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Alex Schechter
May 02, 2017

In a lazy kind of way, we appreciate it when travel companies are upfront about costs. Unforeseen expenses mean having to go back and fiddle with the budget, and that’s just a downer when all you’re trying to do is enjoy your vacation.

Free Carry-Ons and Checked Baggage

As the only U.S. domestic carrier that allows two free checked bags per paying passenger, Southwest keeps things simple with its aversion to nickel-and-diming.

With your Southwest ticket, you’ll get to bring a carry-on bag, a personal item (small backpack, laptop, or camera case), and two checked bags for the grand total of zero dollars. That’s right: thanks to the airline’s revered “Bags Fly Free” program, no passenger has to deal with the nuisance of additional baggage fees, as those costs have already been factored into the ticket. It’s really no wonder this Dallas-based airline has scored such high marks for its customer service and all-around popularity.

Of course, as with any airline, there are size guidelines. But as long as you stick to those, you should be golden.

Compared to most other U.S. airlines, Southwest’s baggage policy is rather streamlined. Everything up to the second checked bag is included in your airfare, so you only have to start pulling out the credit card once you go beyond that. For example, a third checked bag will set you back $75 — as long as it’s under 50 pounds.

Are There Any Baggage Fees at All??

If you’re checking an additional piece of luggage (beyond the first two free checked bags), and it’s over 50 pounds, that’s going to cost you double. Per the airline’s policy, a $75 excess baggage fee combined with a $75 overweight checked bag fee adds up to $150. So to reduce costs, plan on keeping all luggage under 50 pounds, especially if you’re checking more than two bags.

The good news is that these fees (or lack of fees) remain consistent for all passengers. Since Southwest only uses Boeing 737 planes with an all-coach configuration, the fees don’t vary based on where you sit.

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