Special Baggage and Sports Equipment
To ensure safety when traveling, certain items are prohibited from travelling in your luggage. Please reference the below list for details on specific items and note that additional restrictions may apply, visit the TSA website for more information.
- Dry Cell Batteries
Any Alkaline, NiCad, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Silver Oxide, and Carbon Zinc batteries similar to those used in flashlights or commonly used electronic devices are allowed onboard the aircraft.
These items must be securely installed in equipment or have exposed terminals protected in a manner to prevent short circuit. Electrical tape, individually bagging batteries in sealable plastic bags, or plastic covers designed to protect the terminals from short circuit would all meet this requirement.
- Fuel Cells
Regulation reference [49 CFR Part 175.10][IATA: 184.108.40.206]
Fuel cells used to power portable electronic devices (e.g., cameras, cellular phones, laptop computers, camcorders) are allowed on Southwest Airlines under the following conditions:
- Fuel cells and fuel cell cartridges may only contain flammable liquids, corrosive substances, liquefied flammable gas, water-reactive substances, or hydrogen in metal hydride.
- Refueling of fuel cells on board an aircraft is not permitted except that the installation of a spare cartridge is allowed.
- The maximum quantity of fuel in any fuel cell or fuel cell cartridge must not exceed the following:
- 6.7 fl oz (200 ml) for liquids
- 0.4 lb or 7 oz (200 g) for solids
- 4 fl oz (120 ml) for liquefied gas (non-metallic)
- 6.7 fl oz (200 ml) for liquefied gas (metal)
- The fuel cell cartridges must have a water capacity of 4 fl oz (120 ml) or less for hydrogen in metal hydride.
- Each fuel cell or cartridge must be marked with the maximum quantity and type of fuel.
- Each fuel cell or cartridge must be marked with a manufacturers certification that it conforms to IEC PAS 62282–6–1 Ed.1.
- Fuel cells containing fuel are permitted in carryon baggage only.
- Fuel cells whose sole function is to charge a battery in the device are not permitted.
- Must be durably marked by the manufacturer: “APPROVED FOR CARRIAGE IN AIRCRAFT CABIN ONLY.”
Note: TSA security regulations may be more restrictive.
- Lithium Batteries
View updates from the TSA on Lithium Batteries in Checked and Carryon Baggage.
- Spillable Wet Cell
Wet cell batteries (like most car or motorcycle batteries) are not allowed in checked or carryon baggage.
The only exception is for a Customer's wheelchair or assistive device. If your wheelchair/assistive device is powered by a spillable wet cell battery, the battery will be removed from the wheelchair and transported in a special battery box. To allow for proper handling, please arrive at the gate one hour prior to departure and notify the Customer Service Agent on duty that the battery is a wet cell spillable battery.
- Non-spillable Wet Cell
Equipment containing non-spillable wet cell batteries (gel cell or absorbent glass mat) can be carried as cargo (Shippers must meet all applicable security requirements). The equipment with the battery installed must be protected from short circuit and securely packaged. The package must be marked “Non-spillable” or “Non-spillable Battery.”
If you are traveling with a wheelchair or other assistive device that has a non-spillable battery, it is important to note that the battery will be disconnected at the quick disconnect, securely attached to the wheelchair/assistive device during transport, and reattached upon arrival at the destination.
- Effective January 15, 2018, one book of safety matches or one common lighter is permitted on your person.
- Torch lighters, lighter fluid, strike anywhere matches and fire starter (liquid, solid or gel) are prohibited on Southwest Airlines’ aircraft.
- Camping equipment (camp stoves and lanterns) are fueled by either a flammable liquid or a flammable gas. It is Southwest's policy not to carry these items, with the following exceptions:
- Flammable Liquid Fueled Equipment (white fuel, gasoline, diesel, etc.): Camp stoves, heaters, lanterns or other flammable liquid fueled camp equipment will not be accepted as checked or carryon baggage unless the equipment is brand new, unused and still in the manufacturer's package. We will not accept flammable liquid fueled equipment if there is any evidence that the equipment has been used.
- Flammable Gas Fueled Equipment (propane/butane): Camp stoves, heaters, lanterns, or other camping equipment that uses compressed gas cylinders will be subject to limited release as checked or carryon baggage. The stove burner and/or lantern filament may be carried, as long as there is no fuel cylinder. The fuel cylinders themselves must be removed and are prohibited in checked and carryon baggage, whether they are empty or full.
