Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?

Do you need to bring a backpack on your next flight with Southwest Airlines and aren’t sure if it’s allowed? We understand that navigating airline policies like baggage allowance and size limitations can be a real challenge, which is why we’ve done the research to answer the question: can I check a backpack on Southwest Airlines?

If you’ve been curious about this popular airline’s policy and what items they accept as checked baggage, look no further!

In this article, we will provide all the key information on whether or not Southwest allows you to check a backpack as well as the tricks and necessary steps to take to ensure help make your travel experience smooth sailing.

Let’s dive into the specifics.

You absolutely can check a backpack with Southwest Airlines as long as it meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions for checked baggage.

However, if your bag exceeds the size limitation outlined by Southwest Airlines (60 linear inches or less, and less than 50 lbs in weight) it will be considered an oversized item and subject to additional fees.

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?

Checking a backpack with Southwest Airlines is easy once you understand their rules and regulations regarding luggage size limits and fees associated with checking multiple bags.

Below are more details on how to check your backpack on Southwest Airlines. 

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?: Southwest Airlines Checked baggage size and weight

Southwest Airlines checked baggage policy allows passengers to have up to two bags for free, regardless of travel class.

As such, you can check a backpack and another piece item, or even two backpacks, depending on your preference. 

All you have to do is comply with Southwest policies on checked baggage.

Just keep in mind that the checked bag must not exceed 50 lbs in weight and 62 linear inches (length + width + height) in size.

If your backpack exceeds these dimensions, then it will need to be checked as baggage at the ticket counter at an additional cost.

These restrictions apply to all checked bags on Southwest flights, regardless of whether they are backpacks or other forms of luggage.

Exception: Military personnel traveling on active duty are exempt from the two-bag limit limitation and will not be charged for oversize, or overweight luggage as long as none of the items exceeds 100 pounds in weight and 80 inches (L+W+H).

Bags larger than 80 inches cannot be checked as luggage, but if the customer is a known shipper, they may be shipped as cargo

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?: Southwest Airlines Checked luggage fee

How much does it cost to check extra bags on Southwest Airlines? 

Remember, passengers can check up to two bags per person without incurring any additional fees on Southwest flights, so far the weight and total size limit are not exceeded.

This means backpacks over 50 pounds or 62 linear inches are charged an additional fee of $75 based on excess weight or size.

But that’s not the only case for paying checked baggage fees on Southwest.  

After your first two free checked bags, any additional checked bag will cost $75– this applies both to backpacks as well as other types of luggage.

You should also note that any overweight and oversized items may incur an additional charge of $75!

However, the oversized bag allowed on Southwest Airlines must not exceed 80 inches, while the overweight bag must be a maximum of 100 lbs.

If you’re flying with Southwest Airlines, it’s important to know their guidelines for checking backpacks so that your experience can be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Read on for some helpful tips on how to check a backpack on Southwest Airlines so you can travel with peace of mind. 

The first step in checking a backpack on Southwest Airlines is to measure it and ensure it fits within the specified size and weight requirements.

For checked bags, the maximum dimensions are 62 inches (length + width + height) and the maximum weight is 50 lbs.

Any oversized bags will be subject to additional fees.

Any bags that exceed these limits will not be accepted as free checked baggage and may incur additional fees if they are not approved during the pre-flight inspection process. 

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?

Do not pack any valuables in your checked bag—keep them in your carry-on instead!

This includes items such as jewelry, electronics, medication, cash, documents, or other irreplaceable items.

If something happens to your bag during transit (e.g., theft), Southwest Airlines may not be able to reimburse you if they were stored in a checked bag. 

So, it’s best to keep these items in your carry-on luggage so that they remain in sight at all times.
Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines? : TSA approved lock

Using a TSA-approved lock is an essential step when checking a backpack with Southwest Airlines—not only does it protect the contents of your bag from theft or damage but it also allows for easy access by security personnel if necessary.

It’s even stated on its website that Southwest Airlines is not responsible for any harm done to any locked backpack that has to be opened for security reasons.

Additionally, make sure all pockets are closed tightly so that nothing falls out during transit! 

When packing your backpack for check-in with Southwest Airlines, make sure that all items inside are properly packed lest anything gets damaged during transit.

Consider using packing cubes or other organizational products to maximize space in your bag as well as protect delicate items from damage.

Additionally, make sure that all bottles are securely capped so they don’t leak during transit and cause damage to other items in your bag.

Also, take care to cover any sharp objects with bubble wrap or other materials so they don’t injure you or anyone handling your bag at the airport.

You should also avoid packing any TSA-prohibited items as they may lead to delays, fines, or confiscation of goods upon discovery by airport security personnel.

These include things like firearms, explosives, flammable liquids/gases/solids, etc., so double-check before putting anything into your checked bag!  

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines? : luggage tag

It’s also a good idea to tag each checked back with your personal information (name, address, phone number).

