Spirit Airlines Baggage Fees: How to Avoid Bag Fees [2024]

Baggage fees on Spirit Airlines can drive up the cost of what might otherwise be a cheap flight. Here’s how to avoid or reduce the extra expense.

Woman putting her bag in the overhead compartment on an airplane
Updated May 21, 2024
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Spirit Airlines is a low-cost carrier that provides affordable prices. However, as a budget airline, it charges additional fees for practically everything else, including baggage. If you're considering taking a flight with Spirit Airlines, you should be aware of how much the costs for your luggage will be and how to avoid or minimize them. Let's go over Spirit Airlines' baggage policy, how much it costs to check or carry on a bag, and a few money-saving strategies.

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In this article

How much does Spirit charge for baggage?

The fee you’ll pay for your baggage on Spirit Airlines depends on several factors, such as the size and weight of your bags, when and how you pay for them, and your membership status. Here’s a breakdown of the baggage fees for different scenarios on a sample flight from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston:

During booking Before online check-in During online check-in at Spirit.com At the airport, before the gate At the gate
Personal item

(Max size 18 x 14 x 8 inches)

$0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Carry-on bag

(Max size 22 x 18 x 10 inches)

$58 $59 to $60 $61 to $68 $69 to $89 $99
First checked bag

(Max size 62 linear inches, max weight 40 pounds)

$53 $54 to $55 $56 to $63 $64 to $89 $99
Second checked bag

(Max size 62 linear inches, max weight 40 pounds)

$73 $74 to $75 $76 to $83 $84 to $99 N/A
Third to fifth checked bag

(Max size 62 linear inches, max weight 40 pounds)

$98 $99 to $98 $99 to $98 $99 to $100 N/A
Overweight bag

(41 to 50 pounds)

$79 $79 $79 $79 N/A
Overweight bag

(51 to 100 pounds)

$125 $125 $125 $125 N/A
Oversized bag

(63-80 linear inches)

$150 $150 $150 $150 N/A
Oversized bag

(Over 80 linear inches)

$150 $150 $150 $150 N/A

What is Spirit Airlines' baggage policy?

Spirit Airlines policy for carry-ons

Spirit Airlines baggage allowance provides you with one personal item on flights for free. That item, including handles and wheels, can't exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches. Your personal item can be a small backpack, laptop bag, or purse.

You can also bring a carry-on bag for a fee, so long as it doesn’t exceed 22 x 18 x 10 inches, including handles and wheels. The fee you pay for Spirit Airlines carry-on baggage will depend on when you pay it (paying for baggage during booking will save you the most), but you can expect to pay between $58 and $99. Members of the Spirit Saver$ Club get reduced prices unless the fee is paid at the gate. You can use the Spirit Bag-O-Tron to calculate the exact price for your flight.

Unlike most other carriers, you don't get a free carry-on bag with Spirit Airlines. You can bring a free personal item.

Maximum allowed
Personal item 18 x 14 x 8 inches
Carry-on 22 x 18 x 10 inches

If you’re traveling with young children, you can check one car seat and one stroller per child for free. You can also bring a car seat on board, but only if you’ve purchased a seat for your child.

Generally, Spirit follows TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) guidelines with regard to prohibited items, which means you won’t be able to carry on liquids greater than 3.4 ounces or any cutting instruments, among other restrictions.

Spirit Airlines policy for checked bags

Spirit guarantees that each guest will be able to check one bag, but if space permits, you may be able to bring up to five bags. The cost per bag will depend on whether you purchase your baggage during booking, before or during check-in, or at the airport. Prices also vary slightly, depending on where you’re traveling. You can expect to pay between $59 and $99 for your first checked bag; prices go up for subsequent bags.

Your checked bag can weigh no more than 40 pounds and can’t exceed 62 linear inches total (length + width + height). Overweight bags will incur an extra overweight baggage fee of $79 to $125. While oversized bags will incur an oversized baggage fee of $150. Spirit won’t allow any bags that are heavier than 100 pounds or greater than 80 linear inches total.

Maximum allowed
Checked bag 62 linear inches (length + width + height)
Overweight bag 100 pounds
Oversized bag 80 linear inches (length + width + height)

For some international flights, there are other restrictions as well. Spirit also charges fees for checking items like musical instruments and sporting equipment such as surfboards, so if you need to check those items, be sure to budget accordingly. Snowboards, skis, and golf clubs are the only sports equipment items that follow the standard checked baggage rates.

How to reduce or avoid bag fees on Spirit Airlines

Don’t panic if you can’t fit everything you need for your trip in one bag. There are some ways to reduce or eliminate the cost of baggage on Spirit Airlines, and if you plan ahead, you’ll be able to keep the total cost of your trip at a minimum.

1. Only pack a personal item

You can take one personal item that fits underneath the seat in front of you for free. I’ve taken trips up to a week long with nothing but a backpack on a Spirit flight, so I can confirm it’s possible.

You’ll need to be strategic about how you pack, but this is the easiest way to avoid paying any additional fees.

2. Pay for baggage during booking

If you know you’ll need a bit more space for all your vacation gear, it’s best to pay for a checked bag at the time of booking. That’s because you’ll save about $30 when compared to checking your bag at the gate.

