If you're planning to travel with a carry-on, you'll need to be up to speed with airline carry-on policies. Specifically, the various rules and regulations each carrier has for what you can and cannot “carry-on” to the plane. Each airline’s rules are different, so don’t assume what works for one will work for all airlines.
Here are the Southwest Airlines Carry-On rules you need to be aware of:
What are Southwest Airlines Carry-On Rules?
Southwest Airlines allows one personal item and one carry-on bag at no charge.
What does Southwest Airlines consider a Personal item?
Personal-type items include purses, briefcases, cameras, food containers, or laptops (case included). Your personal item must be stored under the seat in front of you, fitting within 18.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 inch dimensions.
Southwest Airlines Carry-On Dimensions
Southwest Airlines’ size requirements for a carry-on are a little larger than most domestic airlines at 24″ x 16″ x 10″.
If you are not sure what size your carry on is, Southwest Airlines does provide size check templates located at their ticket counters and gates. But by the time you get to either of these locations it’s too late if the bag is too big, so better to always know your bag size in advance.
Southwest Airlines Carry-On Weight Limits
As a rule, Southwest Airlines does not impose weight restrictions with a carry-on bag.
Southwest Airlines Carry-On Prohibited Items
There certain items are considered dangerous and classified as hazardous material. Dangerous goods are prohibited from both your carry-on and checked bag in all Southwest Airlines flights. These rules are not specific to Southwest Airlines and are mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Southwest Airlines Carry-On Liquids
The rules for carry-on liquids are set by the TSA and FAA. Southwest Airlines doesn’t make the rules, but they must enforce them.
The TSA 3-1-1 Rule
Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.
Any liquid that does not meet the TSA 3-1-1 rule will either have to be checked with your luggage or will be thrown away at the security check point.
Here is a little video to help illustrate:
Can You Bring Food on a Southwest Airlines Flight?
There are two different scenarios here. Food you bring with you from home and food you buy at the airport, after you have gone through security.
An important thing to note is the classification of liquid vs. solid foods. The general rule is “If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it, then it’s considered a liquid or gel,”. This means your food may be considered a liquid and will fall under the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule, which mandates that any liquid, gel, cream, aerosol, or paste in a carry-on must be 3.4 ounces or less, and fit in one quart-size resealable bag (only one such bag is allowed per passenger).
Here is a link to the TSA website advising what food can be brought with you on your Southwest Airlines flight. This applies to food you are bringing from home through security. However, once you are through security, you can bring just about any food on the plane that you buy at the airport.
What are Southwest Airlines Carry-On Pet Policies?
Southwest Airlines allows small vaccinated domestic cats and dogs to travel with you in-cabin under the seat in front of you. All pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier as noted below. The pet carrier counts as either a carry-on item or a personal item.
Soft-sided and hard-sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable with maximum dimensions of 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5” wide.
Does Southwest Airlines Charge to Bring a Pet on Board with You?
Yes. There is a charge to bring a pet on board with you. Below is a chart showing the pet fees Southwest Airlines charges each way. Double them for a round trip flight.
|To/From Destination||Pet Fee Each Way|
|One Way Flights||$ 95.00|
Emotional Support and Service animals have some separate guidelines. Here is a link to Southwest Airlines’ emotional support animal rules.
TSA Approved Pet Carrier for Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Carry-On Fee
Southwest Airlines does not charge a fee for carry-on baggage that meets their size requirements
Here is a link to Southwest's Carry-On Rules page to make sure you have the most up to date information.
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