I’ve only flown Spirit Airlines once with a backpack on a cheap $30-something fare to Chicago a few years ago. The flight was fine, but after the hassle of getting home when the flight canceled due to bad weather, I haven’t considered the airline since – sometimes it’s just worth it to pay more for the extra peace of mind.
Spirit Airlines is a “no-frills” ultra-discount carrier that often attracts travelers by offering super-low fares, but then charges for virtually everything under the sun, including carry-on bags, choosing a seat, and even printing a boarding pass. Love it or hate it, it’s a business model that works, and I don’t see them changing anytime soon.
I recently met a nice gentleman at the New York Times Travel show during my “Meet The Experts” session, and he and I shared some quirky flying tips. He told me he loves flying on Spirit Airlines, and has mastered flying with extra gear every time.
If you look closely at Spirit Airline’s baggage policy, this is what it says:
Remember: You can bring one personal item and bring items like an umbrella, camera, infant diaper bag, assistive devices, outer garments (e.g., coats, hats and wraps), reading material and food for the flight for no additional charge.
So every time my new friend flies, he brings his backpack as his personal item, and then another bag. When the gate agent insists he must pay for the second bag, he tells them that inside he has “food for consumption, a camera, reading material, outer garments and medical devices”. Whether true or not, he says he boards without a problem.
It’s definitely a case of YMMV, but if he’s at least honest about what he’s bringing on board, I don’t see him cheating the system. If anything he’s doing what everyone should be doing in the first place: learning the policies ahead of time and making smart choices.
What do you think? Were you previously aware of the baggage policy exceptions listed above?