Checked baggage basics
Your first two checked bags fly free® at Southwest (weight and size limits apply). Skis1 and golf bags2 may also fly free, and surfboards fly free in Hawaii.3 Each additional bag and any oversized bag (more than 50 pounds or larger than 62 inches) is $75 per item, one-way. See restrictions and limitations below.
We have baggage embargoes in place for some countries—restrictions on oversized, overweight, and extra checked bags. See if your destination is impacted by an embargo.
Wanna save time at the airport? You can self-tag your bag at a kiosk at many of the airports we serve and drop it off with an Employee to get in and out and on with your trip. Learn more about self-tagging.
1Snow ski equipment includes: one pair of skis or one snowboard, one set of poles, and one pair of ski/snowboard boots encased in a container(s) acceptable to Carrier. When submitting ski equipment for one free bag, Southwest Airlines® allows up to two bags (containing one set of snow skis, ski poles, and snow boots) to count as one item, even if they are packed and tagged separately.
2A golf bag can be substituted for one checked bag. Weight limits apply.
3Surfboard bag containing a surfboard(s) when traveling on flights between the islands of Hawaii can be substituted for one checked bag. Weight limits apply.
Each checked bag can weigh 50 pounds or less and be 62 inches in size (length + width + height).
To check more than two bags, each additional bag will cost $75 each way as long as it is no bigger than 62 inches (L+W+H) and weighs 50 lbs. or less. Excess baggage that is also overweight or oversized will be charged excess baggage plus the applicable oversize or overweight charge.
Any item weighing more than 100 pounds and exceeding 80 inches in size must be shipped as Air Cargo.
If you are checking baggage for an international flight, please go to the ticket counter. You can’t check in or check baggage at the curbside if traveling internationally. You must check your luggage 60 minutes before your scheduled departure (but if flying to Aruba, please check in 75 minutes before). Unfortunately, if you don't meet this check-in time, we cannot allow you to board. Connecting Passengers must claim all luggage, regardless of their final destination, upon arrival in the U.S. After clearing Customs, they will need to re-check all checked luggage before their connecting flight(s).
Active-duty Military Passengers with a current, valid military ID will be exempt from the two-piece Baggage limit and will not be subject to excess, oversize, or overweight Baggage charges, provided that none of the pieces of Baggage exceeds 100 pounds in weight and 80 inches in size (L+W+H). Bags in excess of 80 inches cannot be checked as baggage, however they can be shipped as Cargo if the Customer is a Known Shipper.
Checked baggage issues
Bags checked less than 45 minutes before scheduled departure may not be on your flight or arrive when you do. If the baggage does not arrive with you at your destination, Southwest doesn’t pay for delivery charges to get it to you.
Southwest Airlines assumes no responsibility and will not be liable for loss or damage arising from normal wear and tear, such as cuts, scratches, scuffs, stains, dents, punctures, marks, and dirt.
Southwest Airlines assumes no responsibility and will not be liable for money; jewelry; photographic, video, and optical equipment; computers and other electronic equipment; computer software; silverware and china, fragile or perishable items; liquids; precious gems and metals; negotiable instruments; securities; business or personal documents; samples; items intended for sale; paintings, artifacts, and other works of art; antiques; collectors’ items; unique or irreplaceable items; heirlooms; research, experimental, and scholastic items and documents; manuscripts; furs; irreplaceable books or publications; and similar valuables contained in carryon or checked baggage. Passengers should not transport these items in or as checked baggage.
Furthermore, Southwest Airlines assumes no liability for defects in baggage manufacture.
Unless a Southwest Airlines Employee determines that damage is due to normal wear and tear, Southwest Airlines is liable for the loss or damage of protruding parts of luggage and other articles of checked baggage (e.g., wheels, feet, pockets, hanger hooks, pull handles, straps, zippers, locks, security straps).
The liability of Southwest Airlines (if any) for the loss, damage, or delay in delivery of carryon or checked baggage is limited to the proven amount of damage or loss, not to exceed $3,800.00 per fare-paying Customer, including Customers traveling on Southwest points tickets, unless, at the time of check-in, the Customer has declared the value of the baggage to be in excess of $3,800.00 and purchased the appropriate excess valuation. Excess valuation cannot be declared on items subject to a limited release of liability.
Note: The baggage liability limits do not apply for loss, damage, and/or delay of wheelchairs or other assistive devices that are declared by the Customer prior to transport.
International itineraries: If baggage is lost, damaged, or delayed, whether checked or unchecked, Southwest’s liability is limited to 1,288 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for each passenger under the Montreal Convention or the Warsaw Convention, whichever may apply. Learn more about SDRs with the International Monetary Fund.
We're sorry about your baggage—we‘re here to help. If your bag has been lost, damaged, or delayed, you must report this, in person, at the Southwest Airlines Baggage Service Office within four hours of arriving at your domestic destination or seven days of arriving at your international destination. The office is in the baggage claim area or at the ticket counter at the airport. If you've left the airport, call 1-855-234-4654.
Improperly packed and/or fragile items will be accepted subject to limited release and Southwest won’t be responsible for any damage to items that are accepted with Limited Release.
Checked baggage safety
Checked baggage will be screened and is subject to physical inspection by the TSA. We recommend placing name labels both on the inside and outside of the baggage. Name labels are available at Southwest Airlines ticket counters.
Please make sure you tag each checked bag with your personal information. This will help us return the bag to you in case it gets lost. Personal luggage tags should include the owner's full name and phone number. Learn more about our policies for lost or damaged baggage.
The TSA screens all checked baggage for your security. Unlocked bags can be examined quickly. If your checked baggage is locked and TSA cannot open it through other means, then the locks may have to be cut.
Neither Southwest Airlines nor the TSA is liable for damage caused to locked bags that must be opened for security purposes. (We highly recommend that you do not pack the following items in your checked baggage: cash, jewelry, electronics, laptop computers, fragile items, medications, car keys, and important documents.)
Please make sure that any sharp objects (especially needles, syringes, and other items needed for medication) are properly covered and secured to prevent injury to yourself and our Employees who care for your bags.
Passengers can travel with up to 20 spare batteries at a time. This includes portable chargers and external battery chargers for mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Portable chargers and spare batteries must be protected from short circuit by protecting any exposed terminals, and packed in your carryon bag or with you onboard.
Because e-cigarettes are designed to operate by creating heat, they must be placed in a carryon bag or with you onboard. E-cigarettes aren't allowed in checked bags. Don't forget, you cannot use e-cigarettes onboard.
Battery-powered electronic smoking devices (e.g., electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) are allowed as carryon only. Recharging of the devices and/or the batteries onboard the aircraft is not permitted.
Passengers are also allowed to travel with one lighter, which must be in your carryon or with you onboard.
Note: All lighters are prohibited in checked bags, unless they adhere to the Department of Transportation exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case.
Battery-powered lighters (e.g., laser plasma lighters, tesla coil lighters, flux lighters, arc and double-arc lighters) are allowed as carryon only. The lighter must equipped with a safety cap or similar means of protection including removal of the battery to prevent unintentional activation of the heating element while onboard.
Recharging of the devices and/or the batteries onboard the aircraft is not permitted.
Torch lighters utilizing butane or propane (e.g., blue flame lighters or cigar lighters) are prohibited onboard.
We currently prohibit self-defense sprays on any flight regardless if it is checked or carried on. Please see the TSA's website for a list of prohibited items. Lithium batteries that are damaged, defective, or recalled for safety reasons are not allowed in checked baggage, carryon baggage, or cargo.
For additional information on recalls, please visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.