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Bag that comes closest to fitting Spirit's "personal item" requirements?

Not sure if this is the best place to post this, but I'm on the hunt for a bag that fits exactly (or comes as close as possible to) to, the allowable dimensions for a "personal item" on Spirit Airlines, as I see myself flying with them a lot over the next year.

The dimensions are 16"x14"x12" (40 cm x 35 cm x 30 cm).

I've gotten away with various bags that didn't quite fit one of these dimensions or another, but I'd rather purchase something that will give me peace of mind, so I never have to rely on how nice the person at the check-in counter is feeling on a given day.

The size of the bag is my first consideration, and price would be second (not looking to spend over $80). Third would be style, as a lot of the bags I've seen on Amazon that might otherwise fit the bill are in weird colors/patterns. As a guy I'm just looking for something neutral.

Additionally, it can roll/not roll, doesn't matter to me.


Posted by
19118 posts

This is so diabolic by Spirit. 16"x14"x12" is 2688 cu in, only 3% less volume than the 2772 cu in or 16"x14"x12" of normal regulation size, but they have picked a proportion that no one sells, just to get carry-on fees. I know of no one who sells a bag with those dimensions. Shame on Spirit. It will be a cold day when I fly an airline that is so unethical.

Does Spriit sit there with a tape measure and check each dimension (L, W, and H) or do they have a frame that the "bag" has to fit in? If it's not fully packed, you should be able to put a smaller-than-regulation-sized soft (i.e., non-roller) bag into a 16"x14"x12" frame. The fourteen inch width is the same as regulation; live with only 9 inches thick and pack it lightly enough so you can push the 22 inches down to 16 inches and you still have 2016 cu in, 73% of the regulation size and 75% of what Spirit is allowing you. That's enough for anyone.

Posted by
15264 posts

If you go to this new website called Google and put it "16 x 14 x 12" you'll get links to a bunch of bags that size. There are even a handful at Amazon.

No name brands.


Posted by
2749 posts

Do not assume the person at the check in counter will be feeling nice. It's Spirit. Their CEO has said they don't do customer service.

Personally if they are my only choice, I stay home!

Posted by
824 posts

Good luck. Do you understand WHY they chose those particular dimensions? Because you can't find a piece of luggage that small. Even my book-bag type backpack is larger than that. My rolling computer case, while only 14 inches tall, is WELL over 12 inches thick if I put anything inside it...

I find it a little funny that you are willing to put up with Spirit Air to save a couple of bucks but you say the price of a new piece of luggage (JUST to conform to Spirit Airlines' rules) is secondary. Of course, good luck finding ANY quality piece of luggage for $80 or less.

How many times can you fly on a reputable airline (and Spirit is officially the MOST complained about) for the price of the new luggage and the inconvenience of flying Spirit?

I guess you could just board with no luggage and purchase everything you need at your destination...

Posted by
5697 posts

Those Hello Kitty kid suitcases at Target are looking better and better.

Posted by
1221 posts

Of course, good luck finding ANY quality piece of luggage for $80 or less.

Sierra Trading Post in January-February has a lot of clearance items from some very nice luggage companies, and they're got some sort of online coupon for an additional 25-35% off out on the intrawebs for about 5 days every week. Paid about $100 for a nice big 22" Eagle Creek wheelie from there earlier this year including shipping, and IIRC some of their small pieces were in the $80 or less category once the coupon was applied.

Posted by
19118 posts

"Do you understand WHY they chose those particular dimensions? Because you can't find a piece of luggage that small."

Work2, read what I posted before you. Spirits bag size is not that small 16" x 14" x 12" is 2688 cu in., only 84 cu in less than the 22" x 14" x 9" (=2772 cu in) max regulation size. It's the shape (almost cubical) that no one makes, making it difficult to find. Imagine carrying a bag that shape on your back.

But I think I can understand what they did. They made the length shorter (16" instead of 22"), so it wouldn't stick out from under the seat and trip people trying to get out in an emergency. According to Seatgaru, spirit has a 28" seat pitch. If there were a 22" long bag under the seat, there would be less than 6" width to get out.

"good luck finding ANY quality piece of luggage for $80 or less"

Only if you define quality as "costing more than $80" is that true. I just bought an eTech 2.0 Weekender Jr., and I consider it a quality piece of luggage. It's made of heavier-than-necessary material, opens like a book for easy packing, has YKK zippers, cinch straps, sternum and waist belts, etc., and it only costs $70 on sale right now from eBags. In fact, I consider my $30 Essential Carryon to be of sufficient quality. I've spent 3 months traveling with it (over 30 flight segments), and it's held up fine. But I don't overpack it, so there is no stress on the zippers, and I don't check it, so it's not handled by gorillas.

Posted by
33 posts

Nowadays most international airlines no longer respect IATA's old 22"x18"x10"cm guideline. Many chopped off one inch here or there, and of course at different heres or theres. But the size of the overhead bins differ by type or generation of plane, not by airline. Hence the different carry-on size and weight restrictions do not really make any sense.

Airlines can fool customers only once by an unexpected carry-on rule, i.e. make extra cash for an oversized bag. From then budget travellers will find a solution. But that one incident wil remain in their memories forever.

Posted by
67 posts

LLBean's medium (11"H x 13¾"W x 4¾"D) messenger bag in four colors for about $60 that could work if you don't overpack it. Ebags has the Samsonite small wheeled underseater (13" x 13" x 9" exterior dimensions) for ~$52. I agree with you about the patterns and colors of the bags on Amazon. They are cheap but soooo ugly. There really are a lot of bags that will suit your needs as someone suggested - google the size. Even on this site there are a couple of flight bags intended as personal items that meet your dimensions. You might also think about bags that aren't intended as luggage per se like totes or [very] small gym bags, kid-size backpacks or wheelies.

An aside - Hasn't Spirit changed their dimension requirements two or three times already? I can imagine them changing again once everyone has found an underseater that meets current dimensions.