- Knives, axes, and other cutting instruments must have the blades protected and must be stowed in checked baggage only.
Engines & Air Compressors
- Electric Air Compressors/Gasoline Powered Compressors: Electric air compressors are allowed as checked baggage if the air tank is verifiably empty. The unit must be transported with the air tank in the open position and the gauge must register no pressure in the tank. Gasoline powered compressors are not allowed.
- Internal Combustion Engines: Southwest Airlines does not allow internal combustion engines as checked or carryon baggage. This includes new or used equipment. This restriction includes lawn equipment, engine-powered scooters, and any other fuel-operated combustion engine.
- Flammable Liquids: Flammable Liquids associated with internal combustion engines (i.e., gasoline, kerosene, and/or diesel fuel) are all regulated hazardous materials and cannot be carried in checked or carryon baggage. This applies to engines, engine components associated with these fuels, and fuel containers that have been in contact with these fuels.
- Motor Oil and Fluids: While they are not regulated as hazardous materials, items such as motor oil, hydraulic fluids, brake fluid, and transmission fluid are not allowed in checked or carryon baggage due to the damage they can cause if spilled.
Guns & Ammunition
- Customers are responsible for knowing and following the firearms laws of the state(s) that they will be traveling to, from, and through.
- Our Customers must declare the gun to the Customer Service Agent at the ticket counter (no firearms will be accepted curbside) and ensure that the firearm(s) chambers are free of ammunition and the magazine clip has been removed (when applicable). Paintball guns and BB guns are considered the same as all other firearms.
- Paintball guns are allowed in checked baggage and are not subject to the container requirements of firearms. Customers must declare the paintball gun to the Customer Service Agent at the ticket counter. Compressed gas cylinders are allowed in checked baggage or as a carryon only if the regulator valve is completely disconnected from the cylinder and the cylinder is no longer sealed (i.e., the cylinder has an open end). TSA Security Screeners must visibly ensure that the cylinder is completely empty and that there are no prohibited items inside.
- Firearms must be encased in a hard-sided, locked container that is of sufficient strength to withstand normal handling, as follows:
- A firearm in a hard-sided, locked container may be placed inside a soft-sided, unlocked suitcase.
- A firearm placed inside a hard-sided, locked suitcase must be encased in a hard-sided, locked container.
- The locked container or suitcase must completely secure the firearm from access. Cases or suitcases that can be pulled open with minimal effort do not meet the locked criterion.
- The Customer checking the luggage should retain the key or combination to the lock, and may use any brand or type of lock to secure the firearm case (including TSA-recognized locks).
- Firearms may be checked and will count toward the two-piece free baggage allowance for each fare-paying passenger. We allow multiple firearms to be transported inside one hard-sided case.
- Southwest Airlines assumes no liability for the misalignment of sights on firearms, including those equipped with telescopic sights.
- Firearms are never allowed in carryon luggage.
- Small arms ammunition for personal use (provided it is properly packed) is permissible in checked baggage only.
- The ammunition may be placed in the same container as the firearm and must be securely packed in cardboard (fiber), wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
- When checking ammunition, Customers are limited to 11 pounds gross weight (ammunition plus container) per person.
- Magazines or clips containing ammunition must be securely packaged (placed in another small box or in a secure cutout in the carrying case, in order to protect the primer of the ammunition).
- Make sure guns are unloaded and definitely never transport a gun in your carryon baggage!
- Gunpowder (black powder) and primers or percussion caps are not allowed in checked or carryon baggage.
- Loose ammunition or loose loaded magazines and/or clips are not allowed.
- Paintballs must be packaged in a leak-proof container and will be conditionally accepted.
Due to concerns regarding the lithium batteries used in hoverboards (balance boards, gravity boards, self-balancing devices, etc.), effective Saturday, December 12, 2015, Southwest Airlines will not transport hoverboards in either checked luggage or as a carryon item.
Medications & Oxygen
Please visit the TSA's web site for instructions and allowable medication in carryon baggage.