This ensures easy return in case it gets lost or misplaced during transit or baggage claim—so don’t skip this step!

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?

Last but not least, avoid late check-ins if possible!

Bags checked in 45 minutes or less before the scheduled departure time are considered “Late Check” and may not arrive with you at your destination.  

So plan ahead of time and give yourself plenty of time for check-in procedures at the counter or kiosk so you don’t miss out on any travel plans!

With these tips in mind, you can rest assured knowing that everything will go smoothly when checking backpacks with Southwest Airlines!  


What counts as a checked bag on Southwest Airlines?

What counts as a checked bag?

According to Southwest Airlines’ policy, any bag that exceeds 10 x 16 x 24 inches (LWH) is considered checked luggage, and so must be checked in at the ticket counter before takeoff.

For your bag to qualify as free checked baggage, it must be under 50 pounds (23 kg) and a maximum of 62 inches (158 cm) total (length + width + height).

This includes suitcases, golf bags, skis, large duffel bags, and of course, backpacks. 

What are Southwest Airlines Baggage Policies?

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?

Southwest allows each passenger one personal item, one carry-on luggage, and two checked bags per flight, all for free!

Personal items must fit under the seat in front of the passenger and cannot exceed 16.25 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches in size, while your carry-on luggage must fit in the overhead bin and should not exceed 10 x 16 x 24 inches.

For checked bags, they must not exceed 62 linear inches (length + width + height) and 50 lbs total weight per bag.

These restrictions are important because anything that exceeds these limitations will incur additional fees at ticketing counters or the gate. 

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?

Yes, a backpack can be considered a personal item on Southwest Airlines if it measures less than 16.2” x 13.5” x 8”, and is small enough to fit under the seat.

A backpack that is larger than 16.2 x 13.5 x 8 inches may be considered a carry-on bag. 

A backpack can count as a personal item or as a carry-on, depending on the size of the backpack and the airline you’re flying with. Generally, if the backpack is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, it will count as a personal item. If the backpack is too large to fit under the seat but still falls within the airline’s carry-on size restrictions, then it will count as a carry-on.

It’s always best to check with your specific airline regarding their baggage policies. 

Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines?: Wanna Get Away Southwest

Yes, you can check a bag with Wanna Get Away Southwest. Southwest’s Wanna Get Away package allows two checked bags per passenger for free. However, the bag must not exceed 62 inches in total dimensions (length + width + height) and must weigh less than 50 pounds.

You can also bring on a personal item and carry-on luggage for free on Southwest Airlines.

For more information, please visit Southwest’s baggage policy page

Does a backpack count as a checked bag?

Yes, a backpack can count as a checked bag so far it complies with the size or weight limit of the specific airline you are flying with.

For instance, on Southwest Airlines, you can use a backpack as checked luggage if the weight is under 50 pounds, and if the total size is under 62 inches.

However, this rule varies by different airlines.

So, it is important to check the airline’s rules and regulations to make sure that your backpack complies.   

Closing Thoughts

So, can you check a backpack on Southwest Airlines?

Yes—you can check backpacks on Southwest Airlines flights provided they meet certain size and weight requirements. For your backpack to qualify as free checked baggage, it must be under 50 pounds (23 kg) and 62 inches (158 cm) total (length + width + height).

We understand it can be confusing trying to keep track of the ever-changing policies of different airlines.

Hopefully, this post has saved you some time and energy by providing all the need-to-know details about checking a backpack on Southwest Airlines flights.

Do you have any other questions about traveling with Southwest Airlines?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Can I Check a Backpack on Southwest Airlines? Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Femi,

    I’m glad with SW you can check in two bags. This seems to be a thing of the past with a lot of airlines. Often, only 1 checked bag is free and the 2nd costs money. It was weird when this first started trending with many of the airlines. It seemed like one day I was flying with 2 bags for free, and the next month, only 1 was free and many started charging.

    I’m glad you also linked in the SW airlines baggage specs so anyone flying knows what they can bring before arriving to the airport.

    I have to ask, since I didn’t see the link for it – where did you see that weight tool that hooks to the bag? That’s great! I need to look for one of those! Normally, I weigh myself, then I grab my bag and weigh myself again. Terrible way to ensure my weight limits are met! Especially since I HATE seeing the number that pops up on my scale…ugh.

    Thanks for being so detailed with this! Huge help!


  2. I normally fly Southwest. I’ve never checked a backpack in before, but I see many others carrying them throughout the airport. This article caught my attention though as I’ve wondered about the size limitations for checked baggage. It’s nice to know that a backpack can be checked for free as long as it meets the size requirements.

    I know Southwest has had troubles lately, but I’m comfortable with them, and as your article shows, they are accommodating.

  3. HI Femi,
    I usually like to bring one carry on bag just because it is much simpler. However, after reading your post, I like the idea that I can check two bags for free! And with your dimension and weight specs listed here, I don’t have to spend any time searching for answers! I will bookmark this post for future reference! Thank you, Femi!


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