Spirit Airlines carry-on and checked baggage policies

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One of the biggest draws to flying with a low cost, no-frills airline like Spirit is how much you can save on base airfare. While you’ll have to sacrifice legroom, free seat selection and complimentary in-flight snacks when flying with Spirit, their unbeatable fares leave many travelers thinking it’s too good to be true. Like most great deals, there’s a catch to flying budget airlines: expensive carry-on and checked baggage fees. Check out Spirit Airlines baggage policies here to make sure you’re still getting the best deal on those cheap fares.

(Photo by Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock)

Carry-on bags with Spirit Airlines

When flying with Spirit Airlines, you’ll get one personal item included with your ticket, but you’ll have to pay for everything else you bring with you. Personal items are things like backpacks and purses, and the dimensions can’t be bigger than 18” x 14” x 8”, including any wheels and handles. 

A carry-on bag is any bag bigger than a personal item but smaller than 22” x 18” 10”, including handles and wheels. You will need to pay for carry-on bags, and the price increases the closer it gets to your flight. 

If you add a carry-on bag during your booking, it will cost $35-$40. Adding a carry-on during online check-in will cost you $45-$50. Waiting to add a carry-on until you’re at the airport will cost anywhere from $50-$75 depending on your bag’s destination, size and weight. If you’re a part of Spirit’s $9 fare club, these prices will decrease, but a carry-on is never totally free with Spirit. 

Checked bags with Spirit Airlines

Your checked bag at Spirit can be a maximum size of 62 inches (including handles and wheels) and a maximum weight of 40lbs. Anything larger than that will cost you an oversized/overweight charge, and Spirit will never accept bags over 100lbs. Checked bags work the same way as carry-ons, meaning that it’ll cost more the closer you book to your flight and being a member of the $9 fare club will get you lower prices. All travelers are allowed a maximum of five checked bags:

  • Your first checked bag on Spirit will cost you $37 during booking, $47 during check-in and $50-$65 at the airport
  • Your second checked bag on Spirit will cost you $45 during booking, $55 during check-in and $60 at the airport
  • Your third through fifth checked bags on Spirit will cost you $85 during booking, $95 during check-in and $100 at the airport

Bags that are 63”-80” will cost an additional $100 and anything over 80” will cost an additional $150. Bags 41-50 pounds are an additional $30, 51-70 pounds are an additional $55 and 71-100 are an additional $100.

Bags that are 63”-80” will cost an additional $100, and anything over 80” will cost an additional $150. Bags 41-50 pounds are an additional $30, 51-70 pounds are an additional $55, and 71-100 are an additional $100.

How to avoid baggage fees with Spirit Airlines

The most important thing you can do to avoid extensive baggage fees with Spirit Airlines is to reserve your carry-on and checked bags when you’re booking your flight. By booking your bags with your ticket, you’re guaranteed to get the lowest prices Spirit has to offer non-members. The longer you wait, the more the baggage fees will go up, and your super-low fare will become not-so-low anymore. 

If you’re a frequent flyer of Spirit Airlines, another way to avoid the expensive baggage fees is by joining the $9 fare club, Spirit’s version of a rewards program. The club costs $59.95 to join, then is automatically renewed each year for $69.95. While baggage fees don’t completely disappear for club members, they decrease significantly, which would be worthwhile if you fly regularly. Plus, members get access to even lower ticket prices for Spirit flights, which could also save you money in the long run. 

Lastly, don’t forget about cards that offer airline fee credits. Those can be used to offset the cost of carry-on and checked baggage fees!

(Photo by Have a nice day Photo/Shutterstock)

FAQ: Spirit Airlines baggage policies

Does a backpack count as a personal item on Spirit?

Yes! As long as your backpack is smaller than 18” x 14” x 8” (including wheels and handles), it counts as a personal item and will be free to bring on board. 

What size bag is free on Spirit Airlines?

Personal items (like purses and backpacks) smaller than 18” x 14” x 8” are free on Spirit Airlines. 

What are Spirit Airlines’ military baggage fees?

Spirit Airlines provides two free checked bags and one free carry-on to all active-duty military members. Active duty military can verify their status at the airport or directly on the Spirit website using ID.ME. The policy does not apply to friends and family. 

Bottom line

While Spirit Airlines offers some dirt-cheap airfare prices, if you’re not careful, they’ll make-up for your ticket’s low price by hitting you with extra baggage fees. Don’t set yourself up for a surprise at the check-in counter. Do your research on Spirit airlines baggage policies, pack light, avoid the fees and get yourself the deal you deserve! 

Alexandra Maloney is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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