Southwest Airlines baggage policy is one of the most travel-friendly policies among all airlines. Your first two bags are FREE on all fares and the additional/extra baggage fee is a simple USD 75 per bag.
|Southwest Airlines Baggage Allowance—Carry-on and Checked Baggage|
|Personal Carry-on Item—1 (Free)||Carry-on Bag—1 (Free)||Checked Bags—2 (Free)|
|PurseBriefcaseCameraFood containerLaptop (with case)|
Max Size 18.5in x 8.5in x 13.5in 46.9cm x 21.5cm x 34.2 cm
Max. Weight No restriction
|Max Size 24in x 16in x 10in 60.9cm x 40.6cm x 25.4cm|
Max. Weight No restriction
|Max Size 62 linear inches/157cm per bag (Length + Width + Height)|
Max Weight/bag 50lb/23kg
Southwest Airlines baggage policy allows you to carry:
- 1 Personal Item Free
(must fit under your front seat)
- 1 Carry-on Bag Free
(per weight and size restrictions)
- Sports equipment Subject to applicable rules and fares
- Musical instruments Subject to applicable rules and fares
Southwest Airlines baggage allowance for all passengers is 2 FREE carry-on items (1 personal item and 1 carry-on bag) and 2 FREE checked bags—plus mobility and assistive devices, as well as musical instruments and sports equipment per applicable conditions.
Southwest Airlines Carry-on Baggage Allowance
Southwest Airlines carry-on baggage policy allows you to carry 1 personal item and 1 carry-on item FREE of charge—subject to the following size and weight restrictions:
- Personal Carry-on Item (1)
- Maximum size (incl. handle, pockets and wheels) 18.5in x 8.5in x 13.5in
46.9cm x 21.5cm x 34.2cm
- Maximum weight No restriction
Must fit under your front seat
- Examples Purse, briefcase, camera,
food container, laptop (with case)
- Carry-on Bag (1)
- Maximum size (incl. handle, pockets and wheels) 24in x 16in x 10in
60.9cm x 40.6cm x 25.4cm
- Maximum weight No restriction
Must fit in the overhead bin
Tip. Under the Southwest Airlines baggage policy, any carry-on baggage item exceeding the specified dimensions will be checked in at the gate. You can collect it after the flight at the baggage claim area. However, strollers and assistive devices can be claimed at the jet bridge/gate.
Checked Baggage Allowance
Under the Southwest Airlines baggage policy, the checked baggage allowance for all passengers is 2 free checked bags per passenger, regardless of travel class.
- Number of bags 2
- Max dimensions (incl. handles and wheels) 62 linear inches/157cm per bag (Length + Width + Height)
- Max weight/bag 50lb/23kg
Checked luggage can be checked-in at the airport’s ticket counter, curbside (domestic flights only), or a self-tagging kiosk, starting 3 hours before departure. However, Business Select passengers and Rapid Rewards A-List members can check-in their luggage faster using the Fly By Priority check-in lanes at select airports.
Southwest Airlines Late Check-In Baggage
You must check in your bags within the specified timelines. If you check in your baggage late (within 45 minutes of departure or less), it will be considered as Late Check, and your baggage may not arrive with you at your destination.
- Anything beyond the maximum size or weight will incur extra charges.
- Under Southwest Airlines baggage policy, the following items don’t count as carry-on or personal items:
- 1 child restraint device for a ticketed child or when complimentary, subject to space availability.
- Assistive/mobility devices for passengers with disabilities.
- Outer garments or wearable clothing articles.
- Food for in-flight consumption, but in disposable packaging.
- Umbrellas and walking canes.
Southwest Airlines Military Baggage Allowance
The Southwest Airlines baggage policy for active-duty or on-transfer U.S. military personnel exempts them from:
- The 2-piece checked baggage limit
- Excess, overweight, and oversize baggage charges
Southwest Airlines checked baggage allowance for active-duty U.S. military personnel and those on transfer orders is:
- Max. weight per bag 100lb/45kg
- Max. size per bag 80in/203.2cm
Self-tagging speeds up your check-in process by enabling you to print and tag your checked luggage. Southwest’s self-tagging kiosks are located inside select airports at the ticket counter and allow you to:
- Check in for your flight
- Print your boarding passes
- Upgrade to Business Select
- Change your Southwest Airlines reservations
- Check and tag your luggage
How Self-Tagging Works
Self-tagging is very simple. When you enter the airport:
- Find a self-tagging kiosk
- Retrieve your reservation
- Follow the on-screen instructions to:
- Indicate the number of bags each passenger will be checking
- Tag your luggage
1. Peel back the area located in the middle and at the back of the sticker.
2. Slide the tag through your bag’s handle and stick the ends together.
- Take your self-tagged luggage to the Bag Drop location
You cannot use self-tagging for:
- International flights
- Group bookings
- Unaccompanied minors
Make sure that your printed tags reflect the correct flight number and destination city.
