Spirit Airlines Inc. is a major U.S. airline known for its competitive airfares, operating scheduled flights throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The carrier is headquartered in Miami, Florida. 

If you’ve never flown Spirit but are considering giving them a test run, you may be wondering about how strict Spirit Airlines is about passenger luggage size restrictions for carry-on and personal items. For your questions, I am going to cover as many of them as I can in this article here and offer you links to additional relevant and important information.

If you want to skip the article and grab a bag that will work on Spirit Airlines, check out these two!

This great carry-on bag is for travelers that want to get the best value out of their luggage investment.

This Travel Pro bag could be the last carry-on bag you ever purchase! 

Let’s get into it! 

How Strict is Spirit Airlines With Its Carry-on Luggage Policies?

Just how strict is Spirit Airlines with carry-on item restrictions?

Spirit Airlines is considered among travelers to be very strict regarding its carry-on item policies. Spirit allows passengers one personal item on board (e.g., purse, small backpack, etc.), with the opportunity to pay for additional luggage. If your item is deemed oversized at the gate, you could very well end up paying additional fees, especially if you’re boarding a full flight. 

Spirit, like other carriers, implements its own policies, taking into account Travel Safety Administration (TSA) requirements.  The airline is not nearly as concerned with item weight, as it is with its size. Even though luggage allowances sound minimal, for short trips, it just might be what you’re looking for if you’re really wanting to get away while saving some money.

Personal items typically are stowed underneath each passenger’s seat, though they may also need to go in the overhead bin. 

Related: Can I Use a Small Suitcase as a Personal Item?

Spirit Airlines’ Carry-on Baggage Policy

Including straps, handles, and wheels, your personal item on Spirit flights with its “Bare Fare” (i.e., no additional luggage) are not to exceed: 

18″ L (45 cm) x 14″ W (35 cm) x 8″ H (20 cm), OR 40 total linear inches/101 linear cm.
Personal items larger than these dimensions will likely need to be checked at the gate.

Carry-on items cannot exceed:
22″ L (56 cm) x 18″ W (46 cm) x 10″ H (25 cm),
and need to be able to fit under the seat in front of you, or in the overhead bin, otherwise they will have to be checked.

Items deemed too large for the cabin will be checked at the gate. Carry-on items paid for online when you book your flight will typically cost you $37 USD. If you pay for your checked item during online check-in, the fee will go up to $45 as standard, then to $55 at the airport, and finally to $65 at the gate.

Take some preemptive cautionary steps beforehand and invest in some Spirit-compliant carry-on luggage, so you can travel without worries.

How Can I Measure My Carry-on Bag to Make Sure It Fits on a Spirit Airlines Flight?

To help you verify your baggage conforms with Spirit carry-on size restrictions, the carrier recommends taking note of bag sizers at airport locations that feature its required 18″ x 14″ x 8″ dimensions.

It’s also a good idea to measure your carry-on bag before you leave for the airport, to ensure that your entire bag, along with the wheels and handles, falls within Spirit size requirements.

It’s important to remember that the three dimensional measurements together – length + width + height – cannot add up to more than 40 linear inches/101 linear cm. If you happen to be traveling with a soft-sided or expandable suitcase, you may want to measure your carry-on again after it’s packed, to ensure it still complies. 

Related: How Strict Is Emirates With Carry-On & Personal Item Size?

My Spirit-compliant Luggage Recommendations

Need a recommendation for carry-on luggage I would recommend for flying with Spirit Airlines? I personally swear by the following Spirit-compliant carry-on luggage bags because of the carrier’s strictness with its carry-on size policies. 

This is a great carry-on bag that offers you long-lasting value at a budget-friendly price. 

This Travel Pro bag is a veteran traveler favorite, and you’ll likely never want to buy another carry-on bag! 

Spirit Airlines’ Carry-on Item Allowance

Spirit Airlines passengers are allowed to each bring one personal item on board its flights, with the opportunity to pay for additional luggage.  

If your carry-on bag has been deemed to be in excess of baggage dimension requirements (it should be able to fit in an overhead luggage bin or underneath the seat in front of you), you will likely have to check it for a $65 checked-item fee. 

Bringing Carry-on Liquid Items Onto Spirit Airlines Flights

You are allowed to bring liquid items onboard Spirit flights in accordance with TSA regulations, as long as they make it through TSA security checkpoints. 

Liquid items in question include your toiletries and all other liquids and creams you may want to pack along. The TSA allows containers/bottles with no more than 3.4 fl. oz. / 100 fl. ml.

These liquid toiletries/items also need to be packed neatly into a re-sealable clear Ziploc-style plastic baggie, like these gallon size baggies. Your baggie can’t be any larger than 7.8 x 7.8 inches (20 x 20 centimeters).

You’ll find plenty more information here on our TravelontheFly site about what items you are and aren’t allowed to bring on a plane with you.

You can also verify these requirements on the TSA’s website

How Strict Is Spirit Airlines With Your Carry-on Size?

