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I will be flying tomorrow with Southwest, and the day after back to Europe with a different airline.

I am wondering whether Southwest, should my checked-in luggage be delayed (because of them), would send this luggage to Europe?

I know from experience that this would be the case with international airlines but I am not sure how it works for a company serving domestic flights only (or at least no flights to Europe).

Southwest official information is below, but I am not sure how it works in practice for international customers.

How will my baggage get to me if it is delayed?

We will make every effort to quickly recover and return your baggage to you to minimize the inconvenience caused by the delay. In most cases, we will deliver your delayed baggage to the location of your choice. You may also be advised of additional options by the Employees helping you locally, depending on the situation that caused your delay or the intended delivery location.

marked as duplicate by chx, Community May 6 at 4:04

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    @chx Not a duplicate because the OP is on separate tickets here. (And thus most likely out of luck, although they might be able to arrange forwarding as a paid service.) – jpatokal May 3 at 3:08
  • AFAIK they'll deliver delayed luggage to a reasonable distance of any airport they fly to, but they don't fly to Europe. – Michael Hampton May 3 at 3:34
  • @jpatokal the duplicate has this: "There should be no circumstances in which the airline refuses to deliver your baggage to where you are because it's too far to go." And see, this should've been closed already because one wrong answer is already in, upvoted and I expect more to come. Sigh. People who don't read international conventions. – chx May 3 at 4:15
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    @chx: Isn't the Montreal convention applicable only to international flights? In this case, the luggage was delayed on a purely domestic itinerary (unless it so happens that OP was on one of Southwest's few international flights). – Nate Eldredge May 3 at 4:26
  • @NateEldredge: seems so, unfortunately (iata.org/policy/consumer-pax-rights/Documents/…) – WoJ May 3 at 4:31
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Southwest's conditions of carriage say (page 29, which is page 30 of the PDF):

7. Baggage

[...]

i. Limitations of liability

(1) General. The liability, if any, of Carrier for loss of, damage to, or delay in the delivery of Checked or carryon Baggage and/or its contents, with the exception of wheelchairs, mobility aids, and assistive devices used by a Qualified Individual with a Disability, is limited to the proven amount of damage or loss, but in no event shall be greater than $3,500.00 per fare paying Passenger [...]

(3) Baggage Delivery
(i) General. Carrier will pay delayed Checked Baggage delivery charges only so long as such Baggage was tendered to Carrier by the Passenger at least 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of the Passenger’s first flight. If a Passenger’s Baggage is tendered to Carrier less than 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of the Passenger’s first flight, Carrier will make reasonable efforts, but cannot guarantee, to transport such Baggage on the Passenger’s flights, and Carrier will not assume responsibility for delivery charges if such Baggage arrives at the Passenger’s destination on a subsequent flight. See Section 8 for conditions applicable to international travel.

Section 8 is about the Warsaw/Montreal convention and I'm fairly sure it's not relevant here because your travel with Southwest is not international.

My interpretation is that, as long as you check your bag in at least 45 minutes before departure, Southwest will pay up to $3500 to deliver your bag to wherever you are. Shipping a bag anywhere in the world costs much less than $3500, so that limit isn't going to affect you.

  • "Carrier will not assume responsibility for delivery charges if such Baggage arrives at the Passenger’s destination on a subsequent flight" - That to me sounds like they'll get your bag to the destination airport on a later flight and it's up to the traveler to pick it up from there or pay for delivery. – Richard May 3 at 10:14
  • @Richard That's only if the bag was checked less than 45 minutes before departure, and I explicitly say "as long as you [don't do that]." – David Richerby May 3 at 10:16

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