The Southwest Airlines Baggage Policy outlines the guidelines for carrying personal items, checked baggage, and special items on board their flights. Passengers are encouraged to review the policy before traveling to ensure a smooth and enjoyable flying experience.

What is allowed in carry-on baggage with Southwest Airlines?

You are permitted to check one personal item and one carry-on item free of charge with Southwest Airlines, subject to the following size and weight restrictions:

Personal items – 1 personal item is permitted. Maximum size: 18.5 in. x 8.5 in. x 13.5 in. (including handle, pockets, and wheels). It must fit under the seat. Purse, briefcase, camera, food container, and laptop are some examples. The following things are not considered carry-ons or personal belongings according to Southwest Airlines’ baggage policy:

  • Mobility aids and assistive technology for passengers with disabilities.
  • Child restraint system 
  • Outer clothing or wearable clothing items.
  • Food in disposable container
  • Canes for walking and umbrellas.

Carry-on bag – The dimension of the hand luggage must be within  60.9cm x 40.6cm x 25.4cm ( 24 in x 16 in x 10 in). It must be able to fit in the overhead bin.

Note – Any carry-on item larger than the allowed dimensions must be checked in at the gate. After the flight, you can pick it up at the baggage claim area. However, you can check in strollers and assistive equipment at the jet bridge or gate.

What is checked baggage allowance with Southwest Airlines?

Regardless of travel class, all passengers are permitted two free checked bags each under Southwest Airlines baggage rules.

Number of checked bags allowedTwo
Maximum size62 linear inches/157 cm per bag (Length + Width + Height)
Maximum weight50lb/23kg

If you have checked luggage, you can check it in at the airport’s ticket counter, curbside (for domestic flights only), or at a self-tagging kiosk starting three hours before takeoff. However, 

  • Using the Fly By Priority check-in lanes at particular airports allows Business Select customers and Rapid Rewards A-List members to check in their luggage more quickly. 
  • No Southwest Airlines Baggage fees would be assessed. 

Late check-in baggage from Southwest Airlines – You must check your bags in by the deadlines listed. It will be deemed a “Late Check” and your luggage might not go with you to your destination if you check in your bags after departure (within 45 minutes or less).

What is Southwest Airlines Military Baggage Allowance?

Self-tagging allows you to print and tag your checked bags, which expedites the Southwest airlines check-in procedure. At the ticket counter in a few airports, Southwest’s self-tagging kiosks allow you to:

  • Obtain boarding passes
  • Upgrade your booking to ‘Business Select’ fare
  • You can modify your bookings with Southwest Airlines.
  • Verify and tag your luggage.

How does it work – It’s incredibly easy to self-tag. Upon arrival at the airport:

  • Locate a self-tag kiosk.
  • Obtain your reservation
  • Follow the instructions on-screen:
  • Declare how much baggage each passenger will be checking.
  • Add luggage tags.
  • Peel away the middle and back of the sticker.
  • Put the tag’s ends together and feed it through the handle of your bag.
  • Go to the Bag Drop location with your self-tagged luggage.

Self-tagging isn’t appropriate for:

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

What is Southwest Airlines Excess Baggage Policy?

Anything that exceeds your free baggage allowance of two suitcases is regarded as excess baggage by Southwest Airlines. However, the total length, width, and weight of your excess baggage must not exceed 62 linear inches (157.3 cm) and 50 pounds (23 kg).

  • Extra baggage charges – For every extra bag you bring (i.e., the third bag onward), Southwest Airlines levies an excess baggage cost of USD 75/bag per way, provided that the bag’s combined linear dimensions (outside length + width + height) do not exceed 62in/157.4cm and the bag does not weigh more than 50lb/23kg.
  • Fees for Overweight Baggage Southwest Airlines charges a surcharge of USD 75 per bag for overweight baggage for any bag weighing between 50 and 100 pounds. Southwest airlines baggage weight limit that exceeds 100 lb/46kg must be transported as cargo.

You must take a note of the following points – 

  • Any suitcase ranging between 62 and 80 inches must pay an overweight baggage cost of USD 75 per bag.
  • Bags larger than 80 inches/203.2 cm won’t be accepted.
  • If your standard bag is oversized and overweight, only one fee of USD 75 will be assessed—as long as the weight does not exceed 100lb/45kg.
  • Bags weighing more than 100 pounds/45 kilogrammes will be transported by cargo.

What is Southwest Airlines Sports Equipment Policy?

Southwest Airlines allows passengers to bring sports equipment such as golf clubs, bicycles, and surfboards as part of their regular checked baggage allowance, subject to certain size and weight restrictions. There may be additional fees for oversize or overweight items.

Additional Southwest airlines baggage fees (for weight and size) may be charged if your sporting goods weigh more than 50lb/23kg and the exterior combined dimensions (Length + Height + Width) exceed 62in/157.4cm.

