Passengers who wish to check in at the airport may do so up to 45-60 minutes before departure, although some departure airports require more time. The airline recommends arriving at the airport at least one hour and 30 minutes before domestic travel and two hours for international flights. After check-in, passengers will check baggage and clear security, so you'll want to make sure you have plenty of time.
Hugo Martin covers the travel industries, including airlines and theme parks, and writes the weekly Travel Briefcase column for the Business section. A native Californian, Martin was part of the Metro staff that won three Pulitzer Prizes in 1993, 1995 and 1998. He was also on the Travel section staff that won the Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers in 2008. He is an avid outdoorsman, gardener and Lakers fan.
American Airlines allows passengers to choose their seats in most cases, but there are times when the seats will be assigned at check-in. The carrier may withhold some seats until the day of departure to best accommodate passengers. Economy Class passengers will enjoy a seat pitch of 30-32 inches, while Business and First Class passengers can relax comfortably with 38-40 inches of legroom or a lie-flat seat.
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