Losing your baggage can be overwhelming because you probably wouldn’t even know where to begin your search. But you can start your search in a few different areas to ensure you’ve left no stone unturned. If you lose something on Southwest, this Southwest lost and found guide shows you which departments to contact and how to make an online claim if your baggage cannot be located.
If your checked baggage does not arrive at the destination, you must report the missing baggage to the Baggage Service Office at the airport. The deadline for reporting delayed baggage is:
- Within 4 hours of arrival in case of domestic flights
- Within 21 calendar days of arrival in case of international flights
After you file a report, you’ll be provided a receipt with a report number and a phone number through which you can follow up on the status of your bag.
What Should I Do if I Lose an Item on Southwest?
If you lose an item on Southwest Airlines, refer to the steps below.
- If you’ve lost something on the aircraft
- Stay back for 5 – 10 minutes and search for it in the vicinity of your seat.
- Seek assistance from a flight attendant.
- If you still can’t locate it, ask a flight attendant to inform the cleaning crew.
- If you’ve already exited the aircraft, get back immediately and search.
- Go back to the Gate through which you arrived
- Check your boarding pass if you can’t remember through which gate you arrived.
- Inform the Gate Agent that you forgot something on the plane.
- Find and ask your flight’s crew members (or pilots) how they can help.
- If you’re past the door/corridor (sterile area)
- You won’t be able to return to the gate, find a Southwest Desk in the Baggage Claim area.
- Ask the airline agents if they can inform someone inside the aircraft to check for your missing item (many passengers have been reunited with their baggage this way, so it may work).
- File your claim at the Southwest Airlines Lost and Found office at the airport, at the airport’s Lost and Found office, or online as explained below.
- If you’ve forgotten something at the TSA Security Checkpoint
- Contact TSA’s Lost and Found office at the airport.
- If you’ve lost something in the airport facilities
- Contact the airport’s Lost and Found Office (the Southwest Lost and Found Office may have nothing to do with it).
- If you’ve lost something at an airport restaurant or lounge
- Contact the restaurant or airport lounge and ask.
- If you have left the airport, find the number on Google and call them.
- If you’ve left the airport
- Call the Southwest Baggage Service Office at 214-792-5598, or
- Go back to the airport and get in touch with the Lost and Found department, or
- File a claim online (as explained below)
What Happens After I File my Report?
- You will be issued a receipt with a report number appearing below the Customer Baggage Report Information.
- You can track the status of your checked baggage with the report number.
- The receipt will include a phone number through which you can track your baggage.
- You can also track your missing baggage online.
- The missing baggage (checked) will be delivered to the location of your choice at no additional cost to you (Southwest does not take responsibility for unchecked bags).
- If your missing checked bag can’t be located after 5 days, you will have to file a lost baggage claim, which you can download from the Southwest Baggage Claim Web Portal. To access the portal, you will need to provide your incident number.
- If your baggage cannot be located within 30 days from the date it was reported missing, it is unlikely to have been found.
Southwest Lost Baggage Liability
Southwest will compensate you for the loss of baggage as well as reasonable expenses incurred by you due to the delayed delivery of your checked baggage (excluding mobility devices like wheelchairs, medical equipment, etc.) subject to a limit of:
- USD 3,800 per ticketed passenger for domestic U.S. flights.
- SDR 1,288 per ticketed passenger for international flights covered by the Montreal or Warsaw Conventions (whichever applies) for checked and unchecked baggage.
How much will Southwest compensate me for lost and found baggage?
The amount of reimbursement for expenses incurred by you for daily essentials due to baggage delay will depend on the original documented purchase price minus depreciation due to earlier usage, subject to the following limits:
- For domestic flights in the U.S. USD 3,800 per paying passenger
- For international flights SDR 1,288 per paying passenger
(includes flights covered by Montreal and Warsaw Conventions for checked and unchecked bags).
- The above limits will not apply if you declared a higher valuation (subject to an overall limit of USD 5,050) and paid for it before departure.
- You cannot apply for excess valuation coverage for these items:
- Cash and jewelry
- Precious metals and gems
- Optical, video, and photographic equipment
- Computers and other types of electronic equipment
- Computer software
- China and silverware
- Fragile and perishable items
- Securities and negotiable instruments
- Personal/business documents, research/experimental/scholastic documents/manuscripts
- Paintings, works of art, artifacts, collectors’ items, antiques, heirlooms, collectors’ items
- Irreplaceable publications/books
- Similar items
Deadline for Southwest Lost and Found Reports
You must notify Southwest of your delayed or missing baggage within the following period:
- For domestic itineraries No later than 4 hours after your flight’s arrival
- For international itineraries No later than 21 calendar days after your flight’s arrival
How to File a Southwest Airlines Lost and Found Report
You can file a Southwest Airlines lost and found report in any of the following ways:
- At the Baggage Service Office in the airport’s baggage claim area
- At the airport ticket counter
- If you have left the airport:
- Online for unchecked baggage
- By phone at (888) 202-1024
After you file your report, you’ll be issued a receipt containing (aside from the missing baggage details) a report number plus a phone number that you can follow up through for checking the status of your bag.
- The deadline for filing a lost/missing baggage report is within 4 hours of arrival for domestic flights and within 21 calendar days for international flights.
- To increase the chances of recovery, file your lost/missing baggage report at the airport immediately after landing.