Southwest is not equipped to transport or provide medical oxygen or other hazardous materials and/or contained gas, either in the passenger cabin or as cargo or baggage. Any Customer who requires a constant supply of compressed or liquid medical oxygen cannot travel on Southwest Airlines. If there is a question as to a Customer's ability to travel the duration of a flight without the use of medical oxygen, we may request documentation from a licensed physician to verify that the Customer can complete the flight safely and without the use of medical oxygen.
Liquid oxygen cannot be carried onboard our aircraft. If a liquid oxygen unit is empty (and contains a gauge or color indicator verifying the unit is empty), then the unit can be transported, as long as the valve remains open.
See Medications and Assistive Devices for full details.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Conditions that must be met in order to use an approved POC during flight:
- The POC may only be used in its battery-operated mode. Southwest Airlines does not have electrical outlets onboard the aircraft for commercial product use.
- The Customer must have a sufficient number of fully charged batteries to cover no less than 150% of the expected maximum flight duration, which is based on the scheduled flight time and factors such as weather conditions, traffic delays, and any other conditions that may delay travel. We recommend carrying at least one extra battery. Extra batteries must be packaged for carryon in a manner to prevent short circuit. Battery terminals must either be recessed or packaged so as to prevent contact with metal objects, including terminals of other batteries. Extra batteries must be carried on and cannot be inside of checked luggage.
A Customer may transport a POC that has not been approved for use inflight, but cannot use the device onboard. Although not required, we encourage you to bring documentation specifying that you will not need the device inflight. If a Passenger is not planning on using a POC during the flight but our Employees have reason to believe that oxygen may be required to complete travel, additional medical documentation requirements may apply.
Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) may be brought onboard our flights in accordance with Federal Regulations 14 CFR Parts 121 and 382.
Effective August 22, 2016: POCs intended for use during flight must bear a label on the exterior of the device containing the following certification statement in red lettering, “The manufacturer of this POC has determined this device conforms to all applicable FAA acceptance criteria for POC carriage and use on board aircraft.” Additionally, the following POC models are approved for use during flight with or without a label:
These models are approved for use with either the current or former manufacturers’ name.
- Customers may indicate the intended use of the POC when booking travel via Southwest.com by using the “Add/Edit Disability Options” (situated on the Enter Traveler Info page). Simply click on the “Add/Edit Disability Options” link located in the Passenger details section. After you have selected your option(s), click “Continue.” If a reservation has already been created, simply click on the “FLIGHT | HOTEL | CAR” link located on the top of our home page. Then, select “Manage Reservations” from the “Flights” column, input the required information, and select “Continue.” From that page, click on the "Add/Edit” Disability Options link. Once you have added your option(s), click “Continue” and your information will be saved to your reservation.
- If the reservation is made by telephone, the Customer should inform our Customer Representative of the intended use of the POC and either note the model of POC to be used or verify that the POC includes the label described above.
- If booking through a travel agent, the Customer should call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA after the reservation is made.
At the Airport
- The Customer using the approved POC must check with a Customer Service Agent and have their device verified. To do so, the Customer should arrive at the departure gate no less than 45 minutes prior to departure. If the Customer wishes to preboard, the Customer must then see a Customer Service Agent to receive a Preboarding Document (if he/she has not done so already).
- Prior to boarding each flight associated with the Customer's itinerary, the Southwest Airlines Operations Agent will verify the POC model, phases of flight (taxi, takeoff, cruise, landing) during which the Customer intends to use the device, and number and packaging of batteries.
- We strongly suggest that Customers using POCs in the aircraft board with the preboarding group. Note: Customers who do not make themselves available for preboarding in order to secure an aircraft seat that meets FAA safety requirements may be denied boarding or rebooked on an alternate flight to their destination in order to be seated appropriately. While we will make every attempt to accommodate a Customer using a POC who does not preboard, we will not delay the aircraft to reseat Customers.
Onboard the Aircraft
- In accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Regulations, the Customer using an approved POC must be seated in a seat closest to the window than any other Customer in that row. In many situations, the Customer using the approved POC must be seated in a window seat to comply with the Safety Regulations. Consistent with federal safety regulations, a POC that will be used inflight must be able to fit completely under a seat in a space that is 19” D x 11” H x 10.75” W. (Some POCs must be positioned on its side in order to fit underneath out aircraft seats.)
- Approved POCs that will be used during any phase of flight should be stowed completely underneath the seat in front of the Customer using the POC. As a result, most Customers using POCs may not be seated in the first row (bulkhead).
