Southwest Airlines Baggage Policy

Baggage Policy

southwest airlines baggage policy

The Southwest Airlines Baggage Policy explains the rules for bringing personal items, checked baggage, and special items on their flights. Before traveling, passengers are encouraged to review the policy to make sure their flying experience is smooth and enjoyable.

What can I bring in my carry-on bag when flying with Southwest Airlines?

With Southwest Airlines, you can bring one personal item and one carry-on item for free. However, there are certain size and weight restrictions that you need to follow.

You are allowed to bring one personal item. The maximum size is 18.5 inches by 8.5 inches by 13.5 inches, which includes the handle, pockets, and wheels. The item needs to be small enough to fit under the seat. Some examples include a purse, briefcase, camera, food container, and laptop. Southwest Airlines’ baggage policy does not consider the following items as carry-ons or personal belongings:

  • This article discusses mobility aids and assistive technology for passengers with disabilities.
  • A child restraint system refers to a safety device used to protect children while traveling in vehicles.
  • Clothes that are worn on the outside of the body or clothing that can be worn.
  • Food in a disposable container
  • Walking canes and umbrellas.

Please be aware that if your carry-on item is larger than the permitted dimensions, you will need to check it in at the gate. You can collect your luggage at the baggage claim area after the flight. But you can check strollers and assistive equipment at the jet bridge or gate.

What is the checked baggage allowance with Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines allows all passengers, regardless of their travel class, to bring two checked bags for free.

Number of checked bags allowed
Maximum size 62 linear inches/157 cm per bag (Length + Width + Height)
Maximum weight

If you have luggage that needs to be checked, you have a few options for where to do it. You can go to the ticket counter at the airport, the curbside (only for domestic flights), or use a self-tagging kiosk. You can start checking your luggage three hours before your flight takes off. However,

  • Fly By Priority check-in lanes at select airports make it easier and faster for Business Select customers and Rapid Rewards A-List members to check in their luggage.
  • Southwest Airlines does not charge any baggage fees.

Southwest Airlines – Late Check-in Baggage Make sure to check your bags in before the deadlines mentioned. If you check in your bags after the departure time (within 45 minutes or less), it will be considered a “Late Check.” As a result, there is a possibility that your luggage may not accompany you to your destination.

What is Southwest Airlines Military Baggage Allowance?

Self-tagging is a convenient feature that lets you print and attach tags to your checked bags. This helps speed up the check-in process when flying with Southwest Airlines. At some airports, Southwest has self-tagging kiosks at the ticket counter. These kiosks allow you to:

  • Get boarding passes.
  • To enhance your booking, you can upgrade to the ‘Business Select’ fare.
  • You have the option to make changes to your bookings with Southwest Airlines.
  • Make sure to check and label your luggage.

Can you explain how it works? Self-tagging is very easy. When you arrive at the airport:

  • Find a self-tag kiosk.
  • Get your reservation.
  • Please follow the instructions that are displayed on your screen.
  • Please indicate the amount of baggage each passenger will be checking.
  • Please attach luggage tags.
  • To remove the sticker, start by peeling away the middle and back parts.
  • Connect the ends of the tag and insert it through the handle of your bag.
  • Take your luggage that you have tagged yourself and go to the Bag Drop location.

Self-tagging isn’t appropriate for:

  • Transatlantic flights
  • group reservations
  • Passengers who availed Southwest unaccompanied minor service.

What is Southwest Airlines Excess Baggage Policy?

Southwest Airlines considers anything that goes beyond your free baggage allowance of two suitcases as excess baggage. To make sure your extra baggage is within the limits, remember that the combined length, width, and weight should not go over 62 inches (157.3 cm) and 50 pounds (23 kg).