Southwest Airlines baggage policy allows you to carry food items for in-flight consumption—but only in disposable packaging.
Excess Baggage Charges
Southwest Airlines baggage charges for additional, overweight, and oversized bags
According to Southwest Airlines baggage policy, anything beyond your free baggage allowance (2 bags) is considered excess baggage. However, the combined linear dimensions and weight of your excess baggage must not exceed 62in/157.4cm and 50lb/23kg respectively.
- Excess Baggage Fees
Southwest Airlines charges an excess baggage fee of USD 75/bag per way for any additional bag you’re carrying (i.e., third bag onwards), provided its combined linear dimensions (outside length + width + height) do not exceed 62in/157.4cm and its weight does not exceed 50lb/23kg.
- Overweight Baggage Fees
Southwest Airlines charges an overweight baggage fee of USD 75/bag per way for any bag weighing between 50 – 100lb (24 – 46kg). Bags exceeding 100lb/46kg must be shipped as cargo.
- Oversized Baggage Fees
Southwest Airlines charges an oversized baggage fee of USD 75/bag per way for any bag measuring between 62 – 80in (157.4 to 203.2cm). Bags exceeding 80in/203.2cm will not be accepted.
- Only one charge of USD 75 will apply if your standard bag is oversized and overweight—so long as the weight does not exceed 100lb/45kg.
- If your excess baggage is overweight and oversized, you will be charged for the excess baggage—plus the applicable oversize or overweight charge.
- Bags weighing more than 100lb/45kg will be shipped as air cargo.
Southwest Airlines Sports Equipment Policy
Per Southwest Airlines’ baggage policy for sports equipment, the following items can be checked-in in place of 1 piece of your free checked baggage allowance at no additional charge. If your sports equipment weighs more than 50lb/23kg and the outer combined dimensions (Length + Height + Width) exceed 62in/157.4cm, additional baggage charges (for weight and size) may apply.
- Nonmotorized Bicycles with a single seat
- Must be appropriately packed in a hard-sided bicycle box
- Must be within the standard dimensions and weight limits established for checked baggage
- Handlebars and pedals must be removed and packed in protective material.
- If packed in cardboard or soft-sided case, it will be transported as a limited release item.
- Bicycles exceeding checked baggage size will attract additional charges.
- Golf bag
- Must be in a hard-sided carrying case.
- Can include clubs, balls, and shoes.
- Hooded golf bag or golf bag in a soft-sided carrying case will be transported as a limited release item.
- Baseball/Softball equipment
- Includes 1 bag comprising 4 bats, 1 helmet, 1 pair of cleats, 1 uniform, 1 glove, and 1 pair of gloves (batting).
- Additional equipment for the catcher is also permitted.
- Boogie or knee board
- Archery equipment
- Includes 1 bow, arrows, and 1 average sized target (large targets will not be accepted).
- The bow and arrows must be encased in a suitable container that can withstand normal handling without damaging the equipment.
- Bowling bag, including ball(s) and shoes
- Fishing tackle box and fishing rod
- The rod must be packed in a cylindrical container meant for fishing rod.
- The fishing rod container must not exceed 3 inches in diameter and 91 inches in length.
- Hockey and/or lacrosse stick(s)
- Multiple sticks must be encased in a suitable bag or container, or taped together safely.
- Can include helmets, pads, pants, jersey, gloves, and skates.
- If substituting for a free checked bag, 2 bags (comprising hockey and/or lacrosse sticks and one hockey or lacrosse equipment bag) will count as one item, even if packed or taped separately.
- Knives, dress sabers, and swords
- Can only be taken as checked baggage.
- Allowed in checked or carry-on bags.
- Must not be worn onboard.
- Scuba equipment
- Air tanks must be empty.
- All accompanying equipment (such as BCD, 1 regulator, 1 tank harness, weight belt, 1 tank pressure gauge, 2 fins, 1 mask, 1 snorkel, 1 safety vest, and 1 knife) must be packed together in a container that is acceptable to Southwest Airlines.
- Tennis rackets
- Should be carried on as they are generally in soft sided cases.
- If checked in in a soft sided case, will be transported as limited release item.
- Water ski equipment
- Must be encased in container acceptable to Southwest Airlines.
- Can include only 1 pair of water skis and 1 life vest/preserver.
- Excess size charges will not apply, but excess weight charges may apply.
- Can be substituted for a checked or carryon bag.
- If it fits under the seat in front of you, it does have to be covered or in a bag or covered.