- When filling out a Lost and Found report, be sure to provide accurate information, incl. but not limited to the color, brand, size, model number, serial number, date of loss, key distinguishing features, scratches, stickers, etc.
- The search for your missing baggage/item will continue for 30 days.
- If the missing item is found within this period, you will be notified by phone and/or email.
- If the missing item is a checked bag, it will be sent to your preferred address at no charge to you (or you can collect it from the airport if it suits you).
- If the missing item is a carry-on, you must collect it (or have it couriered to yourself) at your cost.
- If your item could not be recovered after 30 days, it will be presumed untraceable and you will be informed.
- If recovered, passports will be sent to the Passport Services Office, Lost/Stolen Passport Section, U.S. Dept. of State, and Military IDs will be sent to the NAS-JRB ID Office at the Dept. of Navy.
Southwest Airlines Lost and Found Update
After you’ve filed your Lost/Delayed Baggage Report, you’ll receive Lost and Found updates regularly from Southwest through the contact details provided by you in the report. If you’ve provided just your email address, you’ll receive the updates by email only. If you’ve provided only your phone number, the Southwest lost and found updates will be sent by phone, and if you’ve provided both your email address and phone number, you will receive Southwest’s lost and found updates both by email and phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on Southwest Airlines lost and found topics below.
Yes, Southwest has a lost and found desk/office at all airports. In the unlikely situation that you can’t find one, you can report your lost baggage at Southwest’s airport ticket counter.
Southwest Airlines has lost and found offices at all airports. If you can’t find a Southwest Lost and Office in your airport (unlikely), report your missing baggage to a Southwest representative at your airport’s ticket counter.
You can contact a Southwest Lost and Found Office:
1. Physically at the airport’s Baggage Service Office (or the airline’s ticket counter)
2. By phone
a. Call the Southwest Baggage Service Office at 888-202-1024
b. Call the airport and ask to be transferred to the Southwest Lost and Found Office
The Southwest Lost and Found number is 888-202-1024. Alternatively, you can call the airport where the baggage went missing and request to be transferred to the Southwest Lost and Found Office.
If you left something on a Southwest plane, you must immediately notify a Customer Service Agent at Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office in the Baggage Claim section of the airport or Southwest’s ticket counter. If you have left the airport, you must call 1-855-234-4654.
To ensure that you receive regular updates, be sure to provide your email address and phone number. If you don’t provide your email address, you will only receive notifications by phone. If your item cannot be located within 30 days, it is unlikely to be found.
You can access Southwest Airlines Lost and Found form by clicking on the link. Remember, you can use this form only to report unchecked items. To report a missing checked bag, you must either call 888-202-1024 or get in touch with Southwest’s Baggage Service Office through the airport where the bag went missing.
The Southwest Baggage Lost and Found Office is located near the baggage claim area in the airport or at Southwest’s ticket counter.
If you lost something on a plane on Southwest, you must call the airport where the item went missing and ask to be transferred to the Southwest Baggage Service Office. Alternatively, you can call this number: 888-202-1024.
The Southwest lost and found report (or the Lost/Delayed Baggage Report) must be filed within 4 hours of arrival for domestic U.S. flights and 21 calendar days for international flights. After you’ve filed a report, Southwest will issue a receipt containing (aside from other information), your report number and a go-to phone number that you can call to track the status of your missing item.
You can report a missing item on Southwest physically at the Southwest Baggage Service Office, located near the Baggage Claim area at the airport or at the ticket counter. Alternatively, you can report the missing item by phone at 888-202-1024, by contacting the airport and requesting a call transfer to Southwest’s Baggage Service Office, or online through the lost and found link (for unchecked items only).
You can report damaged baggage on Southwest:
1. Personally to the Baggage Service Office at the airport
2. By calling Southwest at (888) 202-1024
For domestic flights, you must report the damaged baggage within 4 hours of arrival or receiving the damaged baggage, whichever is applicable. For international flights, you must report no later than 7 calendar days after receiving the damaged bag.
Remember, Southwest will not accept manufacturing defects or minor damages resulting from normal wear and tear, including but not limited to scratches, cuts, stains, dents, dirt marks, etc. Southwest will also not take any responsibility for carry-on items or items contained in overstuffed checked bags.
In most cases, Southwest will deliver your lost and found baggage to the location indicated by you. No charges will apply for checked bags but carry-on bags must be paid for by the passenger.
If your lost baggage is not located within 5 days by Southwest, you will need to file a lost baggage claim.
The report number will be located in the middle of your Lost/Delayed Report Receipt, under Customer Baggage Report Information.
If you’ve left an unchecked baggage item in the aircraft, you must immediately notify a Southwest Customer Service Agent before leaving the airport. If you’ve already left the airport, you must file a Lost and Found report online (as explained above in the section titled How to File a Southwest Airlines Lost and Found Report).
You will receive your Southwest lost and found update by email and/or phone, depending on the contact information provided by you in the Lost/Delayed Baggage Report.
You can learn more about Southwest Airlines lost and found items by physically meeting a Southwest agent in the Baggage Service Office at the airport or by phone (call the airport and request a call transfer).
You should provide as much information as possible on a lost and found claim, such as receipts, model number, color, labels/stickers, identification marks, etc., along with your flight information.
To recover an item left at the airport, you must contact the airport authority’s lost and found office.
Yes, the Southwest lost and found baggage policy applies to all passengers, including unaccompanied minors travelling on Southwest Airlines.
Yes, the lost and found policy will also apply to passengers travelling with pets on Southwest.