Budget airlines, ah the headache. Tight seats, no frills, and strict baggage guidelines. To make things worse, now Spirit Airlines is changing their guidelines for a personal item once again. Gone is the 16”x14”x12” sizing and now starting on April 4, 2017 the new size will be 18”x14”x8”. The downside is your old bag might now be useless and you will be losing 2’’ of packing space. The upside is now Spirit and Frontier Airlines have the same standards for personal items.
The dilemma is whether to purchase this new sized bag or use a conventional carry-on and pay the extra fees. Several factors will come into play. For example, how often do you fly these budget airlines? Also, how many days will your trip be? If you are going to be flying these airlines more than a few times a year and for short trips (1-2 days) then investing in a new personal sized bag might be a good idea. However, if you are only going to be using the bag once or if your trip will require a few changes of clothes then this personal sized bag might not work for you.
If you are going to be using a full sized carry-on for your trip, make sure to build the cost of that for that into your trip. The cheapest time to pay for the baggage fees when you book your trip. For example, if airline A’s round-trip flight is $350 including a carry-on bag and airline B’s is $300 but will cost $35 for a carry-on each way then the real cost of airline B’s ticket is $370. So, you would end up paying more for that budget ticket.
One last tip is that sometimes it is cheaper to check a bag than carry-on according to Spirit Airline’s website. If you aren’t in a hurry this might be a great way to save a few dollars. Just make sure to take a small backpack or tote with emergency items…. just in case.