Baggage on Spirit: Holy Expensive Carry-on Fees Batman!

Baggage Spirit I previously wrote about traveling on Spirit Airlines and how I thought they were a good deal *if* you were aware of all extra fees and could avoid them or minimize them as much as possible.  I recently went on a quick out-and-back to Baltimore from DFW.  My intent was to take no bags and fit everything we needed for 48 hours in a backpack and duffel bag that I could put under our seats so I wouldn’t have to pay baggage or carry-on fees.  I noticed on our first flight that to purchase a carry-on bag at the gate Spirit now charges $100.  I didn’t get a picture of it since we had some issues getting to the airport and were at the point of running to make sure we made the flight.  :P

I have one duffel bag I’ve used for every flight we’ve taken on Spirit.  It fits their “personal bag” size but it has wheels; a nice bonus when I’m traveling with the kids and I can get one of them to pull the bag through the airport.  I never had a problem with my bags on a Spirit flight but on the way back to Dallas I noticed many people getting pulled aside being told they were going to be charged the $100 carry-on fee for having a duffel bag with wheels.  Every single person wanted to talk to a supervisor before paying the $100.  When my son and I went through, sure enough, they told me one of our personal bags counted as a “carry-on” because it had wheels.  Never mind I already saw a guy with a much bigger duffel bag get on without a problem only because his bag didn’t have wheels. Baggage Spirit

I see most people are losing their fight with the Spirit employee who came down to charge everyone their bag fees.  I had already run to the closest gift shop to see if they had any bags for sale I could stuff our things into and dump our other bag but no luck.  I’m texting my husband who’s on the same wavelength as me and tells me that if they insist I pay the $100 I should try to fit everything into the backpack and leave anything that would be cheaper to replace than pay a $100 bag fee.

Baggage Spirit When it’s my turn I tell the employee I have used this bag on every Spirit flight I’ve been on (out of three different airports) and have never had to pay a carry-on fee.  She asks if it will fit in the “personal” bag measuring device.  I tell her yes and promptly put the bag in there.  She says okay and tells the gate agent to let me through.  I think I was the only one who won that battle since everyone else either had real carry-ons, or their duffel bags stuck up 6 – 12 inches beyond the maximum size for a personal bag and they couldn’t stuff them down to fit because of the wheels.

An interesting thing to note, it seemed out of all these people pulled aside, I was the only one aware of the bag charges for Spirit Airlines.  At the very least everyone else feigned ignorance.  I wondered how anyone could really not know about the bag fees since Spirit puts it all over their website, tells you when you’re buying your tickets, sends you E-mails asking to purchase bags the week before your fight and asks you again one last time when you check-in online and print your boarding passes and tells you that you will be charged more if you wait to purchase them at the airport or at the gate.  The best thing I can come up with is 1) they were pretending not to know so they wouldn’t get charged or 2) these people bought their tickets from a third party (cheaptickets, priceline, or similar) and was not properly informed of the bag fees when buying their tickets through these third party sites.Baggage Spirit

If someone has bought Spirit through these sites and didn’t have a problem with that, let me know, but that’s the only thing I can come up with why so many people seemed completely unaware of the bag fees on Spirit (or they were merely pretending not to know).

I have at least one more flight on Spirit Airlines that I’ve already bought tickets for to a friend’s wedding in New York this spring (ah-hem).  Lesson learned, on that flight I will take personal bags without wheels so I can guarantee I can smush them into their “personal bag measuring device” so (hopefully) I will not have the fear of a $100 carry-on fee again.

Why do you charge so much for baggage Spirit?!

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discuss this post

  • B-Rad

    Seems like the perfect bag if it does indeed fit inside the personal-bag-measurer-thing AND has wheels. Which bag is it exactly? May want to look into getting myself one.

  • shannan

    I know not everyone sews, but I made my own fits under the seat duffle/backpack for my spirit travels…and it is cute, not just your standard looking luggage. It is however rectangular box shaped which allows me to pack more but looks odd as a backpack when people are used to more trim looking backpacks…but I don’t care cause it is free!

  • K.May

    Shannan,
    Did you make your bag from a pattern? If so which one?

    Thanks!

  • Brian

    Question: If you didn’t book a flight using Bare Fare, do you have to pay for a carry on?

