Southwest Carry On Sizes, Weight, Fees & Limits Guide [2021]

Traveling is part and parcel of everyone’s life. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, there are always rules, especially when traveling via aircraft. This is because the aircraft can bear only a certain amount of weight and still keep flying. Anything more than what’s allowed can lead to turbulence.

That’s why it’s important to know what’s the allowance for both the carry-ons and checked baggage at your choice of airlines. If you’re taking a trip with Southwest Airlines, keep reading because today, we will talk about its weight limit and how strict its guidelines are.

Southwest Airlines Checked Baggage Allowance

The Southwest Airlines Checked Baggage Allowance is subject to screening and checking as per the TSA’s guidelines. The TSA officers may ask you to show your identification proof before allowing you to proceed to the gate. Passengers may be asked to put identification on both the inside and the outside of the bag.

According to the Baggage Allowance policy of Southwest Airlines, passengers are allowed to check-in two bags as part of their checked baggage for free of charge. However, you have to pay 75$ if you’re carrying three or more than three bags as your checked baggage.

There are certain limitations to the weight and size allowance for checked baggage. Each checked bag should not weigh more than 50 pounds and a total of 62 linear inches. Items that weigh more than 50 pounds and upto 100 pounds are considered oversized and overweight. If any of your luggage weighs more than 100 pounds, it needs to be shipped through Air Cargo.

For more information regarding Southwest Airlines Air Cargo, please visit their website.

Guidelines for Southwest Airlines Excess Baggage

Southwest Airlines provides several adjustments when it comes to excess baggage. Excess baggage refers to all the baggage that exceeds the size, weight, and number limitations of Southwest Airlines’ baggage policy. You cannot ship excess baggage with you on your flight for free. Let’s have a look at some of the guidelines for Southwest Airlines Excess Baggage.

Bags that weigh more than 50 pounds and upto 100 pounds are overweight items. These items can also be oversized, i.e., they may be more than 62 inches but not more than 80 inches. Such items will be allowed as checked baggage for an extra fee of 75$. This charge is per item. This means that if you travel with more than two checked bags, you need to pay for a third one.

Also, this means that if you’re carrying one bag and it exceeds the weight restrictions and maximum dimensions, it counts as excess baggage.

Please note that any US Military Personnel traveling via Southwest Airlines are exempt from certain limitations put on other people. This is especially applicable if they are traveling on duty. They don’t have any limits on how many bags they check-in, so long as none of them weigh more than 100 pounds and measure more than 80 inches.

Southwest Airlines Carry-On Baggage Allowance

Southwest Airlines have strict policies in place pertaining to their carry-on allowance. As per the guidelines, you can have one carry-on and one personal item onboard with you. The carry-on bag should not be more than 10*16*24 inches. You should also safely store your carry-on in the overhead bin or under your front seat.

Please note that if you’re traveling with your pet, their carrier will either be counted as a carry-on or a personal item. If your carry-on does not fit within the dimensions mentioned above, then you won’t be allowed to check it in as a carry-on. In that case, your bag will be counted as your checked baggage which you can get back at the baggage claim at the end of your flight when you arrive at the destination.

Another thing you need to do before boarding the flight is to ensure that the pointed items in your carry-on, such as needles, medical syringes, injections, are properly secured. This is to prevent any damage to yourself or Southwest employees who take care of your bags. Also, remember to alert a flight attendant if you need to use a needle onboard so they can provide you with a disposable container.

Along with your carry-on, there are certain restrictions for your personal item as well. Your personal item onboard should not be more than 18.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches. Please note that the personal item needs to be stored under the seat in front of you. If it does not fit under the seat, you will have to store it in the overhead bin.

Several items do not count as carry-ons or personal items. Therefore, these items are exempt from the one-bag-plus-one-personal-item rule. Here is a complete list of these items:

  • A child-restraint device that is dedicated to a ticketed child for Southwest is exempt from the list. The child must have a reserved seat for this to apply.
  • Assistive Mobility devices for people with physical disabilities can be carried on-board. There is no limit to the number of mobility devices one passenger can bring onto the flight with them.
  • Clothing items that you’re wearing do not count as a carry-on.
  • Food for consumption during the flight is not a carry-on. However, remember that you should contain these foods in disposable packaging.
  • Umbrellas and walking canes do not count as carry-ons or personal items.