  • Extra baggage charges –Southwest Airlines charges extra for additional baggage. If you bring more than two bags, you will have to pay USD 75 per bag each way. However, there are some restrictions. The combined length, width, and height of the bag should not exceed 62 inches or 157.4 centimeters, and the bag should not weigh more than 50 pounds or 23 kilograms.
  • Here are the fees for overweight baggage: Southwest Airlines adds an extra fee of $75 for bags that are overweight, meaning they weigh between 50 and 100 pounds. If your baggage on Southwest Airlines weighs more than 100 lb/46kg, it will need to be transported as cargo.

Please make sure to take note of the following points:

  • If your suitcase is between 62 and 80 inches, you will have to pay an extra fee of USD 75 per bag.
  • We do not accept bags that are larger than 80 inches/203.2 cm.
  • If your bag is bigger and heavier than the usual size, you will only have to pay a fee of USD 75, as long as it doesn’t weigh more than 100lb/45kg.
  • Bags that weigh more than 100 pounds/45 kilograms will be transported by cargo.

Learn about Southwest Airlines’ easy Name Change Policy, designed to make your experience hassle-free. Make sure passenger names are correct and easy to understand. Also, make sure they match the names on their identification documents. Follow these easy steps to prevent travel disruptions. Travel with confidence, as Southwest Airlines makes accurate and smooth journeys a top priority for all passengers.

What is Southwest Airlines Sports Equipment Policy?

Southwest Airlines lets passengers bring sports equipment like golf clubs, bicycles, and surfboards as part of their regular checked baggage allowance. However, there are some size and weight restrictions to keep in mind. You might have to pay extra fees for items that are too big or too heavy.

You may have to pay extra fees for your sporting goods if they weigh more than 50lb/23kg and if the total dimensions (Length + Height + Width) are larger than 62in/157.4cm. These fees are charged by Southwest Airlines.

Non Motorized Bicycles

  • The item should be placed in a bicycle box with sturdy sides for proper packaging.
  • You need to make sure that the item is not too heavy and that it meets the standard size requirements.
  • To prepare pedals and handlebars for shipping, you need to disassemble them and wrap them in packaging material.
  • If the product is packaged in cardboard or a soft-sided case, it will be shipped as a limited-edition item.
  • If your bicycle is larger than the allowed size for checked luggage, you will have to pay additional fees.

Golf cart

  • You need to use a strong carrying case for transportation.
  • Items such as clubs, balls, and shoes can be included.
  • Limited edition golf bags with hoods or soft carrying cases will be shipped.

Baseball and softball gear

  • The bag has four bats, a helmet, a pair of cleats, a uniform, a glove, and two pairs of gloves.
  • The catcher can also use extra equipment if needed.

Kneeboard or the boogie

Archery equipment

  • You will receive 1 bow, 1 set of arrows, and 1 medium-sized target. Large targets are not allowed.
  • You need a container that can safely hold and protect a bow and arrows during normal handling.

Shoes and a bowling bag with balls

Rod and fishing tackle box

  • You should put the fishing rod in a special container made of cylindrical fishing rods.
  • The fishing rod container must be no longer than 91 inches and have a diameter no larger than 3 inches.

Lacrosse or hockey sticks

  • To ensure safety, it is important to tape multiple sticks together or place them in a suitable bag or container.
  • The items included are gloves, skates, pants, jerseys, pads, helmets, and pads.
  • If you use two bags, one for hockey or lacrosse equipment and the other for sticks, they will be considered as one item instead of a checked bag. It doesn’t matter if they are packed or taped separately.

Knives, swords, and dress sabers

  • Southwest Airlines allows checked baggage.


  • You are allowed to bring it with you either as checked baggage or as carry-on baggage.
  • You cannot wear this during a flight.

Scuba diving gear

  • Make sure the air tanks are empty.
  • You need to pack several scuba diving items, including a BCD, 1 regulator, 1 tank harness, weight belt, 1 tank pressure gauge, 2 fins, 1 mask, 1 snorkel, 1 safety vest, and 1 knife. Make sure to choose a container that meets Southwest Airlines’ requirements.


  • They should keep going because they are usually in soft-sided cases most of the time.
  • If you check in a soft-sided case, limited-release items can be transported.


