Know The Rules Of Southwest Airlines Baggage Policy And Fees

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Southwest Airlines baggage policy is one of the most budget-friendly policies among all the airlines. The first two bags are free on all the fare types whereas additional Southwest baggage fees are up to 200 dollars per bag. 

Let’s get into every detail of Southwest baggage policy with what to pack and what not to do:

Southwest airlines checked baggage rules

Southwest Airlines Baggage Policy: Important Things to Keep

The best idea is to directly check with the airline about all the up-to-date information of Southwest baggage policy. Here is a general overview of it:

Carry-On Baggage

The travelers on Southwest can bring one personal item and one carry-on bag on the flight for free. The size of the carry -on bag shouldn’t be more than 10 x 16 x 24 inches in dimension together with wheels and handles. 

Checked Baggage

Southwest Airlines offers two free checked baggage for every traveler. Every checked baggage should not go beyond 50 pounds or 22.6 kgs and 62 inches in overall dimensions (length x width x height).

If there are more than two bags you should check more than two bags as additional ones. If weight limit or size increases you will have to pay additional Southwest baggage fees. 

Overweight/Oversize Bags

Southwest Airlines charges extra fees for bags that weigh more than 50 pounds or 26.6 kg. Fees depend upon the size and weight increment of the baggage. However, there is a certain limit to extra baggage.

Special Items

Southwest Airlines allows travelers to check musical instruments, sports equipment, and medical devices as special items. However, there are additional Southwest baggage fees for such items. Confirm the charges with the airline directly.

Southwest Airlines Baggage Rules

Southwest airlines baggage policy

Southwest Airlines baggage rules allow you to carry your belongings as per the guidelines of the airline. Also, this leads to a smooth check-in. Here are several rules that you should follow to get a hassle-free journey. 

Checked Baggage Allowance

Southwest Airlines provides a generous allowance for Southwest checked bags. This allows travelers to check up to two pieces of baggage free of charge. Every checked baggage should stick to the Southwest Airlines baggage weight and limits typically of up to 50 pounds or 26 kgs. The dimension of the baggage should be 157 cm or 62 inches in total dimensions of length, width and height. 

Additional Southwest Checked Bags

Travelers who want to check more than two bags would need to pay additional Southwest Airlines baggage fees for every extra bag. There is always variation in the fees depending upon the size and weight of the additional bags. 

Carry-On Baggage Allowance

Southwest Airlines allows travelers to get one carry on plus one personal item for no charges. 

Carry on bag should get within specified limit of size and weight of typically 10 x 16 x24 inches or 152 cm with handles and wheels.

Personal Item Definition

Personal items are the items that you need in the aircraft. These include bags, purses, backpacks, camera bags or laptop bags. These items should fit in the seat in front of you. 

Special Items and Oversized Baggage

Southwest accommodates different special items such as musical instruments, sports equipment, and some medical devices. For oversized bags, there are additional Southwest baggage fees on each Southwest checked bag. Travelers can contact the airline to check out all the details of Southwest baggage policy for carrying special and oversized items. 

Southwest Baggage Fees and Payment

Overweight Checked Bag

Overweight Bags:

$100 per bag (51-70 lbs.)


$125 per bag (71-100 lbs.)

Large Media Camera Equipment

$75 per item

Sporting Equipment

$75 per bag

Oversize Checked Bag

$125/bag ( larger than 62 inches up to 80 inches)

3rd + Checked Bags


Large Media Camera Equipment


Large Media Camera Equipment


1st Carryon Bag


2nd Carryon Bag (Personal Item)


1st Checked Bag


2nd Checked Bag


Military traveling on active duty or permanent change of station orders


Fees for Southwest Airlines are up to 200 dollars depending on the size and weight of the additional bags. It should be paid during booking. However, you can also make the payment of additional Southwest checked bags at the airport during the check-in time at the gate. 

Checked Baggage Fees

Wanna Get Away fare: Such fare types need $30 for the first checked bag, $40 for the second checked bag, and $50 for the third checked bag.

Anytime fare: With such fares, there is no charge for the first two checked bags, $40 for the third checked bag, and $50 for the fourth checked bag.

Business Select fare: In such fares, there is no charge for up to three checked bags.