- Pursuant to FAA Safety Regulations, a Customer using a POC may not occupy an emergency exit seat.
- No maximum weight applies to POCs except in the following situations:
1. Any abnormally heavy item that appears to exceed the structural limitations of a designated carryon stowage area must be checked and carried in the cargo hold.
2. POCs that are not being used inflight that are placed in an overhead bin should not exceed the maximum placarded overhead bin weight limits.
Vendors that Rent Some or All of the Above Approved POCs:
- Advanced Aeromedical, Inc. (800) 346-3556. Ask about our Southwest discount and frequent rental program.
- Liberty Medical (800) 375-6060 www.traveloxygen.com. 27 Years of Oxygen Experience. Ask us about our Southwest Customer Discount!
Short-Term Rentals of all FAA-Approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators
- Oxygen travel professionals
- Worldwide ICU Air Ambulance Services
- Immediate dispatch of equipment. Same-day service where available.
- Oxygen To Go (866) 692-0040. Ask about our Southwest discount. Oxygen To Go agents and physicians are available at any time of day, every day of the year.
Note: any Customer who requires a constant supply of compressed or liquid medical oxygen cannot travel on Southwest Airlines.
Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs)
Portable Electronic Devices containing dry cells or dry batteries (including lithium or lithium polymer cells or batteries) are allowed to be transported as long as the battery size requirements are met. Some examples of these devices include but are not limited to watches, calculating machines, cameras, cellular phones, laptop/notebook/tablet computers, camcorders, medical devices, suitcases, strollers, and drones.
- There is no limit to the number of spare lithium-ion (rechargeable) cells or batteries that can be transported if the cells or batteries do not exceed 100 watt-hours. Loose or spare cells or batteries must be protected from short circuit and transported in carryon baggage only.
- If the lithium-ion cells or batteries exceeds 100 watt-hours, only 2 cells or batteries are allowed not exceeding 160 watt-hours each. Cells or batteries that exceed the 160 watt-hour limit are not allowed as checked or carryon baggage.
- Lithium metal (non-rechargeable) batteries are limited to 2 grams of lithium content.
- Passengers are asked to transport these devices in carryon baggage. If size doesn't allow as carryon and must be transported in checked baggage, the device must be designed to prevent unintentional activation or the battery itself must be removed, protected from short-circuit and transported in carryon baggage.
Note: Items designed to operate by creating heat must not be transported in checked baggage and must first be approved by the carrier. For Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigs) or Vaporizers, please see Special Luggage section titled Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigs) or Vaporizers.
Note: For Customers with Disabilities who utilize single or multi-wheeled personal transport devices, please see section titled Customers with Disabilities, and refer to the appropriate battery section based on the battery type.
Any of the items listed below may be checked in substitution of one piece of the free Checked Baggage allowance for each Passenger at no charge on a one-item-for-one-bag basis. If the item of sporting equipment exceeds 50 pounds in weight or 62 inches in size (outside length plus height plus width), excess weight and size charges may apply.
- Archery equipment, including a bow, arrows, and an average size target (large target stands cannot be accepted), so long as the bow and arrows are encased in a container acceptable to Carrier for withstanding normal Baggage handling without sustaining damage to the equipment.
- Baseball/Softball equipment, including one bag generally consisting of four bats, one helmet, one pair of cleats, one uniform, one glove, and one pair of batting gloves. The catcher may have additional equipment.
- Boogie or knee board.
- Bowling bag, including ball(s) and shoes.
- Bicycles (defined as nonmotorized and having a single seat), including Bike Friday and Co-Pilot, properly packed in a hard-sided bicycle box that fall within the dimensions and weight limits established for normal Checked Baggage, (i.e., 62 inches or less in overall dimensions and less than 50 pounds in weight). Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other Baggage. Bicycles packaged in cardboard or soft-sided cases will be transported as conditionally accepted items.
Note: See below for information regarding bicycles that exceed our checked baggage size limits. Additional charges may apply.