  • This can be used instead of a checked or carry-on bag.
  • You need to cover it either in a bag or if it can fit under the seat in front of you.
  • To prevent rolling, store it with the wheels facing upwards.
  • To ensure proper storage in the overhead bin, please make sure the wheels are facing up and either enclosed in a bag or at least covered.

Skiing equipment

  • You can bring one pair of skis or snowboards, one set of poles, and one pair of ski/snowboard boots in a container that is approved by Southwest Airlines.
  • If you have 2 bags, each containing 1 pair of snow skis, ski boots, and ski poles, they will count as 1 item when you’re replacing a free bag. It doesn’t matter if the items are packed or labeled individually.
  • You won’t have to pay extra for oversized snow ski equipment, but there might be a fee based on its weight.


  • When you travel within Hawaii, you can exchange this for one checked luggage.
  • You must remove and pack fins and keels in either your carry-on or checked luggage.
  • You can choose any length or width for your item, but if it weighs more than 50 pounds, there will be an extra fee of USD 75 for each way.

Special sports items – The sporting equipment listed below can only be checked as baggage for a fee of 75 USD each way, following Southwest Airlines’ baggage policy.

  • Non-motorized bicycles that are larger than 62 inches when you add up their length, width, and height. These bicycles should be placed in a sturdy case or box specifically designed for bicycles.
  • Surfboards- This is for flights that are not within Hawaii or for surfboards that exceed the weight limit for flights within Hawaii.
    To comply with regulations, please remove fins and keels from your belongings and either pack them in a carry-on or check them in a bag.
  • Windsurfing board – To transport a windsurfing board, you will need to remove the keel and pack it in checked luggage.
  • Javelins – Regardless of the number, all of them should be packaged together in one bag.
  • Kayak
  • Kiteboard accessories: keels and fins.
  • Pole vaulting is a sport where athletes use a long, flexible pole to propel themselves over a high bar.
  • No matter how many poles there are, they all need to be packed in one bag.

What is Southwest Airlines Musical Instruments Policy?

You can bring musical instruments on Southwest Airlines as either carry-on or checked baggage, as long as they are within the size and weight limits.

To bring a carry-on instrument on Southwest Airlines, it needs to fit either in the overhead bin or under the seat. It must also meet the airline’s requirements for carry-on size, which is 10 x 16 x 24 inches. Additionally,

  • If you have instruments that need to be checked, you might have to pay extra fees for their size and weight.
  • It suggests that you should package and cushion the instruments correctly.
  • If your musical instrument is too big for the overhead compartment or under a seat, you can buy a seat for it and bring it inside the cabin. But, you need to fulfill the following criteria.
  • The seat is comfortable and does not block the aircraft’s signs.
  • The instrument needs to be placed in the front row.

You can bring a musical instrument as checked luggage on Southwest Airlines. In addition to your regular checked bag, you are allowed to check one musical instrument. However, you will not be allowed to check in your musical instrument if –

  • The total size, which includes the length, width, and height, along with the case or covering, is more than 150 inches (381cm).
  • The total weight, including the case or covering, is more than 165 pounds (74.8kg).

Please be aware that musical instruments like a double bass or cello, which cannot be securely fastened in a seat, need to be checked. In such cases, additional charges for being overweight or oversized may apply.

Musical instruments and equipment that are very big or large – Passengers are responsible for paying oversize or overweight fees as per Southwest Airlines baggage policy.

  • The total size of your musical instrument, including the case or covering, can be anywhere from 62 to 150 inches (157.4-381cm) when you add up its length, width, and height.
  • Your musical instrument, including its case or covering, weighs anywhere from 51 to 165 lbs (23.1–74.8kg).

What are my options in case of Delayed or Damaged Baggage with Southwest Airlines?

If your checked bags are delayed or misplaced, here’s what you need to do:

  • To inform the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office, you should go there in person.
  • You need to report within four hours of arriving.

