American Airlines is changing the rules for its cheapest fare option

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American Airlines is making a significant change to its basic economy ticket option — and this is good news for travelers!

In a special notice posted online, American Airlines announced that basic economy customers will soon be allowed one free carry-on (in addition to a personal item) to all destinations.

The current policy allows only one personal item like a purse or small handbag that fits under the seat in front of you.

RELATED: 18 things you forget on your vacation packing list

American Airlines to allow one free carry-on bag for basic economy passengers 

These baggage restrictions are unpopular with basic economy passengers. Those who take carry-ons to the gate end up paying a $25 gate service charge and a checked bag fee.

When that happens, a low-cost basic economy fare can actually wind up being more expensive than regular economy.

Delta, American and United all offer basic economy fares. Delta has always allowed both a carry-on bag and a personal item for basic economy passengers, while United prohibits full-sized carry-on bags.

American’s new policy that allows a free carry-on for basic economy passengers starts on September 5, 2018.

Money expert Clark Howard isn’t a fan of basic economy fares in general. “Pay close attention to this any time you’re doing a fare search and you’re looking at one of the three full-fare airlines. The cheap fare you see is a gotcha,” Clark says.

Have you flown basic economy on Delta, American or United? Share your experience in the comments below!


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