Southwest Airlines is one of the few remaining airlines with a generous free checked baggage policy for all passengers.
When planning to travel with checked luggage, Southwest is a great option compared to other "low-cost" airlines, as they are the only major US airline to offer 2 free checked bags. Other airlines may have a slightly lower base-fare, but end up costing much more when taking into account the price of checked suitcases when compared to Southwest.
There has recently been talk about Southwest's new ticket type, "Wanna Get Away Plus" (the cheapest option is called "Wanna Get Away") and how it will affect the free checked luggage rules for Southwest's cheapest option. Good News! All Southwest passengers, including the cheapest/most basic "Wanna Get Away" fare, are still allowed 2 Free Checked Bags up to 23 kg / 50 lbs each!
|Carry-On Allowance||9 / 10|
|Checked Bag Allowance||10 / 10|
|Excess Baggage Fees||9 / 10|
|Overall Grade||9.3 / 10|
Be sure to check out our sister-site, Airline-Pet-Policies.com, for information about flying with your cat, dog, or other pet.
Take a a look at all the information regarding flying with infants (0-2 years old) and kids on Southwest:
Southwest passengers are permitted two carry-on items: One bag, plus one smaller personal-type item. Personal-type items include purses, briefcases, cameras, food containers, or laptops (case included). Pet carriers are considered either a personal item or a carry-on item.
Southwest Airlines limits carry-on bag dimensions to 10 x 16 x 24 inches. All Customers and Employees and their items are subject to a thorough physical search. The personal item is limited in size to 16.25 x 8 x 13.5 inches.
The following items are not considered carryon bags or personal-type items and are not counted against the "one-bag plus one personal-type item" limit:
A child restraint device for a ticketed child with a reserved seat or when complimentary, available space exists.
Assistive/mobility devices for individuals with a disability. There is no limit to the number of assistive/mobility devices a Customer can bring onboard the aircraft.
Outer garments or other wearable articles of clothing.
Food for consumption during flight contained in disposable packaging.
Walking canes or umbrellas.
E-Cigarettes / Vape: TSA Rules for Flying with Electronic Cigarettes and Vape Pens 2023
Guns / Firearms: How to Fly with a Gun - TSA Rules 2023
Bluetooth Headphones: Using Bluetooth Headphones on an Airplane
Southwest allows two (2) checked pieces of baggage per ticketed Customer. Size and weight limitations apply.
Southwest will accept the first two checked bags for free provided that the bags do not exceed 50 lbs and 62 inches (L+W+H). Overweight items from 51 to 100 pounds and oversized items in excess of 62 inches but not more than 80 inches will be accepted for a charge of $75.00 per item one-way. Only one $75.00 charge applies if the piece is both oversized and overweight, regardless of the weight as long as it does not exceed 100 lbs. Excess baggage which is also overweight or oversized will be charged excess baggage plus the applicable oversize or overweight charge.
Each piece of baggage in excess of the free baggage allowance specified above that is not in excess of 62 inches (L+W+H) and 50 lbs. or less will be accepted for a charge of $75.00 per item one-way. Excess baggage which is also overweight or oversized will be charged excess baggage plus the applicable oversize or overweight charge.
Please note that there are some limits to the number of extra bags you are allowed to bring to some destinations during peak-season. These are called "Baggage Embargoes", which limit how many additional suitcases you may bring during peak season, when it is likely there are more passengers flying. The baggage embargo dates and destinations for 2023 are as follows:
Bahamas (NAS), Belize (BZE), Jamaica (MBJ), and San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) have a temporary baggage embargo between November 15 and January 15. Jamaica (MBJ) also has an embargo between August 15 and September 15.
During those dates, you may not bring more than your 2 free checked bags (no additional luggage will be accepted), and no oversized luggage will be accepted. You may still bring overweight suitcases (up to a maximum of 100 lbs / 45 kg), but the standard overweight luggage fee will still apply.
On flights to/from Cuba (Havana), there is a year-round limit of maximum 2 checked bags, and no Additional, Oversize, or Overweight bags will be allowed. Boxes are not accepted on flights to/from Cuba.