After reporting your misplaced or delayed baggage:

  • A representative from the baggage service will create a report and give you a receipt.
  • You will receive frequent updates about the location of your luggage.
  • You can call Southwest Airlines to check on the status.

To find out about your missing or damaged bag, just follow these steps:

  • Please contact the Delayed or Damaged Baggage support for further assistance.
  • To get the Southwest Airlines Baggage Claim form, simply visit the airline’s website and download it from there.

How can I deal with damaged baggage on Southwest Airlines? If your checked luggage is damaged when you arrive, you need to:

  • If you arrive and your baggage is missing, make sure to go to the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office within four hours to let them know.
  • To have your damaged bag assessed and determine your responsibility, simply bring it to a baggage service representative.

Exceptions – The exception to this policy include –

  • Southwest does not include carry-on baggage.
  • Small defects such as scratches, minor dents, cuts, and dirt marks.

Southwest Airlines’ Responsibility for Lost or Damaged Bags The parties responsible for lost, damaged, and delayed bags are:

  • On international itineraries, the per-ticket price is 3,500 USD.
  • Travelers should be entitled to 1000 USD as Southwest Airlines’ lost baggage compensation.

What are the banned or restricted items with Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines has specific rules regarding certain objects that are not allowed to be transported or have restrictions on how they can be transported. Here are the details:

Restricted items Additional information
Recalled devices and lithium batteries Not permitted as carry-on or checked luggage.
Seat accessories Not permitted as carry-on or checked luggage.
Smart bags Unless the batteries are removed, smart bags with lithium-ion batteries are not permitted in carry-on or checked bags. The batteries must be taken out and brought inside the cabin if they are put in checked luggage.
More than 24% of alcohol Passengers are permitted to check up to 5 liters of liquid, but only in the original retail packaging. The use of beverages that are more than 70% alcohol by volume is prohibited.
Jellies, jams, chill, yogurt, poi, and other non-solid foods Must be packed safely in your checked bag. They may be carried on in containers up to 3.4 oz (100 ml).
Ice Reusable gel packets are accepted in carry-on and checked luggage. Coolers made of foam cannot be checked in. Dry ice is permitted.
Camping equipment Stoves, fuel, or fuel canisters are prohibited from being transported.
E-cigarettes, vaping devices, and atomizers Atomizers, vaping equipment, and e-cigarettes are allowed in carry-on luggage.
Batteries Lithium/lithium-ion battery spares may be transported, but only provided the terminals are short-circuit protected.
Personal electronic devices like mobiles, laptops, and tablets Must be carried on, but they must be used as directed.
Self-balancing battery-powered devices Not Permitted
Lighters and matches Not Permitted
Spare light bulbs
Acceptable as long as they are packaged safely and are energy-efficient.
Firearms and ammunition
Permitted in checked bags, but only in secure, hard-sided cases that are difficult to tamper with. A minimum age of 18 is also required to check a firearm.
Liquids, aerosols, and gels (LAGs)
Permitted as carry-on luggage cannot be more than 3.4 oz (100 ml). Larger containers, such as those used for hairspray and bug repellent be put in your checked luggage.
Powdered substances
If you’re going internationally, the total amount of powdered items in your carry-on bags cannot be more than 12 oz (350 ml).


To sum up, Southwest Airlines lets passengers bring one personal item and two checked bags for free on every flight. If your bags are too heavy or too big, you may have to pay extra fees. The policy is made to make traveling easier and safer for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is Southwest Airlines baggage policy?

Southwest Airlines lets passengers bring one personal item and one carry-on bag for free. These items should fit either under the seat or in the overhead bin.

How do I check my luggage with Southwest Airlines (WN)?

Southwest Airlines lets passengers check two bags for free. The bags can’t be bigger than 62 linear inches (length + width + height) and can’t weigh more than 50 pounds each.

Are there fees for sports equipment on Southwest Airlines?

Yes. The fees for equipment depend on its type and size. It also depends on whether it is considered a standard checked bag, an oversized item, or an oversize/overweight item.

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