Southwest Airlines Baggage Policy
A Southwest plane. Know their baggage policy so you can be prepared – Samantha Gades (unsplash)

Are you flying with Southwest Airlines soon? Are you aware of all their baggage rules or were you going to take it as it comes and go with the flow? Nonetheless, it is better to be prepared to prevent misunderstandings and unwanted situations at the airport.  

Key Takeway
Southwest Airlines’ baggage policy allows you to take your first two bags for free, granted that they meet the size requirements of 62 linear inches maximum and no more than 50 lbs. Overweight and oversize fees will apply. You can also take one carry-on bag and a small personal item at no charge.

In this article, I’ll give you all the details about Southwest Airlines’ baggage policy to save you from having to do extensive research. I’ll share the fees that you may be required to pay as well as items that are a definite no-go on flights operated by this airline. So, stick around for just about everything you need to know. 

Checked bag policy and fees

Southwest Airlines gives you a baggage allowance of two bags for free. These bags shouldn’t weigh more than 50 lbs (22.7 kg) each, and they should meet the size requirements of 62 linear inches (157.5 cm) maximum. If you’ll be traveling with more than 2 checked bags, you’ll be required to pay the excess baggage fee, which amounts to $75 per bag. 

If you’re a member of the US military, you’ll get an exception on bag limit.

Carry-on bag policy and fees

The airline’s carry-on policy also makes room for free baggage. You can bring one carry-on bag and a personal item at no charge. Any more than this should be checked with the rest of your baggage.

Your carry-on bag should fit in the overhead bin, which measures at 24 x 16 x 10 inches. If your carry-on is too big and it needs to be checked, remember to remove the following items: 

  • Medication
  • E-cigarettes
  • Power banks
  • Smart-Bag batteries
  • Spare batteries
  • Assistive devices
  • Keys

The personal item that you get to bring can be for anything from a purse to a briefcase or laptop case. It must fit under the seat in front of you, which measures at 16.25 x 13.5 x 8 inches. The following items do not count toward your personal item allowance:

  • Child restraint system
  • Mobility devices
  • Outer garments or wearable items of clothing
  • Food in disposable packaging
  • Walking canes or umbrellas

Restricted items

There are some items that are not permitted on flights operated by Southwest Airlines. You will not be allowed to have any of the following items in your checked baggage or carry-on bag: 

  • Alcoholic beverages over 140 proof
  • Bang snaps
  • Bear bangers, bear spray
  • Blasting caps
  • Butane
  • Chlorine for pools
  • CO2 cartridges
  • Cooking spray 
  • Dynamite, firecrackers, hand grenades
  • Engines and engine-powered equipment with residual fuel
  • Fertilizer, liquid bleach
  • Fire extinguishers and other compressed gas cylinders
  • Fireworks, sparklers, party poppers, english christmas crackers
  • Flammable liquid, gel, or aerosol paint
  • Flare guns, flares
  • Gasoline, propane, fuels, lighter fluid
  • Gun lighters, gun powder
  • Realistic replicas of explosives
  • Recreational oxygen
  • Rocket launchers
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices
  • Small compressed gas cartridges
  • Spillable batteries
  • Spray paint, spray starch, Turpentine and paint thinners
  • Strike-anywhere matches
  • Tear gas
  • Torch lighters, gas torches
  • Vehicle airbags

Overweight policy and fees

Southwest Airlines has a standard fee of $75 for each bag that doesn’t meet the weight requirements. Bags between 50 lbs and 100 lbs count as overweight. All bags over 100 lbs will count as air cargo. Excess baggage that is considered overweight will cost you both fees. 

Oversize policy and fees

If your bag is smaller than 62 linear inches, you are exempt from the oversize fee. However, all bags that are between 62 and 80 linear inches will cost you $75 each. If you are bringing excess baggage that is considered oversize, you will be paying both fees. 

You count linear inches by adding length + width + height.

Sports equipment policy and fees

You can bring your sports equipment for free if you substitute it with one of your checked bags. If you are flying with two checked bags and your sports equipment, you need to pay the $75 excess baggage fee. Oversize and overweight charges will also apply to your sports equipment.

Read more details here: Southwest Airlines sports equipment policy

If you’re a golfer, here’s our more detailed explanation for flying with golf clubs on Southwest: Southwest’s golf club policy  

Plus, if you’re flying to, from, or in Hawaii, you will be able to bring your surfboard for free!  

Travel equipment policy and fees

Southwest Airlines’ travel equipment policy allows you to bring your child’s car seat for free. If it isn’t bigger than 16 inches, you can bring it to the cabin or check it with the rest of your baggage, in which case it won’t count toward your free bag allowance. Here are some more details about Southwest Airlines’ car seat policy

You’ll also be able to bring one stroller per child for free, granted that it meets the size and weight requirements. You won’t be allowed to bring it to the cabin but it won’t count toward your checked baggage allowance. For more details, check out our article on Southwest Airlines’ stroller policy.

If you’re flying with a baby, see Southwest specific tips here.

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