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Southwest Airlines Checked Baggage Requirements

If you want to bring more baggage, every item after two up to nine items will incur a $50 per item surcharge. Every item after the ninth will be charged $110 each.

Any bag that weighs more than 50 pounds but less than 100 pounds or is larger than 62 inches on any side but less than 80 inches will incur a $50 per item surcharge. Anything over 100 pounds won’t be accepted. Instead Southwest requires those items to be shipped via air cargo but only TSA “known shippers” are allowed to use Southwest’s air cargo.

All luggage must have the passenger’s name on the outside of the bag, like on a luggage tag. Southwest also recommends bags be labeled with the passenger’s name and address on the inside as well. Southwest provides labels if you don’t already have one for each checked item.

Southwest will give you a claim check for each checked item. You should be sure to double check that the claim check says your correct final destination.

Should you have a problem with your baggage, including damage or it being lost by the airline, Southwest sets a limit at $3,300 per paying customer. If your baggage is worth more than that, you must declare the value at check in and pay an extra charge. Claims must be made within four hours from arriving at your destination. Southwest may tag items with “Conditional Acceptance” if they determine they were improperly packed or fragile. For those items they won’t accept any responsibility for any damage.

Luggage must be checked in 30 minutes before departure, in most cases. But there are some airports that require a minimum of 45 minutes before departure. Those include: Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), Chicago Midway (MDW), Denver (DEN), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Phoenix (PHX), Orlando (MCO) and Washington Dulles (IAD). Check with Southwest beforehand to see if any additional airports have been added. If luggage isn’t checked in on schedule, bags will be tagged as “late.” Those bags may not arrive with you at your destination and Southwest will not pay to get your bags to you. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not allow the following items in checked baggage (as of June 6, 2010): flammable liquid, gel or aerosol paint; fire extinguishers and other compressed gas cylinders; liquid bleach; spillable batteries except those in wheelchairs; spray paint; tear gas; self defense sprays containing more than 2 percent by mass of tear gas; chlorine for pools and spas; flares; gun powder including black powder and percussion caps; lighters; no explosive or flammable items.

Be sure to check the TSA website (See mulberry sale Resources) for updated lists of items allowed in carry on and checked baggage.

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