Spirit Airlines is known among travelers to be quite strict about their personal item/carry-on baggage size/weight policies, but you shouldn’t have to worry about anything, as long as your item(s) fit in the overhead bin above you or underneath the seat in front of you.

To make your flight as smooth as possible I’d suggest complying with the airline’s policies. If you need a new carry-on bag that will fit Spirit’s (and other carriers’) size policies, get this bag and never worry about it again.

How Strict Is Spirit Airlines With Your Carry-on Baggage Weight?

Most airlines, including Spirit, are not concerned with personal/carry-on item weight, but items brought on board should be able to be stowed comfortably in the appropriate spaces. Meeting the size dimensions of your carry-on bags I mentioned above should let you travel without concerns.

Should I Risk Flying on Spirit Airlines With an Oversized Carry-on?

Should you risk trying to get a slightly larger carry-on bag onboard a Spirit Airlines flight? Why risk it? I’d recommend not taking chances unless you’re prepared to pay checked bag fees at your gate. 

Keep in mind that if your bag is only slightly larger than Spirit’s specified size requirements, you’ll likely be OK. Worst-case scenario if your carry-on is deemed oversized, is that you will have to check your bag for $65. If your bag is deemed oversize and/or overweight, additional bag fees each way start at $69 USD and go up to $150.  

PRO TIP – You have a better chance of getting away with a slightly larger piece of luggage if your carry-on is soft-sided. That‘s why I have highlighted and pointed you toward soft-sided bags like this one here. They are a little easier to squeeze into tight spots, including into the overhead bins on a plane!

Spirit Airlines Checked Baggage Fees

Checked bag fees for Spirit flights start at $37, if you pay when you book your flight, and go up to $65 if your item is deemed too large and has to be checked at the gate.  

I travel with a bag that is slightly larger than many airline regulations and I have never been asked to check it. I can’t guarantee that you won’t be asked to.

Your best bet is to travel with baggage that is within Spirit’s size and weight policies, and then you will never have to worry about it!

You can read more about Spirit Airlines’ checked bag policies here, as you’re preparing for a specific upcoming flight.

Where Can I Find a Quality Travel Bag That’s Within Spirit Airlines’ Carry-on Luggage Limits?

I highly recommend this great carry-on bag that is a great value for the money.

And this Travel Pro bag is perfect, even for the most finicky travelers. 

How Strict Is Spirit Airlines With Its “One Personal Item” Policy?

Spirit Airlines, especially because of its competitive airfares, is considered to be one of the stricter airlines in operation today in regard to baggage sizes and weights–especially for full flights. One small personal item is allowed per passenger (e.g., purse, handbag, briefcase, laptop bag, backpack, and medically necessary items).

As long as your personal item can easily be carried and stored underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead luggage bin, Spirit Airlines representatives likely won’t ask to verify its size.

Spirit Airlines’ Personal Item Policy

Your personal item ( e.g., purse, shoulder bag, backpack, diaper bag, etc.) must fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin above. Read more about personal items on Spirit flights here

Carrying Additional Items Onto Spirit Airlines Flights

In addition to your carry-on bag and personal item onboard Spirit flights, you are also allowed to bring small items, such as a jacket/sweatshirt, blanket, umbrella, book, duty-free items, a reasonably sized stuffed animal, food/drink purchased past the security checkpoint, crutches, strollers, camera, etc.

These won’t count as personal items, unless they’re larger things that take up space overhead or underneath a seat, like purses, shoulder bags, backpacks, briefcases, large camera cases, etc.

Is the First Checked Bag Free on Spirit Airlines Flights?

Spirit Airlines checked bag fees start at $37 if you pay online while booking your flight. If you pay for your checked bag(s) while checking in online, the fee goes up to $45, then up to $55 if you pay at the airport, and finally up to $65 if it’s deemed oversized and needs to be checked at the gate. 

Checked bags are allowed a maximum of 62 linear inches (length + width + height; 158 cm)  including straps, handles, and wheels. Weight should not exceed 40 pounds (18 kg).

Items that exceed these measurements or weight limit will be considered oversized/overweight and will incur a charge. Spirit will not accept items weighing more than 100 pounds (45 kg) or that measure more than 80 linear inches (203 cm).

Read more about Spirit Airlines’ checked bag policy here.

So, How Strict is Spirit Airlines About Personal and Carry-on Items?

Spirit passengers are each allowed to take one personal item on board Spirit flights, with the opportunity to pay for additional luggage. Both your personal item and any carry-ons should be able to fit in an overhead luggage bin, or one of them should be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Invest in carry-on baggage that complies with Spirit regulations, like this one.

In case you choose to take this risk with Spirit Airlines by bringing a larger bag, be sure to at least use a soft-sided bag so you’ll be able to better navigate it into a tight space. If your carry-on or personal item is deemed to be “oversized” at your gate, you will ikely be charged a check-in fee of $65.

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