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Packing List: Travel Packing Checklist 2023
Marijuana / Cannabis: Rules for Flying with Marijuana / Cannabis in 2023
Musical Instruments: Flying with Musical Instruments on Southwest
Wheelchairs: Flying with Wheelchairs on Southwest
Military Baggage: Military Baggage Allowances on Southwest
Delayed/Cancelled Flights: How to Claim Compensation for Flight Delays
Guns / Firearms: Flying with Guns / Firearms on Southwest
The 3rd checked bag and any bag thereafter is $75 USD per piece.
Overweight items from 51 to 100 pounds and oversized items in excess of 62 inches but not more than 80 inches (e.g.; surfboards, bicycles, vaulting poles) will be accepted for an overweight and oversize baggage fee of $75 USD per item.
Any item weighing more than 100 pounds must be shipped as Air Cargo.
If your instrument does not meet the sizing requirements for carryon items (10"x16"x24"), it will be handled as checked baggage provided you do not wish to purchase a seat for the instrument.
In the event you are traveling with a musical instrument that is larger than our sizing requirements for carryon luggage and is fragile in nature, you may purchase a seat for the instrument and carry it in the cabin under the following conditions:
- The instrument must fit in the seat without blocking aircraft signage and be secured with a seatbelt.
- The instrument must be placed in the first row and in a seat closer to the window than any other Customer in that row.
- Reservations must be made and a ticket must be purchased at a charge no greater than the Child's Fare. Musical instruments cannot be transported in place of a free companion under any fare promotion.
Instruments that are transported in a soft-sided case or other packaging that is not strong enough to protect the instrument under normal baggage handling conditions will be conditionally accepted, which means that Southwest assumes no liability for any damage sustained to the item during transport.
Please Note: Some musical instruments (e.g. double bass, cello, etc.) cannot be secured in a seat and must be transported as checked baggage. Oversize or overweight charges may apply.
Wheelchairs & Other Devices
Southwest will stow wheelchairs in the aircraft cabin as long as they can be stowed in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety guidelines. Each aircraft is equipped with a specially designed wheelchair storage compartment to allow in-cabin stowage of at least one standard-size adult collapsible wheelchair. The wheelchair compartment is located in the rear of the aircraft and is available for Customers' use on a first-come, first-served basis.
If the wheelchair will not safely fit in an approved cabin bin or stowage area, we will transport it in the cargo compartment at no additional charge. However, we suggest that all removable parts (i.e., cushions, arm or leg rests, and side guards) be stowed in an overhead bin or under a seat if the parts fit and meet all FAA safety requirements for onboard stowage. The Customer has the option to retrieve the checked wheelchair at the gate or baggage claim upon arrival at his or her destination.
If you are traveling with a power wheelchair, in the event that we need to prepare your wheelchair for stowage, we may ask that you relinquish your power wheelchair up to an hour in advance of departure. In that case, you will be transferred to an airport wheelchair until boarding begins. Power wheelchairs and scooters will be securely stowed in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. Southwest recommends that all removable parts of the wheelchair be stowed in the overhead bins. Full Details.
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|Fishing Equipment||Southwest Fishing Equipment Policy||All Airline's Fishing Equipment Policies|
|Golf Clubs||Southwest Golf Clubs Policy||All Airline's Golf Clubs Policies|
|Hockey Sticks and Hockey Bags||Southwest Hockey Sticks and Hockey Bags Policy||All Airline's Hockey Sticks and Hockey Bags Policies|
|Kayaks||Southwest Kayaks Policy||All Airline's Kayaks Policies|
|Kitesurfing Equipment||Southwest Kitesurfing Equipment Policy||All Airline's Kitesurfing Equipment Policies|
|SCUBA Diving Equipment||Southwest SCUBA Diving Equipment Policy||All Airline's SCUBA Diving Equipment Policies|
|Skis||Southwest Skis Policy||All Airline's Skis Policies|
|Snowboards||Southwest Snowboards Policy||All Airline's Snowboards Policies|
|Surfboards||Southwest Surfboards Policy||All Airline's Surfboards Policies|
|Windsurfing Equipment||Southwest Windsurfing Equipment Policy||All Airline's Windsurfing Equipment Policies|