Spirit Airlines Baggage Fees: Avoid Hidden Fees and Save Money

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Spirit Airlines Baggage Fees

Spirit Airlines is a budget carrier that provides passengers with the bare necessities for getting from point A to point B. Passengers should be most careful with these airlines because they charge a ton of fees for extras such as carry-on luggage and snacks. We've organized this comprehensive guide on Spirit's baggage policy so you can maximize savings and know what to expect.

Carry-on fees for Spirit

All Spirit passengers may bring one personal item on flights at no extra charge. These may include small backpacks, laptop bags or purses. The maximum size is 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches. If your personal item exceeds these dimensions, you will need to pay additional fees to bring it along.

The following items don't count toward the carry-on allowance:
  • Assist pet carrier
  • Camera
  • Necessary prosthetic devices (for example, crutches and canes)
  • Guest assistive devices and service animals
  • Food to eat on the plane
  • Infant bag
  • Infant or child car seats when a child is carried in the seat
  • One duty-free container holding duty-free items
  • Outer garments such as coats, hats and wraps
  • Reading material on flight
  • Stroller when a child is carried in it
  • Umbrella

If you would like to bring a full-sized carry-on bag onto the flight with you, you will need to pay for it separately. Your carry-on can measure up to 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches and must fit in the overhead bin. The fee for bringing along a full-size carry-on bag varies depending on the route, how soon you pay for the carry-on and promotions like the $9 Fare Club™. All baggage fees tend to increase the later you purchase, so you'll save money if you book your bags at the same time you book your flight.

Spirit checked baggage fees

There are no checked bags included with tickets when it comes to Spirit Airlines. Instead, you will need to pay a separate fee that varies depending on the route, the number of checked bags, and any rewards or loyalty programs.

The table below includes prices for carry-on and checked bags for different routes and circumstances to give you a sense of what to expect, as determined by Spirit's baggage fee calculator.

spirit ny cartagena route
Values were found on June 20, 2019, using a departure date of June 28, 2019

When using Spirit's baggage fee calculator for different routes, you'll see prices for various points of the booking and boarding process. Baggage prices increase the longer you wait to purchase them, so you should try to purchase your necessary baggage allowances as close to booking as possible.

The $9 Fare Club™ prices, which are discounted, are listed in the highlighted columns. You can join the club by paying a fee of $59.95 for the first year and an annual renewal fee of $69.95 thereafter. Through this club, individuals receive discounted rates on baggage as shown on the table. If you're wondering whether joining the club is worth it, check out our overview of Spirit's loyalty and rewards programs.

spirit ny guatemala route
Values were found on June 20, 2019, using a departure date of June 28, 2019

Notice that the flights from New York City to Cartagena, Colombia, and Guatemala City, Guatemala, are both international flights, but they have different baggage prices. It's helpful to use the baggage fee calculator to check the prices for your specific route and flight, because of situations like these.

spirit ny san juan
Values were found on June 20, 2019, using a departure date of June 28, 2019

The above prices for New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, seem to be fairly consistent across all domestic flights between states and U.S. territories. But there may be exceptions, so use the calculator when you're not sure for the most accurate information.

spirit ny chicago route
Values were found on June 20, 2019, using a departure date of June 28, 2019

Domestic flights from one state to another are consistent among flight prices. Using the calculator, we struggled to find a route between two states where the prices differed by much. You should still use the calculator to determine actual prices, but the table above can serve as a good baseline estimate.

Spirit Airlines discounted baggage

Although the Spirit Airlines World MasterCard® Credit Card provides a variety of airline benefits to cardholders, reduced baggage fees are not included. Individuals will need to pay the full amount for baggage fees, regardless of whether they have the card. Being a Free Spirit™ rewards member — Somebody, Elite or VIP level — also doesn't necessarily mean you'll save on baggage; you're only guaranteed exclusive flight deals.

Spirit airlines fare club

The only way to save on baggage fees is through the $9 Fare Club, as evident from the baggage fee tables above. You save $9 on every baggage charge. However, the benefits of the $9 Fare Club are only worth it if you frequently board Spirit Airlines or fly in group reservations, as you can maximize value in these scenarios. Otherwise, the fees associated with the club are greater than the prices of some Spirit flights and ultimately not worth the investment. Read our overview of Spirit's rewards programs to find out more.

Spirit's excess baggage fees

Spirit, like all other airlines, charges if your baggage doesn't meet its weight, size and quantity regulations. Your bags can weigh up to 40 lbs and measure up to 62 total linear inches. When calculating over-the-limit baggage fees, Spirit keeps the extra charges constant across all routes, both international and domestic. These fees are applied on top of the base rate of the baggage.