Carry-On Baggage Fees

All fares: No charge for one carry-on bag and one personal item. You cannot increase the quantity. 

Additional Baggage Fees

  • Overweight bags: For a weight of 51 to 70 pounds the fee is $100 and for a bag of 70 pounds the fee is $200.
  • Oversized bags: The bags that exceed 62 linear inches including length, width and height there is a fee of $100. 
  • Sports equipment: For each sports equipment there is a fee of $75.

Baggage Tracking

Southwest Airlines provides a baggage tracking service to let travelers locate their checked bags in case they miss or are delayed in reaching them.

Travelers can track their baggage by contacting Southwest Customer Service. Also, travelers can use online baggage tracking tools with the help of their baggage claim number or confirmation code. 

What is allowed in carry-on baggage Southwest Airlines

While packing the bags for your trip it is important that you are aware of what you can pack in your carry-on and Southwest checked bag. Here are the guidelines that you should follow before packing to have a safe and hassle-free journey:

  • Clothing: considering the weather and activities at your destination, pack appropriate clothes for the duration and reason of your trip such as hiking shoes, weather coats, swimwear, trousers, etc. 
  • Toiletries: Keep toiletries in a clear, quart-size plastic bag to follow all the TSA rules and regulations. Ensure that any gels, liquids, or aerosols are in containers of 3.4 ounces or less.
  • Electronics: Electronic devices such as tablets, laptops, cameras, and chargers in a secure way inside your carry-on bag. Consider using a padded case or sleeve for protection.
  • Medications: Keep all the necessary medications in your carry-on bag with a copy of the prescription if needed. It is better to have medications in the original packing. 
  • Valuables: Items like a passport, jewelry and important documents in the carry-on bag rather than a checked bag. 
  • Books/Entertainment: Pack electronic devices, reading materials, or other forms of entertainment to keep yourself occupied and entertained throughout the flight.
  • Snacks: Pack non-perishable items as snacks for your flight, especially if there are some dietary restrictions recommended to you. Bear in mind the restrictions on bringing food through security. 
  • Travel Accessories: Pack travel-sized pillows, earplugs, blankets, and eye masks for added comfort during the flight.
  • Footwear: Consider packing comfortable shoes for walking and other specialized shoes for various activities at your travel destination.
  • Other Essentials: Don't forget items like sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, and umbrellas if needed for your trip.

What is not allowed as per Southwest Airlines baggage policy?

It is important to note the prohibited or restricted items while packing for security reasons for your Southwest flights. Here is the list of items that you should avoid packing to have a great journey ahead:

Prohibited Items

  • Explosives: Including fireworks, flares, and blasting caps.
  • Flammable Liquids and Solids: Such as gasoline, lighter fluid, and paint.
  • Self-Defense Items: Such as pepper spray, mace, and stun guns.
  • Firearms and Ammunition: Except for properly declared and packaged firearms for which specific guidelines must be followed.
  • Compressed gases: Such as butane, propane, and oxygen cylinders.
  • Other Hazardous Materials: Including corrosives, toxic substances, and radioactive materials.

Restricted Items

Liquids, Gels, and Aerosols: Abide by the TSA's 3-1-1 rule, allowing containers of up to 3.4 ounces or around 100 millimeters and fit into a single small-sized clear bag of plastic with one bag per head. 

  • Sharp Objects: Including knives, box cutters, and scissors with blades longer than 4 inches.
  • Tools: Certain tools may be restricted in carry-on luggage, especially those with sharp or pointed edges.
  • Perishable Items: Avoid packing perishable food items unless they are properly sealed and packaged to prevent spoilage or leakage.
  • Sporting Goods: Some sports equipment may be restricted or require special handling, such as golf clubs, bats, and hockey sticks.
  • Batteries: Spare lithium batteries should be packed in carry-on baggage to prevent potential hazards in the cargo hold.

Valuables and Irreplaceable Items

Don’t pack irreplaceable items such as valuable jewelry, cash, and important documents in a Southwest checked bag. These items can be kept in carry-on or personal item bags. 

Medications and Medical Devices

Keep essential medical devices and medications such as EpiPens, insulin and prescription drugs in your carry-on bag with any necessary documentation or prescriptions. 