- Must be stowed with the wheels up to prevent it from rolling.
- If placed in an overhead bin, the wheels must point upward and it must be in a bag, or at least have the wheels covered.
- Snow ski equipment
- Includes skis or snowboards, 1 pair of skis or 1 snowboard, 1 set of poles, and 1 pair of ski/snowboard boots in a container acceptable to Southwest Airlines.
- If substituting for a free bag, up to 2 bags (containing 1 set of snow skis, ski boots, and ski poles) will count as 1 item, even if packed or tagged separately.
- Excess size charges will not apply to snow ski gear, but excess weight charges may apply.
- Can be substituted for 1 checked bag if traveling within the state of Hawaii.
- Fins and keels must be removed and packed in carryon or checked baggage.
- Length and width restrictions will not apply, but a USD 75 (per way) overweight fee will apply if the weight exceeds 50lb.
- May be transported as a limited release of liability item.
Special Sports Equipment
According to Southwest Airlines baggage policy, the following sporting equipment will only be accepted as checked baggage for a per-way charge of USD 75.
- Nonmotorized Bicycles packed in a hard-sided case or bicycle box with total dimensions (L + W + H) exceeding 62 inches.
- For flights other than those within Hawaii, or surfboards that exceed the weight allowance for flights within Hawaii.
- Fins and keels must be removed and packed in a carryon or checked bag.
- May be transported as a limited release of liability item.
- Wind surfing board
- The keel must be removed and placed in a checked bag.
- Must be packed in a single bag, regardless of how many are encased together in the bag.
- Kayak (except a sea kayak)
- Kiteboard keels and fins.
- Vaulting poles
- Must be packed in a single bag, regardless of how many poles are in the bag.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs)
To use an approved portable oxygen concentrator (POC) during the flight, passengers must meet the following conditions:
- The POC can be used only in battery mode, as electrical outlets are not available onboard.
- The POC’s battery life must cover at least 150% of the expected flight duration.
- Carry at least 1 extra battery (as a carry-on item), and pack it such that it prevents short circuiting. Be sure to recess or package the battery terminals in order to prevent contact with metal objects, including other battery terminals.
- Non-approved POCs can be carried but not used onboard.
- If you intend to use the POC onboard, it must bear the following label on the device’s exterior:
The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft.
How to Pay Baggage Fee on Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines does not allow you to pre-pay your baggage fee online. This means you will have to pay for your luggage at the ticketing counter.
Southwest Airlines Musical Instruments Policy
Per Southwest Airlines’ musical instruments policy, you can take musical instruments with you as carry-on or checked baggage.
- Carry-on Musical Instruments. Southwest allows you to take your musical instrument (incl. case) as carry-on baggage. If the size of your musical instrument exceeds the permissible size for carry-on items (10in x 16in x 24in), you can still carry it with you in the passenger cabin if it fits in the overhead bin or under your front seat.
If your musical instrument does not fit in the overhead bin or under a seat, you can carry it with you in-cabin by purchasing a seat for it—provided that:
- It fits in the seat without blocking the aircraft’s signage and it is secured properly with a seat belt.
- The instrument is placed in the first row and in seat closer to the window than any passenger in that row.
- You make a reservation and purchase a ticket (at a charge that does not exceed a child’s fare).
- Checked Musical Instruments. Southwest allows you to check in your musical instrument against 1 piece of your free checked baggage allowance. However, you will not be allowed to check in your musical instrument if:
- The combined linear dimensions (L + W + H)—incl. case or covering—exceed 150in (381cm)
- The total weight—incl. case or covering—exceeds 165lb (74.8kg).
Musical instruments such as double bass, cello, etc. which cannot be secured properly in a seat must be taken as checked baggage—and will be subject to overweight or oversize charges.
Oversized/Large Musical Instruments and Equipment
Southwest Airlines baggage policy requires passengers to pay oversize or overweight charges if:
- The combined linear dimensions (L + W + H) of your musical instrument—incl. case or covering—are between 62–150in (157.4–381cm).
- The total weight of your musical instrument—incl. case or covering—is between 51–165lb (23.1–74.8kg).
What to Do If Your Baggage is Lost or Delayed
If your checked baggage has been lost or delayed, you must:
- Report it in person to the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office
(located in the baggage claim area or airport ticket counter)
- File your report within 4 hours of arrival
After you report your lost or delayed baggage:
- A baggage service agent will create a report and hand over a receipt to you.
- You will receive regular updates regarding the status of your baggage.
- You can also call Southwest Airlines (you will be provided a phone number) to follow up on the status.
- You must file your report within 4 hours of arrival.
How to Check Your Missing Baggage Report on Southwest Airlines
To check the status of your lost or damaged bag:
- Follow up with the Delayed or Damaged Baggage assistance at +1-844-902-2949.
