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My parents have another Spirit Airlines flight coming up soon, but this time there will potentially be a major change in their plans compared to their multiple previous low-cost Spirit flights. This time they may need more gear than they can fit in their 16 x 14 x 12 inch free personal carry-ons, such as small backpacks as shown below.
Since on this trip they are planning to ski (for just $25!) in temps that are likely in the 15 – 20 degree range, they may well need to fork over the cash to check or carry-on a larger bag to avoid, you know, freezing. Or, they could wear all their ski gear on the plane…that would make for a funny photo if nothing else.
Is it Cheaper to Buy Your Bag a Seat on Spirit?
While researching the current Spirit Airlines baggage fees and coming up with cheapest way for them to accomplish this goal, I started to wonder if they could just buy their bag a seat instead of paying the $30 – $100 fee that comes with checked or carry-on bags. I have personally flown next to musical instruments and similar that have their own seat on other airlines, so this seems like it should be possible.
I headed to the Spirit’s Contract of Carriage to see what their exact rules are about buying a seat for a bag and it states:
7.2.7. Seat Baggage
An item of baggage may occupy a seat, subject to applicable regulations, provided the customer accompanies the property, the item meets specified dimensions, the item can be properly secured by the seatbelt, reservations are made in advance, and the applicable fare is paid. Items accepted as seat baggage cannot block placards or signs. Animals are NOT accepted as seat baggage.
It looks to me like that is a yes, though I don’t know how common or well received this course of action would be in practice for a regular piece of luggage instead of an instrument or similar. Given how low Spirit flight prices can sometimes be, I am 100% certain there are situations when it would be cheaper to simply buy your bag its own seat as opposed to paying for it as a piece of checked or carry-on luggage. It would also probably make your ride more pleasant than having a person squeezed next to you!
Since my parents are close to departure fares, are higher and this wouldn’t be cheaper for them on this trip, but I would love to know if anyone has gone this route!
Permitted Spirit Free Personal Carry-Ons Getting Smaller
While researching this option I also noticed that effective April 1, 2016, free personal items may not exceed 17 x 13 x 8 inches including handles and wheels instead of the current limits of 16 x 14 x 12.
Essentially this means that overall size limit for permitted free carry-on personal items is shrinking for Spirit in the near future. I don’t know how this will impact things in practice, if at all, but it is worth noting that the rule itself is changing for travel effective April 1, 2016.
What do you do to minimize bag fees when you have to bring more than can easily fit in a small personal carry-on?