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How Does The Southwest Baggage Policy Work In 2023?
One of the reasons why Southwest is one of the most popular airlines is that Southwest has a very straightforward and inexpensive baggage policy.
Southwest has a generous two checked bags for free policy. However, the bags are restricted to a maximum weight of 50 pounds and a maximum size of 62 inches when the length, width and height are added together. This allowance applies to all Southwest fare classes.
How Much are Southwest Baggage Fees?
If you have more than two bags, you will incur a fee of $75 for each additional bag, with the same size and weight restrictions. However, Military members traveling on permanent change of station order or active duty are exempt from the two bag allowance and they will not be charged oversized or overweight fees as long as the bags are less than 80 inches in size and 100 pounds in weight.
If you’re traveling with sporting equipment, you will find that many of these items are free of baggage fees as they substitute for one of your free bags. However, the items must not exceed 62 inches and 50 pounds or you may incur an excess size or weight fee
What is the Southwest Carry On Baggage Policy?
Southwest is equally generous with its carry on baggage policy. You may have one standard carry on item and one personal item fee free. However, there are some size restrictions. The personal item must be under the dimensions of 16.25” x 13.5” x 8.5” and the standard carry on needs to be a maximum of 24” x 16” x 10” including wheels and handles.
If you have an infant with you, you may also bring on board a bag containing breast milk or a breast pump in addition to your standard carry on allowance. While you cannot carry on a car seat or stroller, you can check it at the curb, ticket counter or the gate with no fee.
How to Save on Southwest Baggage Fees
Since the Southwest fees are some of the cheapest in the airline industry, there are few ways to save on your fees. However, if you’re planning on traveling with more than two bags or your bags will be overweight or oversized, it is possible to use a credit card to cover your additional fees. These include:
- Capital One Venture: The Capital One Venture card has a tiered reward structure weighted towards Capital One Travel purchases. The benefits include an introductory miles bonus, credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and two complimentary passes per year for Capital One Lounges. You can also use your accumulated miles to get reimbursed for travel purchases including baggage fees.
- The Platinum Card From American Express: The Platinum Card is considered one of the best travel credit cards with a whole host of perks. This includes lounge access, hotel credit, Equinox and CLEAR credit, digital entertainment credit and Uber Cash. However, you can also select one airline and receive up to $200 in statement credit to cover your airline incidental fees.
- Bank of America Travel Rewards: This card has no annual fee, but it offers an introductory points bonus, no foreign transaction fees and 0% introductory APR for 18 billing cycles. Additionally, you can redeem your points for statement credits to cover travel purchases including baggage fees.
Southwest Baggage Restrictions
There are very few baggage restrictions for Southwest. The main restrictions apply throughout the industry, such as not being able to carry flammable materials. So, it is important to check the full list of prohibited items before you pack your bags.
How Much is the Overweight Baggage Fee?
As with the rest of the Southwest baggage policy, the fees for additional and excess bags are also very straightforward. If your bags are over the 50 pound weight limit (or 100 pounds for military), larger than the 62 inch or you have more than two bags, a $75 fee will apply.
Unfortunately, Southwest does not allow prepayment of baggage fees. You’ll need to pay any appropriate fees at the airport ticketing counter.
In most domestic airports, there is no provision to pay cash for baggage fees. However, in some international airports, cash is a payment option.
For one or two bags within the size and weight limits, there is no fee. Additional bags incur a $75 fee.
You can bring two checked bags on Southwest fees without incurring any charge.
If your backpack is within the maximum dimensions for a personal item, you can bring both your backpack and a carry on bag.
Southwest does not have a weight restriction for its carry on luggage, but it should be light enough for you to be able to lift it into the overhead bin.
Yes, military personnel can bring bags up to 100 pounds and 80 inches in size without incurring a fee.