- If the local Baggage Service Office is unable to locate your bag within 5 days, download a form to pursue your claim from Southwest Airlines Baggage Claim Web Portal (to access the portal, you will need to have your incident number with you).
What to Do If your Baggage is Damaged on Southwest Airlines
If your checked baggage was damaged upon arrival, you must:
- Report it in person to the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office within 4 hours of arrival
(the office is located in the baggage claim area or airport ticket counter)
- Show your damaged bag to a baggage service agent so that they can assess the damage and liability
Southwest will not cover minor defects such as scratches, minor dents and cuts, dirt marks, etc., nor carry-on bags brought to the passenger cabin and articles packed in overstuffed bags.
Southwest Airlines Liability for Lost and Damaged Bags
The liability for lost, damaged, and delayed bags is limited to:
- USD 3,500 per ticketed passenger on domestic itineraries.
- 1,288 Special Drawing Rights for checked/unchecked baggage per passenger, per the Montreal or Warsaw Convention, whichever is applicable.
Banned and Restricted Items
Southwest Airlines baggage policy prohibits the carriage of the following items, or places certain restrictions on how they should be carried, as explained below.
- Recalled devices and lithium batteries. Lithium batteries and battery-powered devices recalled by the vendor or manufacturer due to safety concerns are not allowed as carry-on or checked baggage unless they have been repaired or made safe. For specific product information, visit www.cpsc.gov/recalls.
- Seat accessories such as child beds and footrests cannot be used onboard, but can be carried on.
- Smart bags with lithium-ion batteries are not allowed in carry-on or checked bags, unless the batteries are removed. If placed inside a checked bag, the batteries must be removed and carried in the cabin.
- More than 24% alcohol. Passengers can carry up to 5 liters in checked bags—but only in original retail packaging. Beverages containing more than 70% alcohol by volume will not be permitted.
- Jellies, jams, chill, yogurt, poi, and other non-solid foods must be packed securely in your checked bag—and can be carried on in containers up to 3.4 oz (100 ml), with the exception of baby food for the flight.
- Ice is not permitted in carry-on or checked bags, but reusable gel packs are allowed. Styrofoam coolers cannot be checked in. Dry ice is allowed if packed per FAA rules.
- Camping equipment. You’re not allowed to carry stoves, fuel, or fuel canisters.
- E-cigarettes, vaping devices, and atomizers are permitted in carry-on bags.
- Batteries. Spare lithium/lithium-ion batteries can be carried on—but only if the terminals are protected from short circuit. Devices containing lithium/lithium-ion batteries must also be carried on.
- Personal electronic devices like mobiles, laptops, and tablets must be carried on, but used as instructed.
- Self-balancing battery-powered devices like segways, electric unicycles, and hoverboards are not permitted.
- Lighters and matches are prohibited—except safety matches (1 book) and butane lighter (1).
- Spare light bulbs are permitted—provided they are energy efficient and safely packaged.
- Firearms and ammunition can be transported in checked bags—but only in hard-sided, locked cases that cannot be easily tampered with. You also need to be at least 18 years old to check in a firearm. You can also check in up to 11 pounds (5kg) of ammunition—provided it is properly packed per standard airline regulations.
- Other dangerous goods that are prohibited include:
- Sprays used for self-defense, such as pepper sprays and mace.
- Shocking devices and tasers.
- Items considered dangerous, i.e., flammable, explosive, radioactive, oxidizing, noxious, corrosive, infectious, excessively magnetic, or biohazardous.
Liquids, Creams, Aerosols & Powders
- Liquids, aerosols, and gels (LAGs) must be placed in transparent quart-sized bags in your carry-on bags, and must not exceed 3.4 oz (100 ml). However, larger containers (incl. hairsprays and insect repellents) can be packed in your checked luggage.
- Powdered substances like coffee, powdered milk, spices, etc., must not exceed 12 oz (350 ml) in your carry-on bags if traveling internationally. However, larger quantities may be permitted in your checked bag after screening.
Southwest Airlines baggage policy prohibits you from carrying the following items:
- Alarm briefcases and attachés
- Camping stoves
- Compressed gas cartridges
- Electric unicycles
- Engine or car parts deemed flammable
- Fermented fish sauce
- Fire dance apparatus
- Fuel canisters
- Hand warmers
- Internal combustion devices
- Live fish
- Live lobster
- Nail polish remover (except in small quantities)
- Paint (except small tubes)
- Pepper spray
- Rodents (i.e. Guinea pigs, mice, rats, etc.)
- Salt water
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7
- Self-heating pads
- Shocking devices
- Stun guns
- Swingless golf clubs
- Tires (except for bicycles)