Last Updated on September 18, 2022
- Don’t bring luggage that exceeds the Southwest limits
- Don’t bring items that are prohibited by the TSA or the airport security team of your departure airport.
So you have an upcoming flight with Southwest Airlines and you need to know what not to bring with you to the airport.
This post has got you covered.
While Southwest will check the size of your luggage it’s actually the Transportation Security Administration that will screen the contents of your luggage if you are departing from the US.
Southwest employees will not look inside your carry-on baggage but the TSA will.
There are a few rules about what you can pack that are specific to Southwest, but most if the information about what not to bring on Southwest flights originates from TSA guidelines.
Southwest Airlines Carry-On Rules
Southwest Airlines allow you to bring two pieces of carry-on luggage. Your carry-on and your personal item.
But don’t bring a carry-on bag that is larger than 24 x 16 x 10 inches for a Southwest flight. It won’t fit in the overhead compartment and you will be forced to check it.
Also, take note that 24-inch luggage is not considered carry-on luggage for most other airlines. Don’t bring a 24–inch carry-on if you have a connecting flight with a different airline or you worry that your return Southwest flight could be cancelled meaning you need to fly with a different carrier. A standard size carry-on is often a better idea.
Don’t bring a carry-on bag that you can’t personally lift over your head. There are no weight limits for hand luggage but the flight attendant is not obliged to lift your luggage into the overhead bin. An overweight bag might be removed from the plane and placed in the hold.
Also, don’t bring a personal item bag that is larger than 16.25 x 13.5 x 8 inches. It won’t fit under the seat and you won’t be permitted to bring it on the plane.
Don’t bring your own alcohol to drink on the plane. Although the TSA would permit you to bring a 3.4 oz bottle of wine or a nip through security the flight attendants on Southwest flight don’t permit you to drink your own alcohol.
Southwest Checked Baggage Limits
Southwest Airlines allow you to bring two checked bags but don’t bring checked baggage that is larger than 62 linear inches or weighs more than 50 lbs.
Don’t Bring These Items Inside Your Carry-On For Southwest Flights
These TSA rules apply to Southwest flights departing from the United States.
- Don’t bring sharp objects like knives in carry-on bags for a Southwest flight.
- Don’t bring scissors that are longer than 4 inches as measured from the pivot point.
- Don’t bring any weapons or heavy items that could potentially be used as a bludgeon.
- Don’t bring any liquids, gels, pastes, or creams, in containers larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) in carry-ons.
- Don’t bring a liquids bag that is larger than one quart and can’t be sealed.
- Don’t bring a walking stick or a hiking pole unless you actually need it to assist mobility. You can take a walking stick on a Southwest flight but only if you need it to help you walk through airport security.
- Don’t bring spreadable foods unless they are packed inside your toiletries bag. They are considered to be liquids by the TSA. So don’t bring a big jar of peanut butter on a Southwest flight.
- Don’t bring any hand tools that are longer than 7 inches.
- Don’t bring any lighters that have a blue flame.
- Don’t bring any lithium-ion power banks that are over 160 WH.
- Don’t bring any flammable liquids that are not toiletries.
- Don’t bring any explosives like fireworks or gunpowder.
- Don’t bring any alcohol this is over 70% ABV.
- If you are flying internationally don’t bring anything that you are not permitted to import into your destination country. This could be certain foods or plant materials like seeds.
- Don’t bring more tobacco or alcohol than you are permitted to import to your destination country.
- Don’t bring cash that exceeds the permitted amount for your destination country.
- Don’t bring any substances that are illegal under federal law
Things Not To Pack In Checked Bags
When packing a checked bag for a Southwest flight there are a number of items that you should not pack.
Some of the items that are prohibited from carry-on luggage can be packed in checked luggage.
Sharp items, knives, weapons, and even guns can be packed in checked luggage. But don’t bring sharp items unless they are properly wrapped to prevent injury to baggage inspectors.
The main things that are prohibited from checked bags are flammable items and loose lithium-ion batteries.
Check this post for a full list of things you should not pack in checked bags.
When it comes to personal belongings don’t pack anything too valuable in checked luggage since it could be lost, damaged, or stolen.
The Bottom Line
Southwest has luggage size restrictions to make sure everybody’s bags will fit under seats and in overhead bins.
The TSA and other airport security teams around the world are mainly looking for weapons and liquids.
Weapons are not wanted inside the cabin because the last thing anyone wants during a flight is a shoot out, knife fight, or people hitting each other over the head with baseball bats.
If you don’t know the history you can read about why liquids are restricted on Southwest flights here.
Flammable items are prohibited from checked bags because a fire could start in the luggage hold. With nobody around to extinguish the fire…
Let’s just say it might not be a great start to your vacation!