Southwest Carry on Size Luggage

Southwest Airlines Carry-On Bag Guidelines and Restrictions

Southwest Airlines is one of the best Airlines to travel with. Apart from the wide array of routes to Northern and Central America and the Caribbean, affordable fares, and competitive ticket promos, they have one of the airline industry’s generous carry-on baggage allowance and checked luggage policies.

Southwest Airlines allows you to bring two bags inside the aircraft cabin: a carry-on and a bag tagged as “personal item.” Both bags are free of charge. They also allow you two checked luggage for free provided that they follow Southwest Airlines checked luggage policies.

However, to avoid any last-minute hassle in the airport terminal, you need to know the details about Southwest’s carry-on, personal item bag, and checked luggage policies, especially regarding size allowance and baggage limits.

Southwest Airline’s Carry-On Luggage Size and Weight Limit

AirlinesSize (inches)Luggage(liters)
Southwest10 x 16 x 2457
Other9 x 14 x 2240
  • Passengers can bring a carry-on bag with a size up to 10 x 16 x 24 inches. Most US Airlines have a limit of 9 x 14 x 22 inches.
  • While a normal carry-on luggage can hold around 40 liters, Southwest Airline passengers can bring a carry-on luggage with a capacity of 57 liters.
  • The airlines does not specify a weight limit for your carry-on luggage. However, for easier and smoother travel, try to limit the weight of your carry-on bag to what you can comfortably carry and lift.
Carry-On and Personal Item Dimensions
Southwest Airlines’ Carry-on Luggage and Personal Item Dimensions

Southwest Personal Item Size

The airline is strict about the size of the personal item allowed in the aircraft.

Personal items include purses, briefcases, food containers, camera bags, daypacks, and laptops.

  • Personal item must not exceed 18.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches (47 x 21 x 34 cm).
  • Whether it’s a tote, briefcase, camera bag, or laptop, you’ll need to store it under the seat in front of you. Choose your personal item bag carefully so you will have enough leg room
  • If your personal item does not fit under the seat before you, Southwest will ask you to place it in the overhead bin beside with your carry-on bag. 

Southwest’s Checked Baggage Allowance

Southwest is quite generous when it comes to check luggage. They offer two free check luggage provided that they are within Southwest’s weight and size limit. See the guidelines below for the corresponding policies and fees (if applicable).

  • Your check in bag should not exceed 50 pounds in weight and 62″ in size.
  • Southwest will charge you $75 per item for items exceeding the specified limit
    • Overweight items up to 100 pounds, and
    • oversized items up to 80 inches
    • if an item is both overweight and oversize, it will count as one and will be charged one $75
  • Additional bag fee is $75. In case that the 3rd bag is overweight and/or oversize, Southwest will charge you additinal $75 per item.
  • Military bags for passangers on active duty is free.

Additional Items not included as part of Carry-on or Personal Item

You can carry the following items in addition to your carry-on and personal item bags.

  1. FAA-approved carseat to be used in a ticketed seat or on a vacant seat. You must place it either in the window or middle seat. To ensure that your carseat fits in the aircraft seat, check the model of the aircraft of your flight.
  2. Passangers with disabilities can bring medical devices in addition to their carry-on luggage for free. This includes, but not limited to:
    • Mobility Devices such as walkers, canes, crutches, power wheelchairs
    • CPAP machines
    • Breastpumps
    • other Assistive devices
  3. For only liquids and medication, be sure to check TSA policies to avoid any inconvenience.
  4. Jackets, coats, hats and other outer garments/items of clothing.
  5. Walking canes or umbrellas.
  6. Food for flight consumption

Southwest Airlines’ Carry-on Luggage Reminders:

  1. Your carry-on must fit in the overhead bin of the aircraft. Flight attendants and airline personnel will check the size of carry-on luggages. If your carry-on or personal item is bigger than the specified limit, you’ll have to check it in with the rest of your luggage.
  2. Pet carriers are considered either as a carry-on bag or a personal item. A Pet Carrier Fee charged to per flight and may change from time to time. Be sure to check with Southwest to get the latest pet carrier fee.
  3. Liquids, gels, medications, and other chemicals are permitted inside a carry-on provided that they follow TSA’s guidelines.
    • You are permitted to bring liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes, with each piece being restricted to a travel-sized container that is less than 3.4 ounces (100 ml). 
    • All containers must be in one quart-sized resalable, see-through bag.
    • Each passenger is allowable only one quart-sized bag. Medications and child nourishments are excluded from the carry-on liquid rules.  A simple quart-sized Zip lock bag is allowed.