Non Motorized Bicycles

  • Must be properly packaged in a bicycle box with firm sides.
  • Must fit within the stipulated weight and standard dimension 
  • Pedals and handlebars must be taken apart and wrapped in packaging material.
  • It will be shipped as a limited-edition product if it is packaged in cardboard or a soft-sided case.
  • Bicycles that are larger than allowed as checked luggage will incur extra fees.

Golf cart

  • Must be transported in a sturdy carrying case.
  • Clubs, balls, and shoes are examples of items that can be included.
  • Golf bags with hoods or those with soft carrying cases will be shipped as limited edition items.

Baseball and softball gear

  • Contains a single bag with four bats, a helmet, a pair of cleats, a uniform, a glove, and two pairs of gloves.
  • Additional equipment for the catcher is also permissible.

Knee board or the boogie

Archery equipment

  • Consists of 1 bow, 1 set of arrows, and 1 medium-sized target (large targets will not be accepted).
  • An appropriate container that can sustain typical handling without endangering the bow and arrows is required.

Shoes and a bowling bag with balls

Rod and fishing tackle box

  • The rod needs to be placed within a cylindrical fishing rod-specific container.
  • The container for the fishing rod cannot be longer than 91 inches or have a diameter larger than 3 inches.

Lacrosse or hockey sticks (s)

  • Multiple sticks must be safely taped together or enclosed in an appropriate bag or container.
  • Includes gloves, skates, pants, jerseys, pads, helmets, and pads.
  • Two bags—one containing a bag for the hockey or lacrosse equipment and the other containing the sticks—will count as one item if used in place of a free checked bag, even if they are packed or taped individually.

Knives, swords, and dress sabres

  • Permitted as Southwest airlines checked baggage.


  • Permitted as checked or carry-on baggage. 
  • Cannot be worn in flight.

Scuba diving gear

  • Air Tanks must be empty.
  • The BCD, 1 regulator, 1 tank harness, weight belt, 1 tank pressure gauge, 2 fins, 1 mask, 1 snorkel, 1 safety vest, and 1 knife, among other items, must all be put in a container that Southwest Airlines would allow.


  • They ought to continue because most of the time they are in soft-sided cases.
  • Limited release items will be transported if checked in a soft sided case.


  • Can be used in place of a checked or carry-on bag.
  • It does need to be covered, in a bag, or covered if it fits beneath the seat in front of you.
  • To keep it from rolling, it must be stored with the wheels up.
  • The wheels must be facing up and enclosed in a bag or at the very least have the wheels covered if placed in an overhead bin.

Skiing equipment

  • 1 pair of skis or snowboards, 1 set of poles, and 1 pair of ski/snowboard boots in a container approved by Southwest Airlines.
  • Even if packed or labeled individually, up to 2 bags (each containing 1 pair of snow skis, ski boots, and ski poles) will qualify as 1 item when replacing a free bag.
  • Snow ski equipment will not be subject to excess size fees, however there may be a weight fee.


  • When traveling within Hawaii, this can be exchanged for one checked luggage.
  • The removal and packing of fins and keels in carryon or checked luggage is required.
  • There are no restrictions on length or width, however if the weight is more than 50 pounds, an overweight fee of USD 75 (per way) will be charged.

Special sports items – The following sporting equipment will only be accepted as checked baggage for a fee of 75 USD each way, in accordance with Southwest Airlines baggage policy.

  • Non-motorized bicycles that have total dimensions (L + W + H) that are greater than 62 inches and are put in a hard-sided case or bicycle box.
  • Surfboards – For flights outside of Hawaii or surfboards that weigh more than is permitted for flights inside Hawaii.
  • Fins and keels must be taken off and placed in a carryon or checked bag.
  • Windsurfing board – The keel needs to be taken off and put in a checked luggage.
  • Javelins – No matter how many are bundled together in the bag, they all need to be packaged in one.
  • Kayak
  • Keels and fins for a kiteboard.
  • Pole vaulting
  • Regardless of the number of poles in the bag, it must be packed in a single bag.

What is Southwest Airlines Musical Instruments Policy?

Southwest Airlines allows musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage, as long as they meet size and weight restrictions.

For carry-on instruments, they must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat and must meet the Southwest airlines baggage requirements for carry-on size (10 x 16 x 24 inches). Add to that – 

  • For checked instruments, they may be subject to oversize and overweight baggage fees.
  • It recommends that the instruments be properly packaged and cushioned.
  • You can bring your musical instrument inside the cabin by purchasing a seat for it if it cannot fit in the overhead compartment or beneath a seat. However, you must meet the following requirements.
  • It fits comfortably in the seat without obstructing the aircraft’s signs
  • The instrument must be positioned in the first row.

Musical instrument as checked luggage – In addition to one item of your free checked luggage, Southwest lets you check one musical instrument. Nevertheless, you won’t be permitted to check in your musical instrument if – 

  • The total linear dimensions (L + W + H), including the case or covering, surpass 150 inches (381cm)
  • The combined weight surpasses 165 pounds, including the case or covering (74.8kg).

Please note – Musical instruments, such as a double bass or cello, that cannot be properly fastened in a seat must be checked and will be subject to overweight or oversize charges.

