Spirit Airlines Baggage Fees & Policies 2023 | Thrifty Traveler

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Spirit Airlines Baggage Fees: A Guide to Bringing Bags on the Low-Cost Carrier

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Understanding which extra charges and fees you'll pay with Spirit (and how much they'll cost you) is the key to getting the most out of Spirit and any ultra-low-cost carrier, as those fees can add up fast. Flying Spirit, the heftiest fees travelers face these days are Spirit Airlines baggage fees … and those fees have gotten even steeper.

In the travel world, Spirit Airlines has a reputation for tight legroom and a la carte pricing in exchange for a cheaper fare. Like all ultra-low-cost carriers, you can come out ahead with a good deal flying Spirit … at least so long as you have a good grasp of the extra fees, which can quickly increase a $12 fare to something far, far more expensive – unless you're willing to pack in just a backpack or personal item that can fit under the seat.

Spirit Airlines baggage fees vary wildly from flight to flight, ranging from $35 each way to as much as $150 or more. And those fees have increased recently: Whether you're stowing a carry-on bag, checking luggage, or bringing a bag that's just one pound over the weight limit, Spirit bag fees are up compared to last year. Meanwhile, Spirit has also drastically reduced the savings on bag fees for travelers who pay up for their Saver$ Club.


spirit baggage fees


We've put together this guide to help you understand what you will pay for your luggage on your next Spirit flight. But because things change quickly, you might want to also check Spirit's fee calculator on their website.

Here's what you should know before you book.


Spirit Airlines Carry-On Baggage Fees

Unlike the major legacy airlines like Alaska, American, and Delta, you don't get a free carry-on bag when you fly Spirit Airlines.

Just as with checking a bag, Spirit Airlines carry-on baggage fees vary flight to flight. In fact, Spirit baggage fees typically cost more for a carry-on bag than to actually check a bigger bag. Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere around $43 each way if you add a carry-on bag at the time of booking.

If you don't pay for a carry-on bag, your boarding pass will show you're not allowed to bring one onboard. Trust us: Don't try to sneak one on.


spirit airlines seats


Personal items like purses or backpacks are different – they don't count as your Spirit Airlines carry-on. A personal item flies free of charge on Spirit flights, but it must be smaller than 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches and fit underneath the seat in front of you.

For your other carry-ons, you will almost always need to pay for each bag, so long as it meets the Spirit Airlines carry-on size requirements.


What Are Spirit Airlines Carry-On Baggage Fees?

How much are Spirit baggage fees for a carry-on? Well, it depends.

Spirit Baggage fees vary slightly based on the route, date of travel, and how you book your flight. Like all bags on Spirit flights, the bag may not exceed 40 pounds and the carry-on must fit in the overhead bin.

The cost of a carry-on bag also depends on when you purchase it – the earlier you buy, the cheaper it will buy. It's always cheapest to add your carry-on bag when you're checking out. After that, the costs increase.

As an example, here are the approximate costs for carry-on bags for a one-way flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). These fees have gone up substantially from just one year ago:

  • During booking at Spirit.com: $59
  • Before online check-in: $61
  • During online check-in: $69
  • At airport check-in: $89
  • At the gate: $99

In most cases, those fees are up $12, $15, or more than just a year ago. And remember: Those are one-way charges. You'll have to double it for a roundtrip flight.


spirit carry-on bag


For years, there was an easy way to save on these carry-on fees: the Spirit Saver$ Club, the airline's $70-a-year membership program that saved travelers $7 (or more) on bag fees among other perks. But that has changed: Now, Saver$ Club members save just $1 per bag.

But if you really fly Spirit a lot, you can bring a carry-on bag onboard for free with Spirit Gold Status – part of the airline's revamped Free Spirit program.


Spirit Airlines Carry-On Size

Spirit baggage fees for a carry-on will usually cost somewhere between $40 and $80, depending on when you book, your date of travel, and where you're going. But that's only true if it meets the strict size requirements.

Spirit carry-ons must not exceed 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches in size – including handles and wheels – and must be able to fit into the overhead bin. Spirit can require you to check your bag at the gate if it's too large, which could be pricey.

The Spirit carry-on bag size policy mirrors that of other major airlines, meaning most regular carry-on bags will likely fit the Spirit size standards.


Spirit Airlines Checked Bag Fees

How much is a checked bag on Spirit? Believe it or not, it's actually cheaper to check your luggage with Spirit Airlines than it is to carry it on in many cases.

