How Strict Is Southwest About Carry-on Size 2024?

Generally you can bring any type of bag as your main carry-on bag if it is within the following dimensions 24 x 16 x 10 inches (with additional charges).

There is more chance that the airline stuff will control the size of your bag to ensure it doesn’t exceed the dimensions above, if it is above the mentioned dimensions it will need to be checked.

Here is a detailed guide about Southwest carry-on size limits to help you skip the hassle of the airport and avoid any surprises.

Let’s Find out.

southwest carry on size
Courtesy / Southwest Airlines

How Strict Is Southwest About Carry-on Baggage Size?

Southwest Airline is strict about its carry on size, However; so will need to make sure that your carry-on bag is within the following size limits:

Southwest Airlines carry-on items are limited to one bag, in addition to one small personal item.

  • Carry on bag dimensions are limited to 10 H x 16 W x 24 L inches.
  • you must place your cabin bag in the cabin above and it must fit the cabin, placing its wheels facing out will help you get the wheels faster.
  • there is no weight limit for carry-on luggage on Southwest

If your bag doesn’t meet the Southwest carry-on limits, it may not be accepted as a carry-on or it will be subject to the gate check in; and you will pick it up at the luggage claim.

To compare with the majority of other airlines, the southwest allow only these dimensions 9 H x 14 W x 22 L, it is an extra inch in height, 2 inches in length and another 2 inches in width.

What Will Happen If Your Carry-on Is Slightly Over The Allowed Size?

If your bag is slightly large, and above the allowed dimensions, I don’t think there will be a chance that the airline will accept it as a carry-on bag.

On the other hand if you are traveling with a backpack or a soft-sided bag, you can easily squeeze it in the luggage sizer.

That said, backpacks and duffle bags are much easier to take even if they are slightly oversized, but over all rules are rules, it is better to respect them.

@Jill asked Southwest customer service on Twitter if his 10 “x 15″x 25” bag will be accepted as carry-on which is slightly oversized.

The Southwest answered that Jill can check it free of charge as long as it has 50 pounds or less.

How Strict Is Southwest About Carry-on Size-04

Obviously the airline will not tell him that it is okay if the bag is slightly above the size, but the bag still can fit in the sizer especially if it is a soft-sided bag.

Does Southwest Charge For Carry-on?


Southwest carry-on items that meet the standard dimensions and size are free of charge.

Any bag that exceeds the size limits will be subject for checked baggage as we mentioned previously.

Southwest Checked Baggage Allowance

In addition to the free carry on baggage allowance, Southwest allows passengers to bring two pieces of checked baggage free of charge.

The good news is if your carry-on bag exceeds the allowed size you can still check in it fee free, and you don’t need to worry about any additional charges.

The only drawback about checked baggage is that your valuable items can be damaged or even lost.

What Is The Best Bag For Southwest Carry-on?

However Southwest is generous with its carry on size, but we recommend a carry on luggage size that falls within the size requirements of most airlines.

If you only plan to have 1 hard-side suitcase we recommend going with something smaller like Kenneth Cole Reaction 20-Inch Carry-On (21.75” H x 14.5” W x 8.5” D).

Otherwise you can go for this beautiful Rockland fashion soft-side upright luggage set which has a carry-on and a personal bag and you don’t have to pay extra luggage fees.

Otherwise you can go for this beautiful Rockland fashion soft-side upright luggage set which has a carry-on and a personal bag and you don’t have to pay extra luggage fees.

Infant Baggage Allowance

Parents can choose to travel with their babies under years on a lap for no additional charges; and when you travel with your infant with a lap your child doesn’t need a boarding pass; however you may need a boarding verification document to allow the infant board the aircraft.

Infants Car Seats

In addition to the regular free baggage allowance; passengers traveling with infants are allowed to check one stroller and one (CRS) Children Restraint System or a car seat per child free of charge.

But please note that the airline will not assume liability for damage to strollers (CRS) or car seats so you may need to take care of your infants items.

Final Thoughts

To avoid any inconvenience at the airport ensure that you take a compliant suitcase, with Southwest carry-on size limits.

In some situations, it is still possible to bring a slightly oversized carry-on bag on board the airplane, even if it exceeds the specified dimensions by a few inches. However, this will depend on the the airline staff you encounter at the checkin counter.

We hope this helps.

Happy travels.

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