Electronics and Fragile Items

Pack electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and cameras in your carry-on bag to prevent damage or theft. Avoid packing fragile items in your carry-on if possible.

There are certain Southwest Airlines baggage fees depending on the type of fare purchased, the weight and size of the bag, and whether the bag is carry-on or checked type.

FAQs About Southwest Airlines Baggage Rules

Q1. Can I track my baggage on Southwest?

Southwest Airlines gives the baggage tracking service to get the latest updates on the baggage and help you locate it. Using this online tracking tool of the airline you can track your bags easily. Contact the airline to get assistance. You'll need your flight confirmation number and last name or baggage claim check number. 

Q2. How to check in baggage online with Southwest?

To have an online check-in of your bags with Southwest Airlines, you can follow these steps:

  • Open your Southwest Airlines account on their website or mobile app.
  • Move to the "Check-In" or "Manage Reservations" section.
  • For checking in on the flight, follow the prompts.
  • You can add or modify checked baggage during the check-in process if required. 
  • Pay any applicable Southwest baggage fees if required.
  • Once the online check-in procedure is done, you will receive the boarding pass, and your Southwest checked bag information will be confirmed. 

Q3. How many bags can you check on Southwest?

As a traveler you can carry up to two bags for free of charge. Carrying further checked bags needs fees, which depend on factors such as the weight, size and number of extra bags. 

Q4. How many carry-on bags are allowed on Southwest?

The airline allows each passenger to get one carry-on bag and a personal item on the flight free of cost. The size of a carry-on bag should not go beyond 10 x 16 x 24 inches in size, with wheels and handles. You can carry laptop bags, camera bags, briefcases, and purses on the aircraft. 

Q5. What are the size and weight limits for carry-on baggage on Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines allows you to get carry-on bags with not more than 10 x 16 x 24 inches or 25 x 40 x 61 centimeters with handles and wheels. There is no weight limit for carry-on bags but travelers should be able to lift their carry-on bags into the overhead bin without any assistance. 

Q6. Are there any items prohibited from being carried in checked baggage on Southwest Airlines?

Just like any other airline, Southwest Airlines, prohibits certain items to pack in checked baggage due to safety regulations and smooth check-in. There are certain prohibited items such as hazardous materials, flammable liquids, explosives and items that are proven to be dangerous by aviation authorities. Travelers should review the TSA list of such items and also the guidelines of Southwest Airlines before packing the bags. 

Q7. Can I purchase additional baggage allowance or upgrade my baggage allowance with Southwest Airlines?

Yes, travelers have the option to buy additional baggage allowance or upgrade their allowance with the airline. You can do this during the booking process, by visiting SW Airlines website, or by contacting their customer service on the given phone number. 

Q8. What should I do if my baggage is lost or damaged while traveling with Southwest Airlines?

If your bag is lost, delayed or damaged during the flight, you should immediately file a report concerning this matter at the airport of destination or contact customer service representatives. The airline assists you in finding lost baggage and can provide compensation for your damaged or delayed baggage according to the policies and regulations. 

Q9. Does Southwest Airlines offer any exceptions or special allowances for military personnel or passengers with disabilities?

Southwest Airlines offers certain exceptions and allowances for active military personnel and travelers with disabilities. Military personnel can carry additional baggage allowance for free and passengers with disabilities can request help or accommodations to get facilitation to their travel experience. Travelers should contact the airline in advance to inquire about the accommodation which is available and submit necessary documentation or verification.

Q10. What are Southwest Airlines' baggage fees?

There is generosity in the fee policy for the baggage. You can carry one personal item or carry-on bag for free. Also, you can carry one checked bag within the size and weight limit for free. However, there is a certain Southwest Airlines baggage fee which varies as per the fare type and size and weight of the bags. Talk to the representative of the airline before you pack your bags.

Q11. How can I avoid baggage fees when flying with Southwest Airlines?

You can avoid paying Southwest baggage fees if you pack your bags efficiently and don’t increase the baggage size or quantity, check the exceptions to avoid paying fees such as military personnel, passengers with elite status or medical necessities passengers, and check for any discounts or waivers, book the best fare type to get extra baggage for free, avail of Rapid Rewards points. Contact the airline to know more about these details.