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Light packers and overpackers can rejoice while flying on Southwest Airlines — its generous policy allows two free checked bags up to 50 pounds.
But is it all too good to be true? Are there hidden Southwest Airlines fees that you should be aware of before you snag that Wanna Get Away fare? Check out this guide on checked bags and other fees to be aware of.
Southwest baggage fees you need to know
Carry-on baggage fees
It costs exactly $0 to bring your first carry-on bag, your second carry-on bag (personal item), your first checked bag and your second checked bag onto a Southwest Airlines flight. That means packing extra shoes “just in case” won’t set you back financially.
Be careful, though. If your bag is deemed overweight (between 50 and 100 pounds) or oversize (larger than 62 inches up to 80 inches), you will be dinged an additional $75 per bag.
Extra baggage fees
If you decide to check a third bag, you’ll have to pay $75 per bag. This same fee applies to checking sports equipment, including archery gear, a boogie or kneeboard, bicycles and more. If you’re packing for a super sporty getaway, we recommend first reading all of Southwest’s terms and conditions for checking sports equipment.
Military baggage fees
Military traveling on active duty or permanent change of station orders are exempt from the two-bag limit and can check overweight and oversize bags for free. However, none of the pieces can exceed 100 pounds or 80 inches (length + height + width).
Other Southwest fees
Beyond unusual baggage circumstances, be prepared to foot an additional bill for the following incidentals and services.
Another perk of flying Southwest is that there are no flight change fees added on top of fare differences when you make a switch — or just flat-out cancel your flight, which also costs $0.
EarlyBird check-in fees
Southwest’s unique boarding system requires passengers to check in 24 hours in advance to digitally race for their place in line. If you want to avoid that chaos altogether, you can pay an EarlyBird Check-In fee for $15, $20 or $25 one-way. This will give you a better boarding position (though boarding group A isn’t promised), earlier access to precious overhead bin space and automated check-in.
Upgraded boarding fees
When available, Southwest flyers can pay $30, $40 or $50 per flight (depending on your itinerary) to secure a position in the A1–A15 boarding group. Since you can’t book specific seats on Southwest, this can be a great elective fee to improve your chances of nabbing an aisle seat at the front of the plane.
Unaccompanied minor fees
Is your kiddo age 5-11 and flying by themselves? Expect to pay $50 per child for this service.
Your furry friend can join you on board for a cool $95 per pet carrier.
If you can’t make it to your destination without a quick drink or some inbox maintenance, expect to pay $6-$7 per serving of wine, beer or liquor, plus $8 for Wi-Fi internet access.
If you need to pay for Southwest Airlines baggage or extra fees
Southwest allows you to check up to two 50-pound bags without paying any fees. This perk can save travelers a lot of money, especially since most other domestic airlines charge for checking a bag. Extra bags, overweight and oversize bags will incur a charge. So if you want to avoid paying Southwest’s baggage fees, stick to one carry-on and two checked pieces of luggage.
Other services, like pet cargo or modified bookings, will cost you various amounts out of pocket. Knowing what Southwest fees are out there — for baggage and more — will help you better budget and prepare for your next Southwest flight.
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