Can You Bring a Backpack on a Spirit Airlines Flight? 

 June 9, 2023

By  Chloe Farro

Spirit Airlines is the leading American carrier that offers ultra low cost destination flights headquartered in Miramar, Florida in the Miami metropolitan area. They operate scheduled flights throughout the United States, Caribbean and Latin America. Passengers flying with Spirit are allowed to bring one personal item for free. However, carry-on and checked baggage are charged depending on the route.

Passengers can bring any backpack of their choice. However, fees would depend on the overall dimensions and weight of the baggage. If it falls under the personal item category then it would be free of charge. But, when considered as a carry-on or checked baggage, additional charges may apply.

Flying and traveling grants anyone the luxury of relaxation and peace of mind. However, tables could turn in split seconds whenever unexpected events come into play which includes out of the blue airport scenarios. Incidents such as baggage complaints by several passengers. Here, I will give you the entire list of Spirit airlines’ baggage policies and limitations.

What Size of Backpack Can I Take on Spirit Airlines?

Home of the Bare Fare - Spirit airlines say, as they are the leading ultra low cost carrier in the country. Claims to offer the cheapest price of destination tickets thus declaring the tagline “Less Money. More Go”. The nation couldn’t agree more as they continually provide great service to millions of people allowing them to fly more often by paying less. A specific agenda that garnered a great deal of positive reviews and customer satisfaction.

Like any other airline carrier, Spirit also launched distinct policies and restrictions when it comes to different luggage categories. Below is the list indicating the size and weight baggage restrictions per category. Here, you will know what category your current backpack belongs to. It will grant you the answers to these two questions: “What size of backpack can I take on Spirit airlines?” and “Is my backpack free of charge?” as additional baggage charges will depend per category.

Personal Item Category

According to their criteria, a personal item must be within and does not exceed the 40 linear inches or 18” height x 14” width x 8” depth dimension restrictions without weight limitations. The measurement includes the hanging and tangling parts of the bag such as the handles, straps and wheels.

Any backpack with the same or smaller size than the exact dimensions mentioned above will belong into the personal item category. Good news because if that is the case then you won’t need to bring your wallet out or grab some money from your pocket as per Spirit policy, personal items are free of charge.

According to Spirit, items such as a briefcase, purse, laptop bag, small backpack, jacket, umbrella, diaper bag, duty free items, and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, strollers, child restraint seats and such fall under the personal item category.

A personal item must fit under the seat in front of you. However, since bulkhead seats do not have under seat storage then, any baggage must be stowed in the overhead bin during both take-off and landing.

If you opt to cross the gates peacefully and avoid prolonged monitoring and checking then better follow their policy. If by any chance, you are still uncertain and doubtful, which is understandable as policies differ from one airline to another, I recommend that you visit their website or call them directly for more information.

Carry-on Baggage Category

Spirit permits a carry-on baggage with a maximum dimensions of 50 linear inches or 22” height x 18” width x 10” depth. The measurements include the sticking out parts of the baggage such as the handles, straps and wheels. Any baggage that fits the carry-on criteria will be charged according to your destination.

If by any chance, your backpack exceeds the overall dimension under the personal item category then it will automatically be considered as a carry-on. Thus, you are obliged to pay for the carry-on baggage allowance.

Carry-ons must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. For this baggage category, similar to the personal item category, there are no certain weight limitations mentioned on their official site. But, don’t hang and be stuck on this matter, for less confusion, it is advisable to call and talk to them directly.

However, take in mind that Spirit will charge additional fees for carry-on bags if it cannot be safely and securely stowed inside the storage bins previously mentioned.

Checked Baggage Category

As per Spirit policy, checked baggage must not exceed the maximum measurement limit of 62 linear inches or 157 centimeter. Similar to the two categories mentioned above, bag parts such as the handles, straps and wheels are included in the dimensions. The airline granted a maximum weight of 40 pounds or 18.1 kilograms per item for this particular category.

Could My Backpack Be Categorized As Checked Baggage?

It may be hard to believe but the answer is definitely yes, a backpack can fall under this category. If your backpack exceeds the carry-on baggage dimensions then it would already be considered as such. Or, even if the backpack has the exact or smaller linear dimensions but the overall weight falls under the given criteria for this category, then it would still be considered as a checked baggage. Examples of backpacks that can fall under this category are hiking backpacks and camping bags.

