Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

How Is Checked Luggage Measured at the Check-In Counter?

New Arrival

I have never had to worry about paying for checked luggage, however my family is growing and I need a larger checked bag.  I want to purchase one with manufacturer specs of exactly 62" (LxWxH) which is the Southwest limit for free luggage.  My question is how is my bag measured at the checkin counter?  Randomly by an employee with a tape measure?  Does that mean I can never expect the same measurement, and will then often be surprised by a $75 charge?  Is there some leeway if it's really close?


Re: How Is Checked Luggage Measured at the Check-In Counter?

Top Contributor

Strictly my opinion here, but based on my experience as a traveler if you show up with an actual suitcase that you purchased and not a box or other container you are using as a suitcase, the size of your suitcase will not be questioned. Airlines know suitcase manufacturers build to a certain size. Weight will always be checked so be mindful of that, and yes, there is often some leeway for an extra pound, but some agents are strict about it while others are not.



Re: How Is Checked Luggage Measured at the Check-In Counter?

Top Contributor

Concur, I've never seen them actually measure a suitcase. 


Although maybe they didn't have to argue if someone had one of those "month of stuff" international suitcases, no one would argue, you are going to the airport expecting to pay. 


I also think you'll be fine and second the recommendation to watch the weight. I've been bounced a few times for a pound over, but usually there is something that you can carry on instead, or if you have multiple bags shift things around.


Pro-tip: if you think it might be an issue, get the heavy one weighed first. You don't want to send off your light bag and then find out you have a heavy one with no place to shift a pair a shoes or something.



Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: How Is Checked Luggage Measured at the Check-In Counter?

Top Contributor

It's been a long time since I checked a bag, so I don't know for sure, but in the distant past airlines

 put sticky tape on one of the walls of the scale thus providing a silhouette of a suitcase.. The tape approximated the maximum size allowed, and I guess assumed a standard width for the third of the three measures. If the bag was obviously too big, it got noticed.



Southwest doesn't nickel and dime you. Thus I suspect that if your bag is an inch too big, you'll be fine.