Spirit Airlines: How to pack

My bag for my Spirit Airlines flight

It’s almost Memorial Day, y’all! You know what that means: three-day weekends are prime travel times. I’m spending this one in New Orleans. So I’ll be joining the thousands of people flocking to the airports Friday night to deal with the U.S. domestic flight nightmare. Even better, I’m flying Spirit Airlines.


Spirit Airlines is one of the U.S.’s fastest-growing budget carriers. Their bare-bones fares are super-cheap. But after you book your ticket, they nickel-and-dime you every step of the way to your destination. One of the most annoying ways they do this is by charging a whopping $30-$50 for carry-on luggage beyond one “personal item.”


What this means is you have to pack very carefully for a Spirit Airlines flight. After all, you don’t want to get to the airport and find out your bag doesn’t fit in the “personal item” bin — at that point, the price goes up to $100!

Here are my top tips on packing for a Spirit Airlines flight.


Step one: Choose your bag carefully


Spirit doesn’t just dictate how big your personal item can be. They also dictate the type of bag you can use.


First off, if you have anything with wheels, they’ll make you pay for it — no matter how small it is.


Second, your bag has to fit under the seat in front of you. Their dimensions are 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches. And they are strict about them.


What this amounts to is a messenger bag, large purse, or school-sized backpack.

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Step two: Wear your bulky stuff on the plane


If you need a winter coat at either end of your trip, or if you just want to bring a sweater in case it’s chilly, wear it on the plane. If you’re bringing a combination of shorts and long pants, wear the pants on the plane. You could even layer a few things to make sure you have even more clothes.


You’re also allowed to have reading material for the plane — so you might just get away with it if your book doesn’t easily fit in your bag. Even better, bring magazines — they’re lighter and less bulky.


Step three: Narrow it down to one pair of shoes


These are the shoes I want to take to New Orleans
These are the shoes I want to take to New Orleans


Think about it: Do you really need sandals and hiking boots? If you really need proper shoes, could you find somewhere to buy $2 flip flops at your destination? Shoes take up tons of space in your bag and, if you have multiple pairs, you’re not likely to wear your backups that often anyway.


These are the shoes I can actually take to New Orleans
These are the shoes I can actually take to New Orleans


I once flew out of Baltimore on a 15-degree January night wearing sandals. It wasn’t fun, but it was worth the $50 savings.



Step four: Get out everything you want to bring, then put half of it back


This is a good general packing rule no matter how much luggage you’re “allowed” to take. But it’s even more important on Spirit Airlines flights. You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t really need.


Step five: Roll your clothes


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It saves tons of space — especially if you’re bringing dresses, ladies.


Rolled clothes
Rolled clothes


And that’s it!


Now, you should be able to fit everything you need for your Memorial Day (or other long weekend) holiday in a Spirit Airlines-approved “personal item.”


Happy travels, y’all!


Have other Spirit Airlines packing tips? Leave them in the comments!


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