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Old Jul 24, 10, 10:20 pm   #1
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Break out the large backpack for Spirit travel!

So I'm beginning to contemplate the "luggage situation" for my next Spirit flight, which is next month (August) -- the start of their infamous "we're charging for standard carry-ons" policy.

What hasn't gotten much focus is the fact that you're still allowed to bring a pretty large size "square-ish" bag for free: max dimensions 16" by 14" by 12".

It's a somewhat weird size: kind of like a large box. You're not likely to find much standard luggage that fits these dimensions.

But after getting out the tape measure and rummaging through my bags, I've concluded that the large backpack is the solution for the Spirit rules.

We actually dug one of these out for a recent trip on Ryanair which -- prior to the Spirit announcement -- had the stingiest carry-on limits. The backpack we used was actually a little small for Ryanair, but is PERFECT (when stuffed) for the Spirit rules.

FWIW, my wife was able to get about 6 days worth of clothing and toiletries into her 16 x 14 x 12 backpack last time. So it's certainly doable, if you're used to travelling light.

BTW, as a $9 Fare Club member (which you have to be to get Spirit's dirt-cheap fares), you're allowed to check your first 2 bags for $15 each domestically. And you'd get a large 62" bag for that. Pretty reasonable. Carry-ons are $20 for members. But I don't feel like checking bags unless I absolutely have to, and I don't want to pay the $20 for carry-ons. So I'm going to become a Spirit backpacker! I'm sure I won't be alone.
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Old Jul 29, 10, 11:45 am   #2
 
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iahphx.. My next flight with Spirit is not until November when I go to Atlantic City for three days, but I have been anxiously awaiting the particulars of how the airline is going to enforce this. I know Spirit will have sizers at the gates, but beyond that, things are somewhat murky. Such as, if the plane is not completely full, are you allowed to put your personal item in the overhead bins to free up space for your feet, as an example.

Like you, I made an effort to find a luggage piece that was the personal item size, and there is virtually nothing because it is such an odd size. I actually will be trying a 1960s era tiny luggage piece! LOL If this shoebox doesn't doesn't work well enough for me, I will try the backpack route myself.

I am just waiting for Scottevest to dish out a coupon for one of their regular coats, instead of the shirts and cargo pants. I need a new coat anyway; might as well double as my carryon bag!

I am looking forward to hearing the "first reports" of the policy's implementation, starting on Sunday the 1st.
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Old Jul 29, 10, 11:00 pm   #3
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Originally Posted by frugal_flyer View Post
I am looking forward to hearing the "first reports" of the policy's implementation, starting on Sunday the 1st.
It may take awhile here, as most flyertalkers seem to avoid Spirit like the plague.

I actually don't think they'll be measuring too hard, but I could be wrong.
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Old Jul 30, 10, 1:54 pm   #4
 
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New 2-in-1 baggage sizers have been set up at check-in, and at the gate, to ensure consistency across the system.

Zone 1 boarding is reserved for those who have paid for carry-on space, so as long as space is available, you can place your personal item in the overhead.
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Old Aug 16, 10, 12:35 am   #5
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Anyone fly yet under the new luggage rules?

I've got a Spirit flight this week and will carry a large backpack. I doubt anyone will make me squeeze it into a sizer, but I'll make sure it "fits" if necessary.
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Old Aug 29, 10, 7:39 pm   #6
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I took 2 Spirit flights this month under the new luggage rules. I did see a sizer at the ticket counter and by the gate, but I didn't see any actual enforcement of the new luggage rules. Certainly no "gestapo" like enforcement as sometimes happens on the European low cost airlines. In fact, I kind of wondered what would have happened if I had a rollerboard with me and didn't pay the fee (I just used a large backpack).

Perhaps it was just luck, but my 2 Spirit flights in August were better than my 2 in July. One flight was exactly on time; the other 25 minutes late. As might be expected, there's now TONS of overhead luggage space. And boarding and deplaning is a little faster (no doubt helping the airline's on-time performance) because it takes people less time to stow and retrieve their luggage.