- Fishing tackle box and fishing rod, Fishing rods must be encased in a sturdy, cylindrical fishing rod container. This container must be able to withstand normal Checked Baggage handling without sustaining damage to the rod. Oversize charges only apply if the fishing rod container is over 91 inches in length and/or more than three inches in diameter. A fishing tackle box must be a suitable, sturdy, and securely closed container. When substituting a fishing rod and/or fishing tackle box for a free checked bag, Southwest Airlines allows for one fishing rod container and one tackle box to count as one checked item, even if they are packed and tagged separately. This one item can be a substitute for one checked bag.
- Golf bag in hard-sided golf bag carrying case provided by Passenger, including clubs, balls, and shoes. Hooded golf bags or golf bags in a soft-sided carrying case provided by the Passenger will be conditionally accepted.
Note: Overweight charges will apply to golf bags exceeding 50 pounds.
- Hockey and/or lacrosse stick(s) as long as multiple sticks are either taped together or encased in a suitable bag or container. Two hockey sticks and/or lacrosse sticks taped together and one hockey or lacrosse equipment bag generally consisting of pads, helmets, pants, jersey, gloves, and skates. When substituting hockey and/or lacrosse equipment for a free checked bag, Southwest Airlines allows up to two bags (containing hockey sticks and/or lacrosse sticks and one hockey or lacrosse equipment bag) to count as one item, even if they are taped or packed separately.
- Kiteboard keels and fins must be removed and placed in carryon or checked baggage.
- Knives, dress sabers, and swords are allowed in checked baggage only.
- Parachutes are allowed in checked or carryon baggage, but may not be worn in flight.
- Scuba equipment, provided air tanks are empty of compressed air and all accompanying equipment (e.g., BCD, weight belt, one regulator, one tank harness, one tank pressure gauge, one mask, two fins, one snorkel, one knife, and one safety vest) are encased together in a container acceptable to Carrier.
- Skateboard (manual or non-electric), may be substituted for a carryon or a checked bag. If the skateboard fits under the seat, it does not need to be in a bag or covered, but it does have to be stowed with the wheels up so that it doesn't roll. If stowed in an overhead bin, a skateboard must be stowed with the wheels up and needs to be in a bag or have the wheels covered (trash bag is acceptable) so as not to damage other articles.
- Snow ski equipment, including skis or snowboards, ski boots, and ski poles: including one pair of skis or one snowboard, one set of poles, and one pair of ski/snowboard boots encased in a container(s) acceptable to Carrier. When substituting ski equipment for a free bag, Southwest Airlines allows up to two bags (containing one set of snow skis, ski poles, and ski boots) to count as one item, even if they are packed and tagged separately.
Note: Snow ski equipment will not be subject to excess size charges. However, excess weight charges may apply.
- Surfboard Bag containing a surfboard(s) when traveling on flights between the islands of Hawaii can be substituted for one checked bag. Keels and fins must be removed and placed in carryon or checked baggage. If the surfboard bag exceeds 50 pounds in weight, the surfboard bag will be accepted for an overweight baggage fee of $75 per item each way. Length and width restrictions do not apply. May be subject to a limited release of liability as outlined in the Contract of Carriage – Passenger.
- Water ski equipment encased in a container(s) acceptable to Carrier and including no more than one pair of water skis and one life preserver or vest.
Note: Water ski equipment will not be subject to excess size charges. However, excess weight charges may apply.
Sports Equipment - Special Items
The items listed below will be accepted as Checked Baggage for a $75 each way charge.
- Bicycles (defined as nonmotorized and having a single seat) properly packed in a bicycle box or hardsided case larger than 62 inches in total dimensions will be accepted as Checked Baggage. Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other Baggage. Bicycles packaged in cardboard or softsided cases will be transported as conditionally accepted items.
- Javelins in a single bag, regardless of the number of javelins encased together, will be accepted.
- Kayak (other than a sea kayak). Paddle(s) must be secured.
- Life Raft Cartridges associated with a self-inflating life raft must be removed and are not allowed on Southwest.
- Surfboard bag containing a surfboard(s) for any flights other than flights between the islands of Hawaii or that exceeds the weight allowance for flights between the islands of Hawaii. Keels and fins must be removed and placed in carryon or checked baggage. May be subject to a limited release of liability as outlined in the Contract of Carriage – Passenger.
- Vaulting poles will be accepted in a single bag, regardless of the number of poles in the bag.
- Wind surfing board, keel removed and placed in checked baggage to prevent damage to the sail, boom, and other baggage.