Southwest Airlines’ Policies for Baby Carriage and Car Seat

You can check one baby carriage and one car seat per child when you’re traveling with your children. This is free of charge and on top of your free check allowance. You can have both of these items checked in at the curb, ticket counter, or gate and pick them up at the jetway when you arrive at the destination.

If you are traveling with an infant or toddler, you should be familiar with the appropriate use of a Child Restraint System (CRS) to ensure child protection in the aircraft. See below for more information:

  1. Children traveling with a purchased ticket are permitted to have one carry-on bag and one personal item as per policy.
  2. Diaper bag is allowed as carry-on.
  3. You can bring a car seat and a baby carriage free of charge.
  4. Children occupying their own seats have to use a child restraint seat approved by FAA as a safety measure.
  5. Two children cannot travel at fees if only one adult accompanies them. The second one needs to have his seat.
  6. The number of oxygen masks in a row is one. So two lap children cannot sit in one row together. 
  7. Children under 14 years are treated as minors. Southwest rejects unaccompanied minors on board.
  8. Passengers with children cannot generally occupy exit rows in the aircraft as per FAA regulations.
  9. Airlines personnel may ask for age proof documents for children. This includes birth certificate along with government ID. This must be with you at all times

International Flight

  • Duty-free Purchases: Passengers traveling internationally into the United States with a linking flight will be allowed to carry liquids in excess of 3.4 oz or 100 mL in their carry-on luggage, provided they were purchased in duty-free shops and positioned in secure, tamper-evident bags (STEBs).
  • Liquids that cannot be checked and cleared will be disallowed as a content in a passenger’s carry-on baggage. Passengers may opt to place these things in checked luggage, as applicable, or surrender them before entering the airport. This includes liquids in opaque, ceramic, or metallic bottles, or other containers that cannot be successfully scanned.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many bags can I carry on Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines’ Carry-on allows passengers to carry one bag plus one smaller bag classified as a “personal item.” In addition, they allow passengers to have two checked bags per ticket, provided that they are within the size and weight restrictions.

Can I take a backpack and carry-on luggage on Southwest?

Yes, Travelers can take a backpack as a personal item as a carry-on bag.

Is there a weight limit for carry-on bags southwest?

No. But it should less than 50 inches (24 x 16 x 10 in) or 127 centimeters (61 x 41 x 28 cm) together with handles and wheels.

How do you pack toiletries for travel?

Passengers should follow the TSA 3-1-1 Liquid rule.

What items disallowed in a carry-on?

Items like any explosives or crackers, firearms, ammunition, chemicals, drugs, and objects like knives, axes, hazardous materials, baseball bats, etc. Check our list of allowed and disallowed items to bring when traveling.

What types of pets are permissible?

Southwest Airlines will only admit small cats and dogs in carriers. It has to be put in the Customer’s seat or the cabin.

What is the maximum checked bag size?

 The maximum size for a checked bag should not exceed 10 x 16 x 24 inches. You have to follow the size limit because Southwest Airlines is very strict about it.

How many days’ worth of clothes fit in a carry-on?

Southwest Airlines’ Carry-on policy allows 35-40 liters of belongings. How many days worth of clothing will depend on the season and your clothing size.

What are the standard luggage sizes?

Luggage manufacturers don’t always include the wheels and handle in their specifications. Airlines, however, include wheels and retracted handles.

This luggage size table will help you know about luggage dimensions from the bottom of the wheel to the top of the collapsed handle.

Luggage typeHeightWeightDepthCapacity Liter
Under Seat personal Item16-1810-147-1020-30
International carryon luggage18-2013-147-827-33
Domestic carryon luggage21-2213-148-936-40
Small checked bag23-2415-169-1050-60
Medium checked bag25-2717-1911-1275-90
Large checked bag  28-32  17-21  10-15  105-120  

What if my luggage exceeds by an inch?

If your carry-on luggage exceeds by one inch, Airline personnel will ask you to check it in with the rest of your luggage.

The Verdict

Southwest Airlines allows larger carry-on luggage compared to other airlines.

  • Passengers can bring carry-on luggage as long as it follows Southwest’s guidelines and restrictions.
  • Unless you are flying or are planning to fly with Southwest Airlines regularly, opt for a standard-sized carry-on luggage that will pass most of US and international airlines restriction.
  • Remember, Southwest also allows you to bring one personal item in addition to your carry-on. Try to maximize it. However be sure that your personal item or under-the-seat luggage follows Southwest’s guidelines and restrictions. If you are traveling regularly, opt for a bag that is specifially designed as under-the-seat luggage.

Compare Southwest with Other Airlines!

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