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HOW TO AVOID BAGGAGE FEES FLYING SPIRIT AIRLINES

by Friday, January 15, 2016

If you have ever flown with Spirit Airlines (www.spiritairlines.com), then you already know how no-frills they are. Not only are their seats cramped, they don’t serve you any drinks or snacks for free, not even water, but the biggest complaint by customers, are their outrageous baggage fees. That was why I decided I needed to help my readers with tips on how to avoid baggage fees flying Spirit Airlines.


 

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SPIRIT AIRLINES BAGGAGE FEES (BASIC BREAKDOWN):

  • 1 personal bag (12x14x16)= FREE
  • 1 carry-on bag(10x18x22)= $50.00
  • 1 checked bag (H+W+L= 62 inches)= $45.00

The prices vary, depending on when you purchase the extra baggage, the size of baggage and if you are in their “9 fare club”( $59.95 membership):

  • if you book baggage using “9 fare club” at the time of purchasing flight(carry-on=$25.00 and checked bag=$30.00)
  • if you book baggage at the time of purchasing flight (carry-on bag= $35.00 and checked bag=$30.00)
  • if you book baggage when you do online check-in(carry-on bag= $45.00 and checked bag=$40.00)
  • if you book baggage at the airport ticket counter(carry-on bag= $50.00 and checked bag=$45.00)
  • if you wait until the gate to discover your bag isn’t (12x14x16) be prepared to pay $100.00 per bag!

For the latest details on pricing for optional baggage and special sized items on Spirit Airlines, here is the link to the website with this information: Spirit Airlines baggage fee prices


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If you are going to suffer through this style of travel, you might as well make it worth while and not let the airline trick you with hidden (or unanticipated) tacked on fees. Otherwise, you might as well pay the extra for a fancier airline, because you will end up paying the same in the long run,  if you don’t know the inside scoop and how to avoid these hidden fees.

Being an avid traveler, I know travel isn’t always pretty, especially when you want to travel more, for less. I am a very low-maintenance girl and love stretching my dollar, so I don’t mind sticking with the bare essentials, if it means I get to see more destinations.  Somehow when I changed from a regular traveler (2 weeks per year) to a travel blogger; fashion, makeup, accessories, dressy clothes, hair styling tools, all kind of went out the window.

Also, the type of accommodations that I accepted prior to a life of travel, to now, has drastically decreased. I guess when you look at it as work, as opposed to going all out, for your “big vacation”,  you look at things differently? That doesn’t mean all travel bloggers are like me. Some travel with a tons of beauty accessories, always dolled-up, have lots of bags and only fly business class and stay at 5 star hotels. Many though, learn through experience, ” The simpler, the better.”  So flying Spirit Airlines wasn’t an issue for me until I realized how expensive it could actually be, if you weren’t aware of all of their restrictions and additional costs.


 

In November, I bought a Spirit Airlines flight on a flash-sale because of a ridiculously low fare, from Boston to San Jose, Costa Rica, that was unbeatable.  $150.00 ROUNDTRIP! I have been searching for these flights for a while, planning our upcoming “dental tourism” trip”. This price was more than half off the normal fares I was finding.

(Here is a link to it if you are interested:Dental Tourism in Costa Rica)

That was so cheap and I knew I would never find a fare any lower than that. So, I booked it and felt like I beat the system. Wooo! In order to really get my money’s worth though, I would also have to not pay for extra baggage. This would be very tricky, but not impossible. I would have to bring a carry-on ONLY and not even have a purse or small bag in addition. It’s not allowed. Well, for FREE anyways. Also, take note, their bag allowance is called a “personal item” and is so small (12x14x16), no wonder why people always end up bringing the wrong size and paying up to $100.00 each way for that bag.

No way! That’s not happening to me, or you either, once you finish reading this.


 

Initially,  I was just going to get the smaller sized NorthFace women’s surge backpack, since that’s the brand of my big backpack and I feel like it’s very durable and functional. That would set me back $129.00.  I didn’t really want to, but I’d rather spend the money on something I can keep for future Spirit Airlines trips and I surely didn’t want to hand that money over to them.