For any type of bag that belongs under this category, may it be a backpack or suitcase, additional charges may apply.

Checked baggage that exceeds the given linear dimensions and weight will automatically be considered as oversized or overweight. Such bags will be subjected to corresponding charges.

Unfortunately, Spirit would not accept bags that weigh more than 100 pounds or 45 kilograms with an overall dimensions of 80 linear inches or 203 centimeters.

The airline advises passengers to take advantage of their online baggage calculator available on their website for free. It is not an actual calculator where you can place the bags on top of it to check the dimensions and actual weight of the bag. Rather, it is a list indicating the corresponding fees for overweight and oversized baggage.

How to Pack a Backpack for Spirit Airlines

If you’re planning to go on a short duration trip, a vacation for instance, then opt to travel lightly by only packing for what is essential and important to avoid paying for additional luggage fees.

Also, you can make use of this particular trick: don’t pack any bulky clothes and items. It will give more room for other major belongings that require a bag for protection. You can wear some of your heavy and bulky clothes as you enter the gates. You’re lucky if it has pockets as you can also make use of these spaces where you can stuff, insert and carry other small items.

Once they are done checking you and your bags, whenever you pass through the gates, you can already place those items inside your bag. A simple yet strategic and useful tip for future Spirit passengers.

If you are one of the numerous passengers who travels to hike or camp in different parts of the world, then the tips mentioned above won’t apply at all as items used for these kinds of activities are bulky and heavy. If that’s the case then you don’t have a choice but to pay for additional baggage charges.

Backpack Suggestions and Considerations

As a future Spirit passenger, finding a backpack with the same exact dimensions as per policy may be difficult for anyone. Below are some backpack suggestions that you can directly purchase on Amazon to avoid Spirit airlines’ bag fees. The given examples of backpacks fall under the personal item category. If you plan to purchase one of these items then, it would be free of charge.

Baggage Restrictions for Different Destinations

Spirit established a list containing several baggage restrictions for different destinations. It must be well known especially for first time passengers who choose to fly with Spirit to avoid future complications on the day of your flight. Check out the full list available at the official Spirit website. However, let me give you a brief overview of the list.

If you are planning to travel to South Africa, particularly to Colombia, Ecuador and to the largest city of Peru named as Lima, the restrictions will apply all year long. However, additional restrictions may come to light from December 1st through January 10th.

Here’s the list of the restrictions for Colombia and Ecuador:

  • Each guest can bring only one checked baggage
  • Slots for additional checked baggage may be purchased however the first-come first-serve basis will apply. So, if you plan to bring extra baggage, call and talk with them directly before making any decision to keep away from any burden.

Here’s the list of the restrictions for Lima, Peru:

  • Each guest can bring only one paid checked baggage. If by any chance, you plan to bring additional checked baggage, slots may be purchased however it would depend on their inventory. Better call them first before bringing any unannounced baggage to avoid any hassle on your part.
  • Overweight items must not exceed 100 pounds or 45 kilograms. Any baggage surpassing the weight limit will be subjected to additional charges starting at 41 pound or 18 kilograms.
  • Oversized items must not exceed 80 linear inches or 203 centimeters. Any baggage surpassing the overall dimensions will be subjected to additional charges starting at 63 linear inches or 158 centimeters.
  • Items such as sporting equipment may exceed the 80 linear inches overall dimension restrictions. However, it should not weigh more than 100 pound or 45 kilograms as separate charges may apply.
  • For December 1st through January 10th, items that exceed the overall dimensions of 80 linear inches will not be accepted.

All international destination flights also have certain limitations that demand passengers to conform with. The following restrictions will only apply during December 1st through January 10th. Here’s the list:

  • Each guest can bring only one checked item. Similar to the restrictions given to passengers travelling to Colombia and Ecuador, slots for additional checked items may be purchased following the first-come first-serve basis.
  • Restrictions for overweight and oversized items are also similar to the restrictions given for passengers travelling to Lima, Peru.

Given that, whenever you opt to fly to these regions, then you already have an idea of what you bring and not. If you fail to follow these restrictions but you still hope to book a flight with them, then you can search for remedies and other options to solve your baggage problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Backpack Be a Personal Item on Spirit?

