Southwest Airlines Baggage Fees & How To Avoid Paying Them!

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Southwest Airlines has the single most clear-cut (and cheapest!) baggage policy of any airline. Thank You, Southwest!

Your first two checked bags are FREE with any fare, and the extra/excess fees are a simple $75 each.

Southwest is one budget airline where you definitely won’t get stuck with hidden baggage fees.

Southwest Carry-On Allowance

1 personal item: FREE
1 standard carry-on bag: FREE

Size Restrictions

  • Personal: 13.5 x 8.5 x 18.5 inches (34.3 x 22 x 47)
  • Standard: 24 x 16 x 10 inches (60 x 40.6 x 25.4 cm)

Lap Infant Carry-On Policy

  • undisclosed

Stroller Check Policy

  • Southwest allows strollers to be checked at the curb, ticket counter, or gate free of charge.

Southwest Checked Baggage Allowance

All checked bags must adhere to a max weight of 50lbs and must adhere to max linear dimensions of 62 inches.

Southwest is the only Airline that provides TWO FREE CHECKED BAGS for all fares.

1st Bag: FREE
2nd Bag: FREE
3rd+ Bags: $75

Additional / Excess Baggage Fees

Overweight Fee: $75
Oversized Fee: $75

Military traveling on active duty or permanent change of station orders – 3rd+ bags FREE; no charge for overweight/ oversized bags

Can I Pre-pay for Baggage?

Southwest Airlines does not allow passengers the ability to pre-pay for luggage.

Unfortunately, this means passengers must pay at the ticketing counter at the airport.

Credit Cards That Reimburse You For Checked Bag Fees

Unlike Spirit Airlines, Southwest has a generous checked bag policy that allows two bags per person. If you are taking a big trip and need additional checked bags, you can use one of the cards below to offset the cost.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This no annual fee card comes with a 20,000 mile welcome bonus (worth $200) once you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months. When you use your card for travel purchases (e.g. baggage fees), use your miles to pay off all, or part of, your statement! This is why we like this card.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - The "big brother" card to the VentureOne® with a larger 50,000 welcome bonus (worth $500), when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months.

Exclusions & Waivers

No charge for overweight/ oversized large media camera equipment

Plus, some special sporting items fly free as well! (subject to certain restrictions)

“Any of the items listed below may be checked in substitution of one piece of the free Checked Baggage allowance for each Passenger at no charge on a one-item-for-one-bag basis. If the item of sporting equipment exceeds 50 pounds in weight or 62 inches in size (outside length plus height plus width), excess weight and size charges may apply.”

  • Archery Equipment
  • Baseball/Softball Equipment
  • Boogie/Knee Board
  • Bowing Bag
  • Bicycles
    • hard-sided bicycle box falling w/in 62″/50lb limits
  • Fishing Rod & Tackle Box
    • limited to 91″ in length, 3″ diameter
    • counts as ONE item even if packed separately
  • Golf Bag
    • hard-sided golf bag
    • excess size charges waived; excess weight charges may apply
  • Hockey/Lacrosse Sticks
    • Up to two bags allowed to count as ONE item, even if packed separately
  • Kiteboard
  • Knives, Dress Sabers, Swords
    • checked bags only
  • Parachutes
    • carry-on or checked bag
    • may not be worn in flight
  • Scuba Equipment
    • air tanks must be empty
  • Skateboard
    • carry-on or checked
  • Snow Ski Equipment
    • Up to 2 bags (one set of equipment) allowed to count as ONE item, even if packed separately
    • excess size charges waived; excess weight charges may apply
  • Water Ski Equipment
    • excess size charges waived; excess weight charges may apply

For other baggage fees related to special luggage (sporting equipment, musical instruments, etc.) please refer to Southwest Airlines’ policy here.


To see more airline baggage fees and policies, click here.

FAQ

How many bags can you carry on at Southwest?

Flying Southwest, you can bring 1 personal item and 1 standard piece of carry-on. The personal item must not exceed 13.5″ x 8.5″ x 18.5″ and the carry-on item 24″ x 16″ x 10″. Southwest does not publish any weight restrictions for carry-on items but you should be able to to lift this into the overhead compartment unassisted.

Can I have a backpack and a carry on Southwest?

Yes, you could take a backpack and a carry-on item on Southwest, provided that one of the items does not exceed 13.5″ x 8.5″ x 18.5″ and the other item 24″ x 16″ x 10″.

Is checked baggage free on Southwest?