 

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women’s NorthFace surge backpack $129.00

My husband pulled up Amazon Prime and we were ready to order. On closer inspection, we discovered that NorthFace backpacks (even the smallest ones) were 2 inches larger than accepted as a “personal item” with Spirit Airlines. Damn it! And, OMG! We almost spent the money for new backpacks (specifically for this trip, flying with Spirit Airlines), and would have found out (at the airport!) that they weren’t allowable and would have to pay the baggage fee on top of that! Yikes!


I’m so glad we were paying attention to this huge detail.  So, we starting looking at all other brands of backpacks. Wouldn’t you know it, none would fit Spirit Airlines criteria. I googled, “what bag to use on Spirit Airlines as a personal item” and other subject lines close to that search. Not to my surprise, so many others had that same question in the search que.

The repetitive and consensus answer was the same from almost every source:  American Tourister- Atmosphera II, which can be bought at your local Wal-Mart store.

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American Tourister Atmosphera II (overnight bag)

The size of this bag is the exact dimensions needed (12x14x16) for a FREE, personal item on Spirit Airlines. Perfect! I went to Wal-Mart to see for myself, I even used measuring tape to be absolutely sure. It was true, so I had to get it. You can too. They sell it at all Wal-Mart stores and online for $39.00.

Here is the link:Walmart.com American Tourister Atmosphera II overnight bag $39.00


 

To be honest, this bag is not the fanciest bag, nor one I would normally be excited to buy, but, and the big but is, it is how to avoid baggage fees flying Spirit Airlines. If you use this bag, and I mean, “This bag ONLY.” 

*YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO PAY ANY BAGGAGE FEES* 

With that said, I also wanted to show you how it IS possible to pack for a one-week trip to Costa Rica, (because that’s where I’m going) just using this American Tourister-Atmosphera II bag.


 

I also made a YouTube video that shares this packing list, that uses the American Tourister Atmosphera II bag ONLY. It takes a lot of will-power (even for a light packer like me) to not want to bring way more things. I will admit that this is the lightest I have ever packed, but if you can do it too, it could save a lot of money.

You could use this money  you saved on more excursions, souvenirs, or a nice meal on your trip, or even use it towards your next trip. Whatever you use it for, at least it isn’t good money being thrown away just to lug stuff around with you.

Here is the video:

 


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What I’m bringing for a one-week trip to Costa Rica, flying on Spirit Airlines, using an allowable FREE bag

PACKING LIST:

  • 2 pens
  • mini notebook
  • passport
  • wallet
  • chapstick/ lipgloss
  • feminine products
  • small flashlight
  • cell phone
  • GoPro
  • camera
  • selfie stick
  • tripod
  • floating GoPro handle
  • phone charger/GoPro and camera chargers
  • GoPro chest mount/ GoPro head mount, GoPro accessories
  • adaptable charger (if needed)
  • disposable wipes
  • deodorant
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • 8 shirts
  • 5 shorts
  • 1 yoga pant
  • 1 elephant casual pants
  • collapsible backpack
  • 1 pair sandals or flip-flops
  • 1 pair water shoes
  • snorkel set
  • 2 bras/ 2 sports bras
  • 7 underwear
  • 3 swimsuits

*if you don’t have a GoPro and all those accessories, you can use that space for 3 oz. sized toiletries and makeup. On Spirit Airline trips, I’ve decided to purchase toiletries at my destination to save space.


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What to wear (layered, comfortable clothing):

  • leggings
  • bra and underwear (or wear a swimsuit as your undergarments)
  • tank top
  • t-shirt
  • sweatshirt
  • light cardigan or sweater
  • socks
  • sneakers or hiking shoes
  • scarf
  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • ear buds

 

I hope these tips helped to show you how to avoid baggage fees flying Spirit Airlines. Trying to get great deals traveling can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. However, the more travel tips people share, from their own experience, the easier, cheaper, and better, travel becomes for everyone!


 

P.S.  Three other tips that could help:

  1. Don’t forget to print your boarding pass and check-in online. If you wait until you get to the airport to get your boarding pass, they charge you $10.00 to print it for you. 
  2. Bring your own snacks or get something at the airport to bring with you on the plane.
  3. Purchase liquids (soda, water, coffee) at gate before boarding. 

 

 

 

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