As I've previously mentioned, you can cram A LOT of stuff into a 12x14x16 backpack. I still find it very inconvenient, perhaps because I'm used to "living out of a suitcase" and not used to "living out of a backpack." But if the price is a small fraction of other airlines, I'll live with the inconvenience.

And I still maintain that the worst part of the "Spirit experience" is the complete lack of legroom. If they made legroom more reasonable, I could actually recommend Spirit -- assuming their on-time performance continues to improve.
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Old Aug 30, 10, 5:16 pm   #7
 
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They were definately enforcing the carry-on rule on my flights. If one didn't have a zone 1 boarding pass and had over sized carry-on's they were pulling them out. They announced it a dozen times before boarding.

We also had people who didn't buy the big front seats who squatted in them! I truly appreciated the patience displayed by the FA's! They have a really hard job!

I really appreciated the overall professionalism of everyone involved.
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Old Aug 30, 10, 7:11 pm   #8
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They were definately enforcing the carry-on rule on my flights. If one didn't have a zone 1 boarding pass and had over sized carry-on's they were pulling them out. They announced it a dozen times before boarding.

We also had people who didn't buy the big front seats who squatted in them! I truly appreciated the patience displayed by the FA's! They have a really hard job!

I really appreciated the overall professionalism of everyone involved.
Wow, even in FLL, no apparent effort was made on my flight to enforce any carry-on rules. I guess it's a YMMV kind of thing.

I've wondered about the Big Front Seat thing. On all 4 Spirit flights I've taken, the f/a's tried to sell the empty big seats for upgrades after everyone had boarded. On at least one flight, the price seemed negotiable! I presume the f/a's are given a list of which seats have actually been sold, so that squatters are routinely kicked out? Otherwise, I personally wouldn't mind a little extra free legroom . . . .
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Old Sep 11, 10, 4:12 pm   #9
 
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For someone that is 6' tall, will the legroom be very tight? Or, would cramped at 2 hours be tolerable?

The route I'm looking into is ACY-MYR-ORD (seasonal until October) and next year: ACY-ORD flights.

Do these seats usually fill up or is it that there is likely to be an empty seat for every occupied seat? Right now Spirit has $36 fares (comes to $130 round trip after taxes), but even just 2-3 days in advance.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 7:22 pm   #10
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For someone that is 6' tall, will the legroom be very tight? Or, would cramped at 2 hours be tolerable?

The route I'm looking into is ACY-MYR-ORD (seasonal until October) and next year: ACY-ORD flights.

Do these seats usually fill up or is it that there is likely to be an empty seat for every occupied seat? Right now Spirit has $36 fares (comes to $130 round trip after taxes), but even just 2-3 days in advance.
I'm about 6' tall and it's very cramped. This is on their traditional aircraft -- I haven't yet flown on a plane with their new seats (the ones that don't recline).

Frankly, it's uncomfortable -- the worst thing about the airline. You essentially can't sit with your legs completely forward at 6', so taller men tend to spread their legs apart to be more comfortable. Obviously, this works best if the middle seat is empty. What your odds are of having that seat free are hard to estimate and, because, Spirit assigns seats randomly (if you don't pay for an assigned seat), it's hard to game. Of course, if there are empty seats on the plane when the door closes, you can just move (I've done this).

But if the fare is $36 and everyone else is well over $100, I personally will sacrifice a little comfort to save the money. I doubt Spirit sells many seats to biz travellers who have other people paying for their seats, though! And I do wonder how I'd do on one of their longer flights, like FLL-LAX nonstop.
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Old Sep 12, 10, 1:34 am   #11
 
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Anyone else discover the trick to not be in the $9 fare club and still get the $10 discount on the bag fees? I booked 4 pax today (3 different reservations), and thus was able to save $80 in total!
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Old Sep 21, 10, 9:43 am   #12
 
