How Strict is Spirit Airlines With Personal Items?

Every passenger of Spirit Airlines is permitted to take a personal item (backpack, briefcase, handbag, laptop bag) along with them on the plane.  

Spirit Airlines is extremely strict with personal items. They have stringent luggage rules and they enforce them diligently. You’re entitled to carry one personal item on board but the item mustn’t exceed 18 x 14 x 18 inches, the size of most Spirit under-seat dimensions.

If your personal item exceeds the aforementioned dimensions, it’s no longer considered a personal item. 

Since it is then regarded as a carry-on or checked bag, you will have to pay charges that apply to an extra carry-on or checked bag.

In a nutshell, you can carry any personal item as long as it fits underneath the Spirit seat in front of you.   

Why Is Spirit Airlines Comparatively Stricter Than Other Airlines With Their Luggage Rules?

Spirit Airlines primarily operates as a low-cost airline and as such, doesn’t make profits from its low-priced tickets. 

Instead, they aim to earn their profits from additional charges such as oversized and overweight fees.

Essentially, they’ve established a business model that allows them to attract passengers with a cheap flight and then profit off inflated prices for amenities and additional charges.

Since they solely rely on such profits, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re strict with their luggage rules.

Hence, when flying with Spirit, you need to pay careful attention to their rules and regulations, particularly personal item dimensions.

Is Spirit Strict With Carry-Ons Too?

Unfortunately, Spirit is rather strict with carry-ons too because of the reasons stated above.

Though you’re allowed to carry as heavy of a carry-on as possible due to the airline’s no weight limit policy, your carry-on must not exceed 22 x 18 x 10 inches.

When measuring your carry-on, you must also keep in mind to include the dimensions of your wheels and handles; reliable online reports indicate that the airline even charges for an extra inch of wheels.

So, all parts of your carry-on, including the wheels, must fit in their sizer or mock container.

As you can tell, they are quite rigid and inflexible with their luggage rules.

Most importantly, unlike other airlines, Spirit actually charges you for a carry-on. 

Now, this can be a deal-breaker to most passengers, but as I said before, Spirit’s low airfares really tip the scale in their favor.

If you know that you’ll be needing a carry-on, it’s always more cost-effective to buy it right when you book your Spirit flight.

What About Checked Bags?

As far as checked bags are concerned, you’re allowed to take a bag that doesn’t exceed 62 inches (158 cm) in total dimensions, including handles and wheels. 

The weight mustn’t exceed 40 pounds (18.1 kg) either.

If your bag exceeds the aforementioned dimensions and the weight limit, it will be considered oversized/overweight and subjected to a corresponding charge.

Another thing to consider is the fact that Spirit doesn’t accept bags that measure more than 80 inches (203 cm) in total dimensions and weigh more than a hundred pounds (45 kg), even if you’re willing to pay extra.

Are You Allowed to Carry Anything Else Besides Your Personal Item for Free?

Thankfully, in addition to your personal item, you can also take items such as a coat, jacket, diaper bag, assistive devices (crutches/walking canes), medications, food, or snacks wrapped up or in a container, and breast pumps with no additional charge.  

Can You Take Liquids With You in Your Carry-On?

Yes, you’re allowed to take liquids, gels, pastes, and aerosols with you in your carry-on.

However, like in the case with all other airlines in the US, liquids must only be kept inside containers less than 3.4 oz or 100 ml. 

Plus, the liquid containers must be placed in a see-through, quart-sized bag. The liquid regulations also indicate that a person is only allowed to carry one quart-sized bag per trip.

And, as far as dangerous items such as aerosols are concerned, you’re only allowed to take aerosol toiletries such as hairspray or mousse.

Aerosol products such as paints, car cosmetics, varnishes, cleaning agents, and air fresheners are strictly prohibited on Spirit flights due to safety reasons.

Should You Risk Bringing a Slightly Oversized Personal Item With You?

If you truly can’t help bringing a slightly oversized personal item, I’d advise you to take a soft-sided bag as it can be padded down to fit inside the sizer.

If you have a slightly oversized hard-shell or suitcase, I’d advise you against taking them as it’s highly likely you’ll be found out.

How Can You Make the Most of Your Personal Item Space?

If you wish to make the most of your personal item space, I’d recommend you to wear any type of clothing with deep pockets. 

That way, you can keep some of your essentials inside your pockets and have plenty of room to spare in your personal item space.


Spirit Airlines primarily relies on catching oversized luggage to generate profits. As a result, they’re extremely strict with their luggage (bag limit) rules.

With that in mind, I believe that you should never take your chances with an oversized carry-on or personal item when flying with Spirit Airlines.   

Carry a compliant bag to avoid any inconvenience or last-minute surprises. Remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.