Yes, checked baggage is free on Southwest and they are the only airline to allow 2 bags for all fare types. Checked bags must adhere to a max weight of 50lbs and max linear dimensions of 62 inches. Passengers can book 3+ bags for $75 a piece.

Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin currently maintains her status as Alex's adventure-seeking partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points through content creation & relationship management.
She caught the travel bug just after high school when her grandmother took her on a two-week, whirlwind trip around Europe. That was that - she's been gallivanting around the globe ever since (26 countries & counting)!

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

32 comments

  1. Thomas Vetter · March 8, 2019 · Reply

    Great service with free baggage, but what about seating – does one have to pay for any seating – special or normal? Thanks, Tom

  2. Ashlea Higgins · May 12, 2019 · Reply

    Is it two free checked bags per person?

    • Christine Krzyszton · May 12, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Ashlea. Yes, it is two free bags per ticket purchased. Thanks for your question.

  3. Emily Mueller · May 25, 2019 · Reply

    How strict is Southwest on the measurements of checked bags? I have a suitcase that is 31.5″ x 19.5″ x 13.2″ so 64.2″ total. Would they charge for this bag?

    • Hey Emily, this is a tough question to answer as it really depends on the ticketing agent you get. Some are a bit more lenient and some can be pretty strict. Even though this is only 2.2″ over the limit, they could techhhhnically charge you but I can’t promise they would/wouldn’t.

      Sorry to not be of more help here!

  4. Luisa · June 3, 2019 · Reply

    Hi. Is the free 2 checked in baggage per passenger or per booking? What if we are 4 passengers in 1 booking. So we can have 2 bags each free? Thanks

    • Catherine Luther · June 3, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Luisa,

      Southwest’s checked baggage allowance is 2 bags per ticketed passenger. Each bag must not exceed 50 lbs and 62 inches (L+W+H).

  5. Does the 62″ checked baggage limit include the wheels and handle?

  6. Jonathan Bornemann · June 16, 2019 · Reply

    HI there,
    I am flying southwest in August and I am planning on bringing along fishing poles and tackle. I have a travel case that extends to 88” as well as has a diameter of 4.5” Is there an extra size baggage fee I will have to pay because it is bigger than 3”? Also is it allowed to put all of my other fishing gear in my checked bag or carry on bag (lures, hooks, reels etc?)

    • Catherine Luther · June 17, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Jonathan,

      We advise you contact Southwest directly with your inquiry. As per their checked baggage terms and conditions your luggage would not be compliant, but it’s always worth giving them a call to check your options.

  7. Stephanie · July 13, 2019 · Reply

    Can I pay cash for an additional luggage at the counter when I arrive at the airport?

  8. Susan Grella · August 15, 2019 · Reply

    If I only have 1 checked bag, will I be charged if say, the bag is 55 pounds, which is still a lot less weight than what 2 bags would weigh?

    • Hi Susan!

      Yes, if your bag is 55 pounds you will be charged extra. All checked bags must be under 50 pounds, even if you are only bringing one.

      Thanks for reading!

  9. Rebecca · August 17, 2019 · Reply

    Does two checked bags for FREE mean a carry on and a suitcase? I just needed to know because I leave in a few days and I need to make sure what it specifically means.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      With Southwest Airlines you can bring both a carry-on and two checked bags for free!

      Thanks for reading!

    • Do all three bags have to be 50 pounds each? If we don’t have a scale at home and we go to the airport how do we know if it even is 50 pounds?

      • Hi Sonia,

        Each bag has to be less than 50 pounds. When you arrive to the airport they will weigh your bags at the baggage check desk.

        Thanks for reading!

  10. Donald Strickland · August 21, 2019 · Reply

    If doing a 3rd suitcase, is it $75 for a round trip or $75 each way for a total of $150?

    • Hi Donald,

      The charge is per one-way, so $150 total for a 3rd checked bag. Thanks for reading!

    • Donna Panchyshyn · October 5, 2019 · Reply

      Hi!
      We have a boxed bassinet that is a gift for our daughter. If it meets the size and weight requirements, can it be counted as a checked item?

      Thank you

  11. Bringing back a lightsaber from Disney they say it’s 3 ft long will I get charge extra for this?

  12. Noel Keeton · October 3, 2019 · Reply

    My fishing rod case is 48″x 4.5″x 4.5″ = 57″ It would qualify as a second bag, but exceed the diameter for a fishing rod case. Would I be charged extra for this case?

    • Hi Noel,

      We cannot say definitively as we do not represent Southwest Airlines. I would contact their customer service team directly.

      Thanks for reading!

  13. Does Southwest allow a fourth checked bag?

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