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So i have never flown Spirit and about to fly them for the first time next friday Oct 1st to Bogota for really cheap. I have a back pack which would fit everything i need without having to really fill it up. But it is 24 x 10 x 7, its the Osprey Talon 33. Link below:

http://www.ospreypacks.com/detail.ph...specifications

Appreciate if anyone can give me suggestions on what they would do? I am planning on just packing it, and carrying it as a free carry on.
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Old Sep 21, 10, 8:16 pm   #13
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Originally Posted by WrLdTrvLnIndian View Post
So i have never flown Spirit and about to fly them for the first time next friday Oct 1st to Bogota for really cheap. I have a back pack which would fit everything i need without having to really fill it up. But it is 24 x 10 x 7, its the Osprey Talon 33. Link below:

http://www.ospreypacks.com/detail.ph...specifications

Appreciate if anyone can give me suggestions on what they would do? I am planning on just packing it, and carrying it as a free carry on.
It's not a rigid pack, right? If you could squish it into the sizer, you're good.

And, of course, they might not bother you (mixed reports -- on my 2 flights in August, nothing was measured).

Also, for a longer flight, you might want to ponder your hydration. Beverages are "expensive" on Spirit. I just bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after security (might not work in Bogota). You could also buy a beverage at the airport if you prefer.
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Old Oct 4, 10, 5:08 pm   #14
 
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I just flew this past week from Detroit to Tampa, and back, on Spirit with a backpack. I can say that the flight out from Detroit was completely full, but that nobody was enforcing the personal item size requirement at the gate.

Leaving Tampa was altogether different; the flight was nearly full --about 3 or 4 empty seats, I reckon-- but there was a firm yet polite gate agent that stated in no uncertain terms that the sizing policy was to be followed. There were a couple of people that did not board during the zone 1 phase, and the agent asked these people who had obviously oversized personal items to come measure them in the sizers. He asked them, after the items didn't fit, of course, if they were aware of the carry-on pay policy. I had to keep a straight face as one man feigned obtuseness to the policy, then was clearly upset about the impending $45 he was about to spend.

What, is he the only Spirit flyer to not know about this?

I should say that this flight was delayed by about 20 minutes coming into Tampa, so the agent was also giving instructions to try to expedite the boarding process, i.e., zone 1 was already lined up when the passengers getting off the inbound flight were deplaning. This agent did a terrific job, by the way, and the plane arrived in Detroit about 10 minutes early.

Maybe the delayed flight caused the policy to be enforced? I don't know.

As mentioned before by iahphx, it seems like this policy will be a YMMV kind of thing, although once people catch on to this, they may try their luck at attempting to *sneak* on bigger things.

FWIW, my backpack was slightly under the size requirements, and I was able to bring enough clothes for 3 full days, although I had no pants, sweaters, or "bulky" items. Had strictly t-shirts, shorts, and socks to deal with the heat!
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Old Oct 4, 10, 9:43 pm   #15
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What, is he the only Spirit flyer to not know about this?
I am never shocked by how little infrequent flyers know about airline rules. That said, if you bought your ticket directly FROM Spirit, you would have to be pretty clueless not to know the baggage rules. They are clearly explained on the website (both when you buy the ticket and if you check-in online -- and, like ryanair, they also send me a reminder email!).

But Spirit also uses other distribution channels, like the CRS. I just checked Orbitz and the unique Spirit bag rules are also spelled out clearly on Orbitz before you buy. But maybe other agencies are still less clear in the interface.

While I don't think that Spirit's specific baggage policies are likely to catch-on, I also don't think they're a bad thing for the industry. A la carte pricing really does allow pax to buy what they need, and airlines to keep base fares reasonable. The folks who are bellyaching about how "abusive" the practice is are foolish. For example, there's little doubt that Southwest's increasingly higher fares would be cheaper if bags didn't "fly free." I would welcome this: I'm good with a rollerboard and a backpack -- I'm not likely to be checking bags. At least Spirit gives me the option of getting lower fares to save money, while Southwest chooses to market a product that many frequent flyers don't want or need.
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