Ross Werland, Tribune Newspapers
10:12 PM EDT, March 20, 2012
Name: CarryOn Free bag
What it is: A bag designed to comply with Spirit Airlines' maximum limits for a personal bag, thus avoiding fees for carry-ons. For example, if you try to sneak through a bag that doesn't comply with the maximum of 16 by 14 by 12 inches for a personal bag and get caught at the gate, it'll run you $45. That's just a bit less than this bag costs. The bag also fits under the airline's seating in many cases. It comes in black and three other colored patterns, and is made of polyurethane or polyester.
It has a 23-inch telescoping handle, wheels and a strap handle.
The good: Actually a handy bag whether you're flying Spirit or another airline, the CarryOn Free is roomier than you might think. I packed all of my clothes, toiletries, an extra pair of shoes and a netbook for a four-day getaway. Beyond that I was able to take some of my overpacking wife's items. Vacuum bags, now a mainstay for me, helped immensely. In addition to the main zippered compartment, there is a smaller compartment for, say, small electronics and your liquids, but take care not to stuff it, or the bag may end up oversize. The CarryOn also has a handy compartment in front for things such as boarding passes and passports. In an overhead bin, the bag takes up less space than a standard carry-on bag.
The bad: Though the CarryOn is meant to meet Spirit's personal-bag size maximum, it may not pass muster with other airlines as a personal bag. In many cases, however, all they require is that a personal bag fit under the seat. On many planes, this can. But even with Spirit, a wary gate agent asked if it met requirements. I strode up to the testing frame and momentarily panicked when it didn't fit in bottom first. When I turned it upside down, it slid in snugly — a perfect fit. The bag is heavy for its size: 7 pounds empty.
Available from: ¿ CarryOn Free website (248-895-0010)
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