Musical instruments and equipment that are oversized or large – According to Southwest Airlines baggage policy, passengers are responsible for paying oversize or overweight fees if:

  • Your musical instrument’s total linear dimensions (L + W + H), including the case or covering, range from 62 to 150 inches (157.4–381cm).
  • Your musical instrument weighs between 51 and 165 lbs when the case or covering is included (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, you must:

  • Inform the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office in person.
  • Reporting must be done within four hours of arrival.

After reporting your misplaced or delayed baggage:

  • A baggage service representative will compile a report and provide you a receipt.
  • You’ll get regular updates on the whereabouts of your luggage.
  • To check on the status, you can also call Southwest Airlines

To check the status of your missing or damaged bag, follow these steps:

  • Follow up with the Delayed or Damaged Baggage support.
  • Download  Southwest Airlines Baggage Claim form from the airline’s website.

How to Handle Damaged Baggage on Southwest Airlines? – Upon arrival, if your checked luggage was damaged, you must:

  • Within four hours of arrival, inform the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office in person.
  • Present your damaged bag to a baggage service representative so they can evaluate the damage and your responsibility.

Exceptions – The exception to this policy include – 

  • Southwest does not cover carry-on baggage 
  • Small defects like scratches, minor dents and cuts, dirt marks, etc.

Liability of Southwest Airlines for Lost or Damaged Bags – Only the following parties are liable for lost, damaged, and delayed bags:

  • 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?

The following objects are either prohibited from being transported by Southwest Airlines Baggage policy or have certain limits placed on how they should be transported, as detailed below.

Restricted itemsAdditional information
Recalled devices and lithium batteriesNot permitted as carry-on or checked luggage.
Seat accessoriesNot permitted as carry-on or checked luggage.
Smart bagsUnless 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 a checked luggage.
More than 24% alcoholPassengers 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).
IceReusable gel packets are accepted in carry-on and checked luggage. Coolers made of foam cannot be checked in. Dry ice is permitted.
Camping equipmentStoves, 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.
BatteriesLithium/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 devicesNot permitted
Lighters and matchesNot permitted
Spare light bulbsAcceptable as long as they are packaged safely and are energy-efficient.
Firearms and ammunitionPermitted 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 substancesIf you’re going internationally, the total amount of powdered items in your carry-on bags cannot be more than 12 oz (350 ml).

Prohibited items – The following items are prohibited under Southwest Airlines baggage allowance rule:

Alarm briefcases and attachés 
AntlersCamping stoves 
ChainsawsCompressed gas cartridges
Electric unicycles
Engine or car parts deemed flammable
Fermented fish sauce FerretsFire dance apparatus FireworksFuelFuel canisters Hand warmers 
Internal combustion devicesLive fishLive lobsterMaceMercuryMosquitoesNail polish remover (except in small quantities) 
PaintPeacocksPepper sprayReptilesRodentsSalt water Samsung Galaxy Note 7
SegwaysSelf-heating pads Shocking devicesSpidersStun guns Swingless golf clubsTasers

In conclusion, Southwest Airlines baggage policy allows passengers to bring one personal item and two checked bags for free on every flight. Overweight and oversized bags are subject to additional fees. The policy has been designed to provide travelers with a convenient and hassle-free experience, while also ensuring the safety and security of all baggage on board.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is Southwest Airlines baggage policy?

Southwest Airlines allows passengers to bring one personal item and one carry-on bag for free, as long as they fit under the seat or in the overhead bin.

What is Southwest Airlines (WN) carry-on baggage policy?

Carry-on items should fit under the seat or in the overhead bin and have maximum dimensions of 24 x 16 x 10 inches (including wheels and handles). The airline allows two free checked bags, regardless of the fare type. 

What is the checked luggage procedure for Southwest Airlines (WN)?

Southwest Airlines’ checked baggage policy allows passengers to check up to two bags for free, with a maximum size of 62 linear inches (length + width + height) and a maximum weight of 50 pounds each. 

Does Southwest Airlines (WN) charge a surcharge for checked bags?

The first two checked bags per passenger are free, and additional or overweight/oversized bags may incur fees.

Are there fees for sports equipment on Southwest Airlines?

Yes. The fees vary depending on the type and size of the equipment, and if it’s considered as a standard checked bag, oversized item, or oversize/overweight item.

What is the oversize baggage charge for Southwest Airlines (WN)?

The fee was $75 for each oversized item that does not fit in the overhead bin or under the seat.

How many bags can you carry on at Southwest?

Only 1 carry-on luggage is allowed on board with Southwest.

How many bags can you take on Southwest Airlines for free?

Southwest Airlines allows each passenger to bring one personal item (such as a small backpack or a laptop bag) and one carry-on item (such as a roller bag or a tote) for free.

What baggage is included with Southwest?

Southwest Airlines includes one personal item and one carry-on bag (such as a backpack, roller bag, or suitcases) per paying customer in their fare at no additional cost. Additionally, they allow 2 checked bags for free.

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