But it's important to know when is the best time to pay for your Spirit checked bag so you don't wind up paying too much. Just as with carry-on bags, Spirit Airlines checked bag fees vary depending on when you book them and the size of the bag.

But the weight is critical. Spirit checked bags cannot exceed 40 pounds without garnering added fees. That limit is 10 pounds less than most major U.S. airlines. So make sure you pack smart before you board your flight so you don't get stuck with a hefty additional Spirit checked bag fee.


spirit baggage fees


What are Spirit's Checked Bag Fees?

As long as your Spirit Airlines checked bag fits the size and weight limitations (more on those soon), checked bag fees on Spirit are fairly straightforward. The more bags you need to check, the more each bag will cost.

The final price may vary based on your route by a few bucks – and much like carry-on fees, Spirit seems to have raised these fees in the last year.

Here's an example on a flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL):

First Checked Bag:

  • During booking at Spirit.com: $49
  • Before online check-in: $51
  • During online check-in: $59
  • At airport check-in: $89
  • At the gate: $99

Second Checked Bag:

  • During booking at Spirit.com: $74
  • Before online check-in: $76
  • During online check-in: $84
  • At airport check-in: $99
  • At the gate: not available

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Checked Bags:

  • During booking at Spirit.com: $99
  • Before online check-in: $99
  • During online check-in: $99
  • At airport check-in: $100
  • At the gate: not available

As you can see, the earlier you book your checked bags, the more you can save on Spirit Airlines. Case in point: For your first bag, you'll pay half the cost by buying that bag while you book versus paying at the airport.


Spirit Airlines Overweight Baggage

Here's the most important thing about checking a bag on this budget airline: Spirit Airlines checked bag weights cannot exceed 40 pounds.

That's 10 pounds fewer than the 50-pound standard on almost any other major U.S. airline – though Frontier baggage fees recently matched this weight limit, too. And it's critical to keep these weight limits in mind before heading to the airport, because the overweight baggage fees on Spirit can really add up. In fact, they can more than double your costs.

For instance, if your bag clocks in just 1 pound too heavy at 41 pounds at the check-in counter, you'll be forced to pay $79 fee … on top of what you paid for your checked bag. And that overweight bag fee is up substantially from the $50 charge Spirit levied less than a year ago.

Here are the fees you can expect to pay in addition to your Spirit checked bag fee if your luggage is overweight.

  • 41-50 pounds: $79
  • 51-100 pounds: $125

The only way to avoid these extra fees is by having Spirit status. But weight isn't the only factor to consider when packing up for your Spirit flight.


Spirit Airlines Oversized Baggage

Anything under 62 linear inches means your Spirit Airlines checked bag is fit to fly under regular checked bag fees.

Linear inches are calculated by adding the total length, width, and height of your bag. If it's more than 62 inches, then it's considered oversized baggage and will be subject to a $150 fee on top of your checked bag fee.

And if your Spirit Airlines checked bag is more than 80 linear inches, it won't be accepted, period – unless it's a considered special item.

Get out that tape measure before you head to the airport if you're flying Spirit. You don't want to get stuck with these fees!


Spirit Airlines Checked Sports Equipment

Like many airlines, some popular sports equipment items can be checked as regular baggage with Spirit Airlines.

Two of the most popular items to travel with – golf clubs and skis or snowboards – require just the regular checked bag fees on any Spirit flight.

There are two items that require special fees, however.

To fly with a bicycle on Spirit Airlines, you must pay a $75 fee each way. The same goes for surfboards, a pair of which require $100 each way on your trip.

Some of the more obscure pieces of sporting equipment and other obscure baggage types are outlined on Spirit's website.


How to Save on Spirit Baggage Fees

These extra fees can add up quite fast. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can save on Spirit Airlines baggage prices when you fly.

Some are as simple as checking bags instead of carrying them on and booking your bags immediately as you're booking your flight. Others require a little more creativity – or maybe carrying the right credit card.

Active duty military personnel do not have to worry about Spirit's baggage fees: They all receive a free carry-on and two free checked bags when they show their military ID.


Book Your Bags as Early as You Can

The cheapest bag you can have on Spirit Airlines (besides your personal item) is a checked bag you pay for while booking your flight.

Paying for your checked bag while booking your flight will cost you somewhere around $37. But the longer you wait as your flight draws near, the more you can expect to pay. Here's how the prices increase on a typical Spirit flight for your first piece of checked luggage.

