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Learn about Avelo Airlines baggage fee policies for 2024, including carry-on allowances and optional services 🎒🧳

Avelo Airlines burst onto the low-cost carrier scene in 2021, quickly making a name for itself with rock-bottom fares to underserved markets across the American West and East Coast. However, many travelers are learning the hard way that Avelo’s bargain-basement prices come with stripped-down amenities and strict baggage limitations.

Chief among passenger frustrations is Avelo’s tight personal item policy, which permits just one small bag up to 14 x 9 x 9.5 inches (35 x 22 x 22 cm) to be carried on for free. This petite sizer is barely large enough to accommodate a small backpack or purse, leaving passengers scrambling to conform. So how strict is Avelo at enforcing this rule, and what are your options for sliding through the personal item cracks? Let’s break down what you need to know.

Getting Personal with Item Restrictions

Avelo allows passengers to bring aboard one personal item measuring up to 14 x 9 x 9.5 inches (35 x 22 x 22 cm), such as a small backpack, briefcase, laptop bag, purse, or camera case. This bag must fit completely under the seat in front of you. If your personal item exceeds these dimensions, Avelo gate agents may require you to measure your bag in their sizing box at the boarding gate. Oversize items will be tagged as checked luggage and sent to the cargo hold, incurring a checked bag fee.

By comparison, other low-cost carriers permit slightly more spacious carry-ons. For example, Frontier and Spirit allot passengers one 18 x 14 x 8-inch personal item. That’s nearly 50% more capacity than Avelo! Major airlines are even more generous, with Delta allowing 18 x 10 x 8 inches and United permitting 17 x 10 x 9 inches. So yes, Avelo’s limits are exceptionally strict.

Can Backpacks Qualify as Personal Items?

The short answer is maybe. Small, compressible daypacks without rigid frames have the best shot at squeezing beneath seats as personal items. Models like the REI Flash 18 Pack, Osprey Daylite Plus, or The North Face Borealis could work. Key things to avoid are large, bulky hiking backpacks with sophisticated suspension systems and metal stays. Models like the Osprey Aether AG 70 backpack are definite no-gos.

When in doubt, try squishing your packed backpack beneath a seat ahead of time to confirm it’ll fit Avelo’s snug dimensions both expanded and compressed. And leave a little wiggle room in case their staff decides to measure.

What Happens If My Personal Item Is Too Big?

If your personal item exceeds 14 x 9 x 9.5 inches, Avelo staff may halt you at the boarding gate to measure your bag against their sizer box. If it doesn’t fit, they’ll tag your item as checked luggage and send it to the cargo hold below. You’ll also have to pay a checked baggage fee, which ranges from $30-$60 depending on your fare type, when you pre-pay for bags, and the number of checked items.

Some travelers try to avoid fees and involuntary gate checking by strategically packing their oversize bag lightly, then squeezing or smushing it into the sizer at the gate. This is a gamble that depends entirely on the leniency of staff that day. We don’t recommend counting on this maneuver as checked baggage fees can be steep, especially if you get hit with both oversize and overweight surcharges.

How Lenient Is Avelo Airlines With Personal Item Size?

In a word, not very. The vast majority of passenger complaints revolve around Avelo’s stringent enforcement of personal item dimensions at the gate. Agents have been reported pulling aside passengers with expandable hiking packs, full-size rolling carry-ons, and overstuffed totes to measure against the sizer.

That said, enforcement ultimately comes down to whoever is working the gate. Some staff lets bags slide by that others would flag. Backpacks draw extra scrutiny since they often exceed dimensions when packed out. In general, though, it’s best to consider their personal item sizer absolute unless you want to risk checked bag fees.

Navigating Avelo’s Personal Item Restrictions

Given Avelo’s tight sizer constraints, the best approach is traveling ultralight with a compliant bag like a laptop sleeve, small duffel, or mini backpack. Consider models like the Away Everywhere Bag, Cotopaxi Taal Hip Pack, or Topo Designs Quick Pack. These keep you covered in case the gate agent goes by the book.

