Southwest Airlines is a low-fare American airline based in Texas that began operating in 1971. It provides more than 3,400 flights per day to 72 cities in more than 30 states. Southwest promises to provide low fares and excellent customer service to its passengers, who are urged to be aware of its checked luggage rules before traveling.


Southwest requires each checked bag to be inspected per TSA mandates and asks that all passengers clearly label bags with identification on the bag's exterior. Passengers must be prepared to provide photo identification upon request in the event of a baggage-related issue. Each passenger must be able to present a separate claim check for each piece of checked baggage in the event of a mix-up.


Each Southwest passenger is allowed two pieces of checked luggage without a fee. No piece of checked luggage may exceed 50 lbs. or 62 total inches (length plus width plus height). Active military personnel are exempt from this policy and may check any number of bags provided that no one piece weighs more than 100 lbs. or measures more than 80 inches.


Passengers on Southwest may check as many bags as desired, but baggage fees apply. Bags three through nine may be checked for $50 each, and bags 10 and up may be checked for $110 each. Items that weigh more than 50 but fewer than 100 lbs. and are more than 62 but fewer than 80 inches -- such as skis or surfboards -- may be checked for $50 per item. Any checked item with a weight over 100 lbs. must be shipped via air cargo.


Southwest Airlines limits its liability in the event of damage, loss, theft or delay to $3,300 per ticketed passenger. If your baggage is lost or damaged, you must report it to the customer service office within four hours of arriving at your final destination. If your baggage is improperly packed or exceptionally fragile, Southwest will tag it "Conditional Acceptance" and will not be liable for any damage.

Late Baggage

If you check your baggage less than 30 minutes before departure, it will be tagged "Late Check-in" and Southwest will not be responsible for delivery charges if the bag fails to make it onto your plane and to your final destination. Passengers are required to check bags at least 45 minutes before departure at the following airports: Baltimore/Washington International, Denver, Chicago Midway, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando.