter Check-In
Customers with special needs or anyone else wanting personal assistance with check-in will be assisted by an American Airlines agent at the ticket counter. Also, a stop by the ticket counter is necessary when you are traveling with an infant, pet, or oxygen container, or when you are dropping off an unaccompanied minor, even when checking in at a Self-Service Check-in machine. Ticket counter agents will assist with check-in passengers who need a visa to travel to another country or who are traveling with a green card.
The boarding time depends on destination and type of aircraft, but boarding usually starts 30-50 minutes before scheduled departure in the following order:
- ConciergeKey members
- Group 1: First, Active duty US military, and Business on 2-cabin aircraft.
- Group 2: Executive Platinum, oneworld Emerald, and Business on 3-cabin aircraft.
- Group 3: Platinum Pro, Platinum, and oneworld Sapphire.
- Group 4: Gold, oneworld Ruby, AirPass, Premium Economy, Citi / Advantage Executive cardmembers, passengers who bought Priority boarding.
- Group 5 (preferred boarding): Main Cabin Extra (excluding Basic Economy), eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers, eligible corporate travelers.
- oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members.
- Group 6-7.
- Group 8: Basic Economy to/from Europe.
- Group 9: Basic Economy domestic and to/from Canada, Mexico, Central America, and Caribbean.
Boarding gates are closed 10 minutes before departure.