Overweight or oversized baggage fees
  • 41–50 lbs (18–23 kg): $30 per bag
  • 51–70 lbs (23–32 kg): $55 per bag
  • 71–100 lbs (32–45 kg): $100 per bag
  • 63–80 linear inches (158–203 cm): $100 per bag
  • Special items over 80 linear inches (203 cm): $150 per bag

There are a few key differences between domestic and international flights when it comes to checked baggage. For domestic flights, you can have a maximum of five checked bags depending on the amount of available space, and the maximum overweight limit is 100 lbs. For international flights, Spirit allows one checked item per person, and additional checked items can be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, the maximum overweight limit for international flights is 70 lbs instead of 100 lbs.

Spirit Airlines: Delayed, damaged or lost baggage help

The last thing anyone wants is for their baggage to be delayed, damaged or lost, but this can happen to anyone. Spirit has a comprehensive policy to help passengers resolve an array of baggage issues.

The first step is to immediately file a report, which initiates a search for the mishandled piece(s). If a bag or item is delayed, lost, damaged or pilfered, you must notify a Spirit representative within four hours of flight arrival. Spirit will handle the rest by locating and returning your baggage as quickly as possible.

After you file a delayed baggage report — which can be done in the baggage claim area or with a guest service agent — Spirit will try to locate and deliver your delayed baggage within 24 hours of flight arrival. If your items are located, they will be returned as soon as possible. If the fault lies with Spirit, the airline will pay for the delivery expenses. If the fault lies with the guest, such as a late check-in or change in destination after check-in, then Spirit will deliver the belongings at the guest's expense.

Spirit's Luggage Resolution Department can be reached from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at 1-877-888-5926, extension 7004. (This phone number has been copied from Spirit's contract of carriage and is accurate as of June 20, 2019.)

If your baggage has not been located and returned within five days of your flight arrival, you should file a claim with the Luggage Resolution Department. You will need to complete a customer property form, which is separate from the delayed baggage report you should have initially filed at the airport. After completing the form, the department will try to help you retrieve your missing baggage.

Spirit Airlines animal policy

Spirit passengers are allowed to bring accompanying, service, emotional support or psychiatric service animals with them in the cabin. However, the passenger then assumes complete responsibility for any loss, damage, delay, expense or legal liability related to the transportation of the animal.

Conditions for pet transportation
  • The animal must be harmless and inoffensive, requiring no attention.
  • The container can measure up to 18 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches.
  • The combined weight of the pet and carrier cannot exceed 40 pounds.
  • You can carry one pet carrier with up to two pets inside.
  • There is a service charge for each pet carrier and counts toward carry-on allowance.

On domestic flights, Spirit allows for domesticated dogs, cats, and in some cases rabbits and small household birds (e.g., parrots, finches, canaries and parakeets) to be in the cabin for an extra charge. Passengers are responsible for making sure the pet abides by the specific regulations of their destination, including valid health certificates if needed.

Passengers cannot bring pets on international flights unless the pet is a service, emotional support or psychiatric service animal. In this case, the passenger may bring the animal as long as it's permitted by the international destination and its regulations.

Frequently asked questions about Spirit Airlines' Bag Fees

Spirit allows passengers to bring a personal item to the cabin free of charge. This item can measure up to 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches, and it should fit under the seat in front of you. If you want to bring a full-sized carry-on, it will cost extra.

The price varies depending on route, quantity, timing before departure, promotion and rewards programs. The best way to estimate your baggage costs is by using Spirit's baggage fee calculator.

Checked bags are not included with normal ticket purchases, so you will need to pay a separate fee to check a bag on Spirit. This fee varies on route, loyalty status and other promotions; the lowest fee available without any promotions is $32.

The earlier you buy your bags, the less they will cost. If you're purchasing bags more than 24 hours before departure, you can add bags on Spirit's website at the "My Trips" tab. If you're purchasing bags fewer than 24 hours before departure, go to the "Online Check-in" tab instead and purchase bags there; this will cost more than had you purchased the bags earlier. You can also add bags at the airport, but this will be the most expensive option since the process requires an agent and slows down check-in.

Final thoughts on Spirit's baggage policy

Spirit Airlines has one of the simplest baggage policies available. The fares are consistent across a number of destinations, often only varying by a couple of dollars between domestic and international travel. However, Spirit does not give any complimentary services. You'll pay for many of the features you may take for granted at other commercial airlines, so it's important to understand the various fees before you reach the airport.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.

Yowana is a former product analyst at ValuePenguin, specializing in credit cards, rewards programs and travel. He previously covered mortgages, banking and insurance for the website. Yowana graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science.

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