Prohibited Items on Southwest Airlines

All airlines follow the strict guidelines on prohibited items provided by the TSA and FAA. These guidelines are created for the safety of the passengers and everybody else on the aircraft. For example, several items are prohibited on a Southwest Airlines flight. Below is a list of all the items you can’t carry in your luggage.

  • Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcoholic content are not allowed onboard. The alcohol you carry on the flight should not weigh more than 3.4 ounces or should not be more than 100 milliliters. You can carry alcohol in your checked baggage. The alcohol in your checked baggage should have sealed retailer packaging. It should not have more than 70% alcoholic content. You can carry upto 5 liters of alcohol in your checked baggage.
  • Sharp objects such as knives, retractable blades, cutting instruments, razors, carpet knives, box cutters, ice picks, and metal scissors are not allowed with your carry-on. However, you can pack them in with your checked baggage.
  • Hazardous materials such as gasoline-powered tools, wet-cell batteries, radioactive materials, poisons, and infectious substances are not allowed on either your carry-on or checked luggage.
  • Like most airlines, each passenger can bring one quarter-sized bag of liquids like shampoo, conditioner, aerosols, etc. Each item should not weigh more than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. You will have to take these items out and place them in a separate bag during the screening.
  • Each passenger is allowed to carry upto 20 batteries at a time. These batteries include portable powerbanks, USB-powered battery chargers for laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. Portable chargers are required to be with you onboard or in your carry-on.
  • E-cigarettes are allowed to be with you on the flight or in your carry-on bag. However, make sure that their safety mode is turned on to prevent any accidents on the aircraft. Please note that you cannot smoke on the plane.
  • You can carry a lighter with you onboard, but it should be with you at all times.
  • You can carry children Restraint Systems like car seats onboard if your child has a separate ticket. This is in addition to the two-piece baggage limit. You can also carry any type of strollers like umbrella, full-sized, or jogging strollers with you. You can also buy an optional stroller bag from the Southwest Airlines’ ticket counter. It costs a one-time fee of 17$. The bag dimensions are 42*20.5*12.5.
  • Marijuana is not allowed on the flight as a carry-on or as part of your checked baggage.

The TSA provides a complete list of things you cannot bring on an aircraft on their website. Please refer to it for more information on prohibited items to avoid any problems while traveling.

FAQs about Southwest Airlines Baggage Weight Limit

How Strict is Southwest Airlines with its Checked Luggage Limit?

Southwest Airlines is not very strict with its checked luggage limit. Each passenger can check two bags for free as long as they are under the specified weight and size limits.

Can I have 2 carry-on bags on Southwest?

You can have one carry-on bag and one personal item with you onboard. Your personal item could be anything from a purse to a laptop bag. The carry-on bag and the personal item have two different weight and size specifications. This means that you can have two carry-on bags, but they both should adhere to the weight and size specifications. One bag should be able to fit in the overhead bin, and the other one should go under the seat in front of you.

What happens if your checked bag is over 50 pounds?

If your checked bag is more than 50 pounds, you will have to pay the excess baggage fees of 75$ to get it on the baggage claim.

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

Yes, you can have a backpack and a carry-on on Southwest Airlines, but please remember that they should meet the different size and weight limitations.

Can I check 3 bags on Southwest?

Yes, even though Southwest has a two-piece baggage limit, you can check three bags by paying the excess baggage fees of 75$ for the third one. This is only applicable if all your bags meet the maximum weight and bag dimensions.


Traveling can be a hectic thing to do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling with someone or alone; there are certain things you have to keep in mind. The baggage you carry with you, especially when you travel by air, is one of those things. We hope this article made it easier for you to pack accordingly for your next trip with Southwest Airlines. Have a safe trip!

1 thought on “Southwest Carry On Sizes, Weight, Fees & Limits Guide [2021]”

Leave a Comment