    • Yup, you still have to pay carry-on fees. It’s $35 if you pay for it before you check-in online, $45 if you pay at online check-in, $50 if you pay at the desk agent (before going through security) and $100 if you pay at the gate agent. If you’re a $9 fare club member it’s $26 if you do it online before you check-in to your flight instead of $35 and it’s $36 instead of $45 during online check-in. It’s actually $5 less to check a bag than to have a carry-on with the exception if you get to the gate and have to check it. That’s still $100 no matter what. But if you pay for it online or even with the agent at the ticket counter it’ll be cheaper to check your bag than to bring a carry-on. Here’s the link on Spirit that shows the breakdown of bag prices:

      http://www.spirit.com/optionalservices

  • Glenn Morazan

    I have likely the same bag and without heels is a Adidas and wondering if its gonna cost me something? Because really looks close to yours but i’m not sure if they are going to let me with that bag?

    • If it doesn’t have wheels you have a better case since you can more likely make it fit into their sizer for carry-on bags.

  • shauna

    I have a couple of questions about luggage on spirit….we are flying from Atlanta to cancun, with a stop in Miami . will I have to pay for bags in Atlanta and Miami? also at the en do four trip will I need to find a way to pay online before the flight back or can I pay all luggage fees upfront

    • If you bought it as one ticket from Spirit that included the stop then it should be just one baggage fee even though you have two legs of your trip. You can pay all the luggage fees upfront if you want to. If you have more than one bag you plan on checking; I would purchase each bag under a different person so you only have to pay the “first checked bag” fee which is cheaper than checking a second bag under the same person. Also make sure your bags weigh 40 lbs or less or you’ll have to pay the overweight luggage fee as well. Hope this helps!

  • Regarding the personal bag sizer, is it like a box you must fit your bag in? I have a bag with wheels, so it’s pretty rigid, and measures about 16 3/4″, I’m wondering your opinion if there is any grace room they will allow?

    • It is a box you need to fit your bag in. Per Spirit’s website the measurements may not exceed “16 inches by 14 inches by 12 inches (40 cm x 35 cm x 30 cm)”.

      It really depends on where you’re flying in and out of. I’ve been in places where they are constantly monitoring the line and pulling people out whose personal items look too big, and other times they don’t seem to be paying THAT much attention. This is where they make their money (the $100 carry-on fees for unsuspecting people). That’s why after this incident I stuck with backpacks I knew I could smush to fit their sizer if I was ever called out. To-date they have never questioned our backpacks for our “personal items”.

  • jrhone

    We got our tickets to a third party travel site. We didn’t buy the tickets through spirit website that means we have to pay for our carry on bags?

    • You will have to pay for traditional carry-on bags no matter where/how you bought your tickets. If you just have a personal item (back pack, small duffle bag, etc.) you will not have to pay for that.

      You can still get the cheaper bag rate through Spirit’s website. You will need to go to the “manage travel” tab on the main page and input your six digit/letter confirmation number. You will also need to create an account on Spirit’s website. Creating the account isn’t that bad. They just require your name, birth date, a valid E-mail address and a password. Once you do that you can go into manage travel and pay for your bags under “change/add bags”. Make sure to do it for both your flight out and your return flight. Good luck!

  • jrhone

    Thanks Tiff! Spirit should pay you for answering all of our questions or hire you.

    • Lol, thanks! If anyone at Spirit knows about me I’m sure it’s a love/hate relationship. I answer people’s questions, but I also tell them how to avoid Spirit’s fees. ;)

  • jrhone

    You are right! Lol! One more question we actually traveling tomorrow we have two kids with us my 3 year old and my 1 and we are actually bringing two strollers do I have to pay for the strollers as a carry on bag?

    • No worries, you won’t have any trouble gate-checking that. Going through security you’ll probably have to carry your younger child through the airport scanner and fold up the stroller to go through the X-ray machine.

  • jrhone

    Thanks alot!

  • susan romano

    i will be using the free bag on this flight and was wondering about personal items that are liquid [perfume hair spray makeup etc]

    • It’s the same as the normal TSA carry-on rules. One quart-size bag, liquids, gels, pastes, can’t be bigger than 3 oz, yada, yada, yada. I have to admit that when I’m traveling with the kids I tend to put some of my extra “necessities” in their bags, since they don’t need more than toothpaste and shampoo. =)

 
 

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