If you forget to pay for your baggage when you book, you can also make your purchase before or during check-in, which still provides some savings.

3. Join the Spirit Saver$ Club

Spirit Saver$ Club members get access to exclusive low prices and up to 50% off on bags when compared to standard airport fees. What’s more, your membership covers everyone in your booking.

It costs $69.95 for your first year, but Spirit notes you may be able to offset the price in just one booking. 

The Spirit Saver$ Club replaced the $9 Fare Club. 

4. Bring your military documentation

Spirit Airlines offers one free carry-on and two free checked bags for all active-duty military members. To get the discount, you’ll either need to arrive early to the airport with your military ID or validate your affiliation online during booking with a third-party verification service.

5. Use a travel credit card

If you're looking for the best travel credit cards, a number of cards offer impressive travel rewards, which can help cover the cost of your bag fees on almost any airline.  

For example, several American Express cards provide an annual airline fee credit that could cover Spirit baggage fees. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a $300 annual travel credit, which could also be used to cover baggage fees.

If you frequently travel on Spirit, the Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard® might be the best airline credit card option, which earns double miles and offers a decent sign-up bonus. Putting everyday purchases on this card could help you pay for your next trip if you regularly fly on Spirit.

If you don't travel frequently, using a no-annual-fee cashback card could help you earn some money back when paying baggage fees.

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Frequently asked questions about Spirit baggage

How many bags does Spirit allow for military?

In addition to a free personal item, Spirit allows one free carry-on luggage item and two free checked bags for active-duty U.S. military members. If space allows, any passenger can bring up to five checked bags, but only the first two are free for military members. The policy does not extend to family members of military members.

Does Spirit offer free baggage for military?

Yes! Spirit offers one free carry-on and two free checked bags for active duty U.S. military members. Travelers should arrive early enough to check their bags at the counter and show their military identification. Or, they can validate their affiliation online before arriving at the airport by using a third-party verification service.

What size bag can you carry on Spirit Airlines for free? Can you bring a backpack on Spirit for free?

Spirit allows you to bring one personal item that fits under the seat in front of you, meaning that it cannot exceed 18” x 14” x 8”. You can bring a small backpack for free as long as it is not larger than that. Larger backpacks or other carry-on bags cost extra.

How much is a checked bag on Spirit?

The fee for checked bags on Spirit Airlines depends on when you pay, your route, and your Saver$ Club membership. Your first checked bag fee during booking might be around $50 to $60.

You can also add bags to your reservation online at the “My Trips” or “Online Check-in” tabs, depending on how early you buy them. In these cases, your first checked bag fee might be around $55 to $65.

Keep in mind that your checked bag with Spirit should have a maximum weight of 40 pounds and a maximum size of 62 linear inches (length + width + height). Otherwise, you may be charged higher fees.

How much does Spirit charge for baggage?

You can bring one personal item free on Spirit, but additional carry-ons and checked baggage are extra in order for Spirit to keep fares low. The price depends on when you pay for your baggage. If you pay during booking, a standard carry-on will set you back $59 to $68, depending on your route. Paying at the gate costs $99.

Your first checked bag will cost $54 to $64 if you pay during booking and up to $99 if you pay at the gate. The earlier you pay for your baggage, the better rate you’ll get.

Excess baggage fees are even higher. Your second checked bag can run anywhere from $64 to $74, depending on when you book, and your 3rd-5th checked bag will cost about $99 each. Overweight baggage and oversize baggage charges also apply.

Keep in mind that you can save money on baggage costs by joining the Spirit Saver$ Club, which costs $69.95 for the first year. You can save up to 50% on baggage fees when compared to paying at the airport, in addition to airfare savings opportunities.

How much does Spirit charge for bags over 40 pounds?

Baggage weight limits and corresponding fees for Spirit Airlines are as follows:

  • 41-50 pounds: $59
  • 51-100 pounds: $99

If you're going to be paying baggage fees like these, you might find the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card comes in mighty handy with its $300 annual travel credit.

Can you add baggage after booking on Spirit?

Yes, you can add baggage, but you’ll pay more than you would during booking. Carry-ons cost $61 to $71 after booking, but before or during online check-in. You’ll pay about $79 if you pay at the airport reservation desk and prices increase to $99 if you wait until you get to the gate.

Your first checked bag can be added for $54 to $64 before or during online check-in, $79 at the reservation desk, and $99 at the gate. Note that additional checked bags will cost more and you will not be able to check more than your first bag at the gate.

Does Spirit refund baggage fees?

No. All fees on Spirit Airlines are non-refundable.

Spirit Airlines baggage policy: bottom line

You should never have to pay an exorbitant price just to lug around your necessities — but if you’re not careful, Spirit Airlines’ baggage fees can end up being some of the most costly. Whether you pack light, use a rewards credit card, or take advantage of membership discounts, we’re confident you’ll find a way to keep your costs low.

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Lindsay Frankel

Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in credit cards, travel, budgeting/saving, and shopping. She has been featured in several finance publications, including LendingTree. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, playing music, or cuddling with her rescue pup.