Man Creates Luggage Designed to Avoid Spirit's Carryon Bag Fee

If you want to avoid baggage fees on Spirit Airlines, it’s not easy. Just ask Michigan-based traveler Brent Hopkins.

See All U.S. Airline Baggage Fees

Spirit – Only Airline with Carryon Bag Fee

Hopkins learned the hard way that not everything about low-cost carrier Spirit is cheap, when he had to fork over $70 in bag fees last October for a single carry-on bag. Then Hopkins, a 24-year-old budding entrepreneur, noticed an exception to the fee. As he told FareCompare via email:

“I was returning on a Spirit flight from Ft. Lauderdale, and as I was exiting the gate, I saw the measure gauge posted by the attendant’s counter that they now have stationed at every gate and check-in desk. That is when I noticed that Spirit was still allowing one free carryon item per customer, but it was at a reduced size.”

How to Cram Everything into One Carryon Bag

It’s a reduced size, alright – this free item cannot exceed 16 x 14 x 12 inches, and it must fit underneath the seat in front of you. So Hopkins came up with a piece of luggage that would do just that. He calls it the “Carryon Free” – and it is available online for $54.99.

Other Fee Saving Travel Options

This is somewhat reminiscent of other non-traditional attempts to bypass or at least lower baggage fees, including the Scottevest Travel Vest ($100) which has 22 pockets that passengers can use to cram all sorts of things in that might otherwise not fit in a carry-on or trigger the hefty overweight fees on a checked-bag (and yes, the vest does include a pocket for an iPad).

Some Unusual ‘Pack Light’ Tips

Skiers and boarders have long used similar tricks, like wearing their ski boots on the plane and shoving all sorts of things in parka pockets, from socks to underwear, before donning it for the flight.

How Much Can a Small Carryon Bag Hold?

Hopkins has a boatload of testimonials on his site that claim his Carryon Free bag holds enough for a weekend getaway or more. He admits, “People have different ideas of what constitutes as 1 week of travel gear,” but added his bag has been “field tested” for 10 days-worth of travel.

Shoppers, meanwhile, will no doubt be pleased to see that the Carryon Free bag comes in a wide variety of colors.


Published: January 17, 2012