What if you already own a bag exceeding the limits? First, try packing it lightly and smooshing it into the sizer during boarding. Some overstuffed items can finesse their way through with a bit of compression. If that fails, evaluate whether you have items that could be layered onto your body or consolidated into a compliant bag.

For most people, traveling this light requires doing laundry on the road to reuse outfits. It also means getting strategic with travel-size toiletries, tech accessories, and other gear. You’d be amazed what you can cram into a 14-liter sling!

If ultralight travel isn’t in the cards, consider paying Avelo’s checked baggage fees, which start at $30 per item when pre-paid online. That’s often cheaper than buying a whole new suitcase. Some passengers will even share a checked duffel to split costs. You can access your bag quickly after landing since Avelo primarily utilizes small airports.

What’s Included in Avelo’s Carry-On Allowance

Avelo’s carry-on policy only includes one small personal item, such as a purse, laptop bag, or mini backpack. If you want to bring a standard carry-on bag like a wheelie suitcase or full-sized backpack, be prepared to pay extra.

On initial ticket purchase, Avelo charges $40 to add one carry-on bag up to 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 35 x 22 cm) that fits their size limits. If you wait until online check-in to add your carry-on, the fee rises to $45. And if you just show up to the gate hoping to bring a carry-on for free, the charge is $50. So you’ll save $10 by pre-paying for carry-on luggage.

These baggage fees remain consistent across routes and don’t fluctuate. Just know that if your carry-on exceeds size or weight restrictions, you may incur additional overage fees.

Examining Checked Baggage Policies and Fees

For travelers needing more luggage capacity, Avelo allows you to check up to 10 bags within their size and weight limits. The dimensions for checked suitcases and duffel bags are 62 linear inches (158 cm) or smaller. This includes all sides – so length + width + height.

Each checked bag can weigh up to 50 pounds (23 kg) before incurring overweight luggage fees. The maximum single bag weight permitted is 70 pounds (32 kg). Any heavier bags will be denied at check-in.

Avelo’s checked baggage pricing works similarly to carry-on fees:

Checked Bag Fee (1 to 10 bags) Initial Flight Booking: $30 per bag
Online Pre-Payment: $35 per bag Online Check-In: $35 per bag Airport Check-In: $40 per bag

You can check up to 10 bags for the same flat rate, unlike some airlines that hike fees for additional checked items. Just know that oversize or heavy bags incur additional overage charges on top of the standard checked bag prices above.

Transporting Special Items and Sports Equipment

Along with standard checked suitcases, Avelo does allow select sports gear and special items like musical instruments to be checked and carried within size and weight allowances. However, specialty items often require protective hard-shell cases and may need liability waivers signed at airport check-in.

Acceptable sports equipment checked through Avelo includes golf clubs, bicycles, surfboards, hockey sticks, and more. The airline website outlines full policies regarding packing requirements, oversize limits, liability releases and checked baggage pricing for transporting specialty items.

So if you need to check awkwardly proportioned sports gear or musical instruments, be sure to understand Avelo’s restrictions in advance so you have the proper containers and padding. These items must withstand routine baggage handling without sustaining damage, so preparation is key!

The Bottom Line

It’s true that Avelo Airlines strictly enforces their 14 x 9 x 9.5-inch size limits for personal items at the boarding gate. This petite allowance matches their bare-bones approach to no-frills flying. While some passengers do squeeze overstuffed bags through without issue, it’s always a gamble.

To avoid checked bag fees or involuntary gate checking, opt for a compliant personal item no matter how lightly you pack a bigger bag. Or travel ultralight so you can squash bulging items into the sizer. Alternatively, simply bite the bullet and pay their checked luggage fees. Although steep for a budget airline, they at least offer transparency up front.

Hopefully, these insider tips on finessing Avelo’s tight personal item constraints have you ready to fly informed on your next low-cost getaway. Bon voyage!

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