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Southwest Airlines Baggage Fees & How To Avoid Paying Them!

Erin Miller's image
Erin Miller
Erin Miller's image

Erin Miller

Content Contributor

188 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 26U.S. States Visited: 28

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publicat...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

29 Published Articles 3093 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 45U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

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

Your first 2 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: 16.25 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches (41 x 34.3 x 22 cm)
  • Standard: 24 x 16 x 10 inches (60.9 x 40.6 x 25.4 cm)

Lap Infant Carry-on Policy

Stroller Check Policy

  • Southwest allows strollers and car seats 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 50 pounds (23 kg) and must adhere to max linear dimensions of 62 inches (158 cm).

Southwest is the only airline that provides 2 FREE CHECKED BAGS for all fares.

First Bag: FREE
Second Bag: FREE
3+ Bags: $75

Additional/Excess Baggage Fees

Overweight Fee: $75
Oversized Fee: $75

Exclusions and Waivers

Military traveling on active duty or permanent change of station orders are exempt from the 2-bag allowance and will not be charged overweight/oversized fees, providing the bags do not exceed 100 pounds in weight and 80 inches in size.

Plus, some special sporting items fly free as well in substitution of one of the free bags (subject to certain restrictions). These items must not exceed 50 pounds or 62 inches otherwise excess weight and size charges may apply.

  • Archery Equipment
  • Baseball/Softball Equipment
  • Boogie/Knee Board
  • Bowling Bag
  • Bicycles
    • Hard-sided bicycle box falling within 62-inch/50-pound limits
  • Fishing Rod and Tackle Box
    • Limited to 91 inches in length, 3 inches in diameter
    • Counts as 1 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 2 bags are allowed to count as 1 item, even if packed separately
  • 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 (1 set of equipment) are allowed to count as 1 item, even if packed separately
    • Excess size charges waived; excess weight charges may apply
  • Surfing Equipment
    • Excess weight and size charges apply (excluding flights between the islands of Hawaii)
    • May be subject to a limited release of liability
  • 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.

Can I Prepay for Baggage?

Southwest Airlines does not allow passengers the ability to prepay for luggage.

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

Credit Cards That Reimburse You for Overweight/Oversized Bag Fees

The Capital One cards below can eliminate some of your overweight or oversized bag fees when flying on Southwest. Simply use your Capital One miles to pay for your travel statement charges (e.g. baggage fees) within 90 days of purchase at a rate of 1 cent per mile.

TOP PICK
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros

  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit on bookings made through Capital One Travel
  • Unlimited complimentary access for cardholder and 2 guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • 10,000 bonus miles awarded on your account anniversary each year
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Add authorized users for no additional annual fee (rates & fees)
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)

 

Cons

  • $395 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status

 

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit (670-850)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

Pros

  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)
  • Access to Capital One transfer partners

Cons

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
20,000 miles
$360
$0
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Interested in a travel rewards credit card without one of those pesky annual fees? Then say hello to the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.

In addition to no annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne card offers no foreign transaction fees.

But is this card worth its salt, or is it merely a shell of the more popular Capital One Venture card?

Pros

Cons

  • Weak earn rate at 1.25x miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • No luxury travel or elite benefits
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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 16.25 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches and the carry-on item 24 x 16 x 10 inches. Southwest does not publish any weight restrictions for carry-on items but you should be able to lift this into the overhead compartment unassisted.

Can I have a backpack and a carry-on flying Southwest?

You can take a backpack and a carry-on item on Southwest, provided that one of the items does not exceed 16.25 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches and the other item 24 x 16 x 10 inches.

Is checked baggage free on Southwest?

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 50 pounds and max linear dimensions of 62 inches. Passengers can book 3+ bags for $75 apiece.

Erin Miller's image

About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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