  • During booking at Spirit.com: $37
  • Before online check-in: $47
  • During online check-in: $52
  • At airport check-in: $70
  • At the gate: $76

By paying for your bag right away, you're paying roughly half of what people would pay at the gate.


spirit covid


The same goes for your carry-on bags. Make sure you pay for your carry-on right away, or else that cost will just keep going up, like so:

  • During booking at Spirit.com: $43
  • Before online check-in: $53
  • During online check-in: $58
  • At airport check-in: $71
  • At the gate: $76

With fees regularly in the $70s, you should always try to avoid paying for your Spirit Airlines bags at the airport if you can. And by paying for your bags at booking, you'll make sure you're getting the best rate.


Join Spirit Airlines Saver$ Club

For approximately $70 a year, you can join the Spirit Saver$ Club and shave a few bucks off every time you need to pay for a bag. But those savings don't go nearly as far as they did a year ago.

For years, you could save $7 or more on all baggage fees with a Saver$ Club membership. No more: Now, that subscription saves you just $1 a bag, no matter what kind of bag you're bringing or when you pay.

According to Spirit's website, members also get access to special low fares, discounts on seat selection, and expedited security lanes and boarding at the airport.


Earn Spirit Status

Back when Spirit overhauled its loyalty program in 2021, it also introduced a bonafide status program.

There are two tiers: Spirit Silver and Spirit Gold. Earning either level of status requires spending a good chunk of change on Spirit flights each year or spending on a Spirit-branded credit card. But both status tiers unlock some savings on baggage.

  • Spirit Silver members don't pay overweight baggage fees
  • Spirit Gold flyers can bring a free carry-on bag onboard and get their first checked bag free, too.


free spirit bag benefits


Use Credit Card Travel Credits

Some top travel credit cards come with annual credits that will cover travel expenses when you use your card. Just how they work varies from card to card, but Chase and American Express could help you cover the cost of your baggage fees.

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers each cardholder a $200 airline fee credit that can be used on one domestic U.S. airline of your choice. So, if you plan to fly Spirit a few times this year and want those baggage fees covered, you simply choose Spirit Airlines as your preferred airline, and any fees that show up on your statement from Spirit will be reimbursed up to $200.

Pssst … you could also use that credit to cover the cost of upgrading to the Spirit Big Front Seat.


amex platinum retention offer


Read more on how Amex Airline credits work and how to maximize them this year!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card also offers a credit for travelers, but without any strings attached. No matter what the travel expense, Chase will reimburse Sapphire Reserve cardholders up to $300 on their statements. That's $300 worth of Spirit baggage fees if you want it to be! Just pay for your bag fees on your Reserve card and it should kick in automatically.

Over at Capital One, both Capital One Venture Rewards Card and Capital One Venture X Rewards Card offer a novel feature called Purchase Eraser. That means you could use Capital One Venture Miles to cover travel expenses like Spirit baggage fees.

Just pay for them with your card, then go back and erase the purchase from your statement using miles. Every mile is worth 1 cent, so a $37 checked bag would cost you 3,700 Venture Miles.


capital one venture x card


Bottom Line

Understanding Spirit Airlines' baggage fees are a crucial part of getting value out of your trip on Spirit. The low-cost carrier might be known for charging fees for nearly everything separately, yet many travelers are still caught off guard. Of course, as basic economy fares have spread to nearly every carrier big and small in the U.S., Spirit isn't alone in charging extra for seats and bags.

But with Spirit and other airlines like it, those fees can be the difference between a good deal and a bad one. Do the math about your Spirit Airlines bags and use any and all tools at your disposal to pay the least amount you can before traveling.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

11 Responses

  • My husband and I booked our flight from Ohio to La round trip and at the same time told the representative that We were only checking 1 bag . We were charged $146.00 ( that would equal $73.00 each way) we paid it but now from reading this I believe we were overcharged!

  • Or do yourself a favor and avoid flying Spirit all together. With all the fees you will get screwed and over pay every time. They are the worst airline EVER.

  • This article isn’t quite accurate. Although Spirit does have a 40lb weight limit for checked in luggage, it does allow you to bring 5 luggage and spreads the weight across. For example, 2 luggage total 80lbs. If both of your individual luggage do not exceed 80lbs (say one is 50lbs & the other is 30lbs) – you DO NOT pay overweight fees. I’ve switched to flying Spirit since Aug 2021 and we’ve been very happy.

  • I have to use a walker. Is it a free check in or do I take it with me on the airplane free of charge. Please explain procedure.

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