American Airlines Not Letting Me Check-In – What To Do?

Checking in online considerably reduces lines at airports. However, there are circumstances requiring you to check in personally, at the airport. We've uncovered reasons why American Airlines might prevent you from checking in online and the ways you can tackle the issue.

If you can't check-in online, you have to conduct the process personally before the flight by coming to the airport earlier. Reasons you might have been denied include:

  1. flight itinerary begins and/or ends using another airline
  2. special assistance required
  3. traveling with pets
  4. traveling with weapons or firearms
  5. random security screening
  6. validating documents

Similar to all air companies, American Airlines has its own set of rules and regulations that adhere to government standards. In this article, we will talk about the reasons why you can’t check in online and what you could do to resolve the issue.

passenger-tourist-traveler-late-delay-checking, American Airlines Not Letting Me Check In - What To Do?

Reasons You Can't Check-In Online

Checking-in online offers nothing but advantages for all travelers, however certain circumstances still require the process to be handled personally at the airport.


1. Flight Itinerary

To address the issue at hand, American Airlines could have denied your attempt to check in electronically since they do not operate nor are in charge of the first flight of your trip. It is likely that your initial itinerary falls under a codeshare partner, put simply, a different airline.

2. Special Assistance Request

The details of your trip reflected special circumstances like assistance for a minor, elderly, or handicapped individual traveling alone.

These have to be handled personally with the airline personnel since they vary greatly from one person to another and have to be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.

3. Pets

Not all airlines allow you to bring pets on the flight, and for those that do, the process would entail presenting vaccination records and other papers and documents.

Again, the airline deems that online check-in will not suffice for comprehensive screening.

4. Weapons And Firearms


Declaring weapons or firearms always raises security issues that alert both the airline and TSA. The individual, as well as supporting documentation, have to be presented and validated to allow the item on board. Online check in simply cannot substitute the process.

5. Random Secondary Screening

Persons could be randomly selected for secondary screening and will be unable to check in online. It is an added security feature meant to protect the public by keeping travelers in check and legitimate at all times.

6. Validity Of Documents

The validity of your documents might come into question when you check in electronically or in person. If airport authorities find it hard to assert your identification, point of origin, and residency, the whole process could invalidate your qualifications.

What To Do

If you are denied to check in electronically, the process will have to be accomplished in person at the designated areas of the airport.

1. Flight Itinerary

First, determine the reason why you were declined and address the issue. If it was simply due to another airline, being assigned to the first leg of your trip, proceed to their check-in counter so you can confirm the next flight.

2. Special Assistance Request

Requesting special assistance might entail more documentation since supporting papers are required depending on the actual individual in question. For minors, the elderly, and persons with handicap waivers, medical records may be necessary for its approval.

3. Pets


Pets are usually allowed especially if they feature therapeutic effects and were actually prescribed. Simply present all documents to support the need or claim and you may not expect any complications.

Otherwise, present vaccination papers and lineage at the check-in desk.

4. Weapons And Firearms

Warrant a new set of supporting papers that would qualify you to bring weapons and firearms in the airplane. People who are allowed are military personnel, police, and other agents.

5. Validity Of Documents

Be sure to prepare all the travel documents you will need the day before your scheduled flight. This includes your passport, real ID, travel visa, and other papers that can validate your credentials

Advantages Of Online Check In

american airlines on the walls of the airport terminal

Checking in electronically has its advantages. Here are the following:

Save Time

First of all, you can check in at the convenience of your home or any other place that offers internet connections. That being said, the process becomes considerably simplified.

If you will embark on a relatively short trip and have no baggage to check in, you could breeze through the process quickly since you have already checked in electronically.

Unlike actual checking in, doing it online saves you the hassle of queuing in long lines. If you have to check your baggage, you may just go directly to the drop-off area. The line is relatively shorter since you will only hand the bags to the staff.

Save Money

You can actually save money on additional luggage because the fee is considerably less costly than when doing it at the check in desk.

Choosing Your Seat

Checking in electronically will give you the option to choose your seat. Some airlines might charge a fee for preferred seats but if you reserve your preference online, you have to option to avail of a window or aisle seat.  

Airline Check In Process

airport terminal on a sunday morning

When you arrived at the airport, you must first look for the specific check in desk of the airline you have reserved your flight to. Afterward, fall in line, prepare your travel documents, and wait for your turn.

At the counter, present your papers, credentials, and any other necessary documents you may need to show to the staff such as your pet’s vaccination certificate and medication prescription.

The airport attendant will weigh your checked baggage – if there are any – to check if they do not exceed the weight limit. Subsequently, if all your travel papers are verified, then the staff will hand you the boarding pass.

If you need any further assistance, just approach the airport personnel and he will be glad to help you.

What Happens If You Don’t Check In With The Airline?

Air travelers who fail to check in, whether online or at the airport, will not be able to receive their boarding pass and will not be allowed past security. In most instances, the seat is given to standby passengers.

How Early Should You Check In Online For A Flight?

You can check in electronically as early as 24 hours before your flight and as late as 45 minutes before boarding. However, some airlines may permit you to do so 36 hours prior to departure.

While this is the case, it is still ideal to check your airline’s regulations because time may vary depending on the air company you are flying with.

For instance, American Airlines will not allow passengers to check in online 45 minutes (for domestic flights) and 90 minutes (for international travel) before departure.

In Closing


Problems at the check-in counter can be easily avoided as long as you adhere to the airport’s rules and regulations. On the other hand, if you can’t check in electronically, then do so at the airport.

We hope the article has guided you with the ways you can resolve the issue.

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