A backpack can fall under the personal item category if and only if it has exactly the same or smaller dimensions than the given parameters. If your backpack measures 18” height x 14” width x 8” depth dimension restrictions or smaller then it would be considered as a personal item.

Does a Backpack Count as a Carry-on on Spirit?

If your backpack falls under the carry-on dimension criteria, then it could be counted as a carry-on. It can be smaller or exactly 22” height x 18” width x 10” depth in size. Given that, as carry-on baggage comes with a baggage allowance, then as a Spirit passenger, you will be obliged to pay for these charges so you don’t have to sacrifice your things inside the bag or the whole backpack itself.

Will Spirit Charge Me for a Backpack?

The answer for this question is yes. As previously mentioned, baggage charges may differ per Spirit baggage category. If your backpack falls under the personal item category then it would be free of charge. If you think your backpack could be considered as a carry-on or checked baggage then you must prepare your allowance since the airline will charge you for any baggage that belongs to these two categories.

Can I Bring Both Carry-on and Personal Items on a Spirit Flight?

Spirit airlines permits their passengers to bring a carry-on and one personal item. Carry-ons are subjected to applicable fees while one personal item is free of charge. As long as it fits the airlines’ baggage policies and restrictions, then you can pass through the gates easily and smoothly.

Do Spirit Airlines Require Baggage Fees?

Spirit requires any passenger to pay for baggage allowance. Fees would depend on the overall dimensions and weight of the bag. If it falls under the personal item criteria then it is free of charge. However, for carry-ons and checked bags, fees would increase the closer you get to take-off. A pro tip from loyal Spirit clients is to pre-purchase your desired baggage allowance during the initial booking.

Can I get a Spirit Airline Discount?

Spirit airlines adds an additional $2 to baggage fees during holiday travel seasons. But, if you are a member of the airlines’ $9 Fare Club then you are entitled to a $9 discount on baggage fees.

Moreover, Spirit improved their Free Spirit Loyalty program in 2021. A program where passengers can join without spending any penny. Anyone who opts to join this free loyalty program can earn points every time you book a flight with them. The points earned will give any passenger several perks such as accelerated points earning, longer points expiration and seat and baggage benefits. 

If your extended family and friends almost always travel with Spirit and are also a member of the program, you are granted with a special power - the ability to pool points with them. A strategy that can encourage more passengers to purchase a ticket and book a destination flight with the airline.

Redeem the Free Spirit points you garnered on award flights or with selected Spirit partner products and services.

What Items are Spirit Prohibited?

Certain items that are considered by the federal law as hazardous are not allowed for any Spirit flight. Items such as aerosol insecticides or any alcoholic beverages are few of the TSA prohibited items. You can spot the full list at the official website of the Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration.

However, take in mind that as Spirit follows certain government policies, they also have their own restriction guidelines that any passenger must adhere to. Detailed information can be spotted at their official website under the Contract of Carriage section.

How Strict Is Spirit Airlines’ Baggage Policies?

With the promise of ultra low cost plane ticket prices, Spirit airlines doesn’t make a lot of money from their fares. In fact, 50% of their revenue comes from the additional charges that they require their passengers to pay, one of which is the baggage allowance. 

As they are not getting much from their flights, what they could do to gain back what was lost is to strictly implement their different policies when it comes to additional charges. So, when it comes to the overall dimensions and weight of baggage, Spirit is a bit sneaky with their pricing and is very strict about this matter. They need to be as this is how they make more money and stay in the business.

Fly High with Spirit Airlines

Every passenger desires to have smooth and hassle-free airport transactions. One way to achieve this is to simply follow certain policies established by the airline of your choice. Baggage requirements are one of aspects that requires keen and constant attention.

Spirit Airlines established their own list of policies, from several ticketing options to baggage requirements and restrictions. If you are one of the millions of people who plans to travel with them, then it would be better to check their website or call them directly. They can grant you every information you need to know and this will help you get the whole picture of your future flight with them.

See you soon future Spirit passengers. Enjoy your journey and have a trip!

About the author

Chloe is the newest writer to join the team. Her favorite bags are Herschel and Jansport. "I can’t choose between these two"

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