Southwest International Holiday Baggage Embargo

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If you’re flying Southwest during the holidays, you need to be aware of the Southwest international holiday baggage embargo.  Apparently, people are bringing too many large, bulky, and heavy bags with them to Southwest’s Caribbean and Central America destinations.  All of these extra bags are causing some bags to get left behind due to size and weight limits of the 737’s that Southwest flies.

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Southwest International Holiday Baggage Embargo

If you’re flying to the following airports, keep in mind the Southwest international holiday baggage embargo:

  • Belize City, Belize (BZE)
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ)
  • Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
  • Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)
  • San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)

The holiday baggage embargo is in effect from November 18, 2017, through January 8, 2018, for all Customers traveling to these locations.  Passengers will be notified of the baggage embargo in their preflight email.

For details of the specific Southwest international holiday baggage embargo at each airport, go this Southwest website of airports and click for details of that specific airport.

Southwest international holiday baggage embargo 2017

For example, at Belize City, Belize, the Southwest international holiday baggage embargo means that:

Passengers traveling to Belize City (BZE) will be limited to two checked bags with a maximum size of 62 inches (length + width + height) each. Boxes of any size will not be accepted. Service items such as wheelchairs and strollers will be accepted.

Each airport will have different restrictions based on passenger volume and capacity, so be sure to check out your airport this holiday season.

Southwest International Holiday Baggage Embargo. baggage-claim-luggage-band-64390_1920
That sinking feeling when you realize you made it, but your bag didn’t!

The Bald Thoughts

Southwest is really generous with its 2 free checked bags for every passenger policy.  It seems that people are taking advantage of this policy leading to the Southwest international holiday baggage embargo.  For most of us, the policy shouldn’t cause too much concern since our bags are usually well within limitations.  However, you should still check the Southwest website to verify that you’re not affected.

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  1. Thanks for putting out a warning! Luckily the only upcoming travel we’re doing is by car.

    I agree with you about Southwest having a generous policy. We mostly fly American and it costs $25 a piece at the airport. They did away with paying in advance online (at a slight discount, too). I asked why at the airport and was told people were taking advantage by using the online system for over-sized bags.

    • We try to avoid checking bags whenever possible. Don’t want to pay fees, wait at baggage claim, or risk our bags not making the journey. Checked bag fees are such a huge profit source for airlines, which is one reason I keep the credit card of airlines I fly regularly so those fees can be waived.

  2. This is still going on in 2018. Wish I would have known about this when we booked in June of 2018 for a December flight. Southwest is now telling us we can’t bring our golf clubs on a golf trip! There suggestion was to rent clubs! Funny, but they won’t give me the $500 plus dollars to do this! We will never fly Southwest again! They just ruined a $5000 annual golf trip!

  3. Booked on Southwest on the phone and asked multiple reps about the limitations they know I was going to San Jose Costa Rica I told him exactly how large my Capewoods work and what I was bringing and I asked them to voice record me to that extent making sure I did everything correctly still went to the airport no one told me on the phone to separate times that there was any kind of embargo I spoke to the stewardess they’re dating have no idea no one knew what Southwest if you didn’t book online you really had to look into Southwest website the find anything about embargo unfortunately so I had to leave all my kiteboarding apparel at And island Macauthur airport I was pretty much go f

  4. I suspect you may be incorrect as to the reason for the embargo. I would contend that the embargo is a move by Southwest to maximize profit, it being much more profitable to sell the cargo hold space to commercial retailers importing holiday items than it is to sell 50 lbs of luggage that maximally would occupy 3.81 cubic feet for $75. After learning of the embargo I contacted Southwest cargo and asked for a quote to ship my 2 additional pieces of luggage. Neither piece was oversize nor over weight; the quote I was given was $420. I then attempted to ship my “extra” bags to San Jose, Costa Rica by commercial carriage i.e. FedEx, DHL, & UPS, the counter agent blinked twice before turning to me saying “I’ve never seen a charge this high in my nine years as an agent”. The charge by all three carriers was quoted at $1,000 dollars.


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