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Southwest Airlines Military Baggage Allowance

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If you are an active-duty military member or a dependent traveling on Southwest Airlines, you are eligible for some special benefits and discounts, including a generous baggage policy.

In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Southwest Airlines military baggage allowance, such as who qualifies, what documents are required, how many bags you can check for free, and what size and weight limits apply.

Who Qualifies for Southwest Airlines Military Baggage Allowance?

Southwest Airlines offers a military baggage allowance to active-duty U.S. military personnel and their dependents.

The following military passengers traveling on active duty qualify:

  • U.S. Military personnel
  • U.S. Reserve
  • National Guard
  • Coast Guard
  • Cadets attending:
    • U.S. Air Force Academy
    • U.S. Coast Guard Academy
    • U.S. Military Academy (West Point)
    • U.S. Naval Academy
  • Dependents

Military Dependents

Military dependents aged between 2 and 11 years old must be traveling with a military personnel member or a military dependent aged 12 years or over.

Recently Discharged Military Personnel

If you are a military member who has just left active duty, or if you are traveling with one as a military dependent, you can still be eligible for the special military baggage allowance.

However, you need to complete your travel within a week of the date of discharge.

Documentation and Identification

To claim Southwest Airlines military baggage policy, you must present one of the following documents at the check-in counter:

  • A valid US Military Identification Card
  • A copy of your discharge papers

You must also have a confirmed reservation on a Southwest Airlines flight. You cannot claim the military baggage allowance on flights operated by other airlines or codeshare partners.

Documentation and Identification for Dependents

Unless dependents are traveling with a military personnel member who was discharged within a week of travel, they must present a valid US Military Services Identification and Privilege Card.

Carry On Baggage Allowance

Qualifying active-duty military members and their dependents are eligible for Southwest’s standard carry-on baggage allowance. No additional allowances apply.

You can bring one personal item and one carry-on bag on board with you.

Personal Item

Size Limit

Your personal item can be up to 16.25 x 13.5 x 8 inches (41.3 x 34.3 x 20.3 centimeters) in size. It must be able to fit under the seat in front of you.

Typical personal items include:

  • Handbag
  • Small backpack
  • Laptop bag

Weight Limit

Southwest doesn’t specify a weight limit for personal items.

Carry-On Bag

Size Limit

Your carry-on bag can be up to 24 x 16 x 10 inches (61 x 41 x 25 centimeters) in size. It must be able to fit in the overhead bins or under the seat in front of you.

Typical carry-on bags include:

  • Small suitcase
  • Duffel bag
  • Garment bag

Weight Limit

Southwest doesn’t specify a weight limit for carry-on bags. However, you should be able to lift it into the overhead bins without requiring assistance.

Checked Baggage Allowance

Number of Bags

Active-duty military personnel and their dependents aren’t subject to the 2 checked bag limit. In fact, you can check up to 20 checked bags.

Hot Tip: If you intend to travel with a large number of checked bags, arrive at the check-in counter early to allow enough time for your documents to be verified and bags checked.

Size Limit

How to measure suitcase

Your checked bags can be up to 80 linear inches (203 centimeters) in size. This is calculated by measuring your bag’s outside length, width, and height, then adding these measurements together. Unlike most other airlines, you don’t have to include any protruding luggage wheels in your measurements.

Southwest won’t accept checked bags larger than 80 linear inches. However, if you’re an authorized Transport Security Administration (TSA) Known Shipper, your oversized bags can be transported by Southwest Cargo.

Weight Limit

Each of your checked bags can weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

Southwest won’t accept checked bags weighing more than 100 pounds.

Baggage Fees

Active-duty military passengers are not subject to oversized, overweight, or excess bag fees.

Final Thoughts

Southwest Airlines offers a very generous military baggage allowance for qualifying military passengers:

Checked Baggage

  • Up to 20 checked bags, each up to 80 linear inches and 100 pounds
  • No oversized, overweight, or excess baggage fees

Carry-On Baggage

  • 1 personal item
  • 1 carry-on bag

Don’t forget to bring your military ID with you to the airport, as this will need to be verified when you check in.

Remember to always check Southwest Airline’s website or contact their customer service for the latest information on baggage allowances and fees.


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