Airline-regulation carryon luggage
December 30, 2015 9:24 PM   Subscribe

What's the best airline-regulation size carryon? I currently have a soft-sided roller bag that I tend to overpack, so looking for something hard sided that fits in a sizer and can't be overpacked. NO duffels please--I have one already but strongly prefer wheels.
posted by serelliya to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I each have an eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21" Wheeled Duffel. He picked it out because the wheels are serious and we haven't busted them yet. It expands so if you need more space and can check it, it can accommodate but if you need it to go carry on, just don't expand it or put too much in the front pockets.
posted by kat518 at 9:39 PM on December 30, 2015

Not sure which bag is the best, though TravelPro bags seem to hold up well. I just wanted to point out that the airlines don't all use the same size guidlines: Carry-on Luggage Size Chart.
posted by kbuxton at 9:52 PM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've got this Samsonite Spinner in the pictured pink that I've taken on a couple dozen domestic flights on Turboprops.

Not sure where you are;this one fits in the Transport Canada sizing device no problem when not expanded. I really like the four wheels over two because it lets you just push it along in a line instead of having to push it so it's easier on my elbows and shoulders. However it does mean slightly less space than a maxed out two wheel bag.

The shell is sort of rough so it hides dirt and any scratches (though I haven't seen any yet). And the colour isn't all that popular so easy to pick out on a sky check cart or carousel (I've checked it a few times when I was over weight). The integral locks and main zipper are robust.

Samsonite also sells a matching 24 and 26" spinner it you want to get a matching set but I haven't bought them.
posted by Mitheral at 10:48 PM on December 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

To be more specific: I have a bad habit of putting too many things in the front pockets of my current bag. I want a new carryon that cannot be overpacked due to user error. Zipper expansions are OK as long as I can stuff all available pockets and still fit into the sizer.
posted by serelliya at 10:56 PM on December 30, 2015

Also, I'm based in the US and looking for 22x14x9" max dimensions (United, Delta, etc.). Thanks!
posted by serelliya at 11:02 PM on December 30, 2015 has multitudes of hard shell carry ons. This one seems to have decent reviews.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 11:17 PM on December 30, 2015

I know exactly what you mean. I have on of those lightweight carry-on bags from Victorinox. I believe it is the largest "extended" carry-on size. It's absolutely perfect.
posted by SkinsOfCoconut at 12:07 AM on December 31, 2015

We have a Heys brand polypropylene spinner that has survived at least a dozen trips and the wheels are still sturdy enough for a 200 lb. person to sit on. Zipper expansion, but as long as you leave it zipped, you can't overpack. Note that lots of "carryon" bags are not legal size. The Heys 21" spinners don't include the wheels in the measurement, so they are exactly 22" and therefore the maximum size. They still look quite diminutive compared to the bags many others carry on.
posted by wnissen at 6:45 AM on December 31, 2015

My wife and I have his & hers versions of the Red Oxx Air Boss. Size is 21x8x13 inches, within serelliya's stated limits. We have used these bags for years on Star Alliance in U.S. and in Europe with no problems.

The good: Fits exactly into overhead bins (the narrow way). Limited expansion space, so it is hard to overpack. Pretty much indestructible, in both material and zippers.

The bad: There are no wheels, so there's that.
posted by jason6 at 7:06 AM on December 31, 2015

Here's what The Sweethome has to say. They're the newer, hipper Consumer Reports.
posted by Flamingo at 7:21 AM on December 31, 2015 [3 favorites]

My husband travels weekly for work (both flying and driving) and he has the Sweethome-recommended budget pick (the Travelpro Crew). It's held up great for the past two years and is hard to overstuff.
posted by ethorson at 7:44 AM on December 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

In addition to recommending some bags, directly addresses the problem of avoiding overpacking. You might find good guidance there. His guidance tends towards non-wheeled, soft sided luggage, and personally I find his arguments to be compelling.
posted by enfa at 9:19 AM on December 31, 2015

You lose interior capacity to wheels, which means if you're already overpacking and you switch to a hard sided spinner, you're going to be really frustrated. Also as wnissen points out, you have to be careful that the wheels are factored into the measurement because if the sizer comes into play, you may be forced to gate check (and pay) if the wheels prevent your bag from fitting in it.

All that said: we have a 20" Samsonite spinner (the Winfield 2, to be precise) simply because it was the one we could register for at Macy's when we got married. It's really light and it has held up well so far (on at least a dozen flight segments, and I've kind of lost count). We also got the 24" version (which we always check) and we ended up getting a second pair in a different color before a long overseas trip last year. They're … fine. They're not the most amazing luggage in the world, but since luggage lives to be abused and seems to have a ten year lifespan no matter how much you pay for it (straps give out, corners burst, etc), I'd rather not pop for the stupidly expensive stuff that's still going to wear out.

The Sweethome recommendations don't really fit the way I pack or the way I travel, either. I wear (men's) size XL clothes and I get annoyed when I have to fold and pack around the interior pockets they like. I'd rather have a lighter hard-side bag with fewer interior pockets than a heavier, bulletproof semi-rigid bag (like the Travelpro), which allows me to optimize both the interior capacity and the weight (which admittedly matters less on domestic flights than on international flights and puddle jumpers). I also find a spinner easier to travel with than the two-wheeled bags they prefer. And I like brightly colored bags so they stand out on the baggage carousel. I've only seen one person traveling with the same bag/color combo in all those times in the airport, which was definitely not true when I had an off-black, fabric, two-wheeled roller. YMMV.
posted by fedward at 10:03 AM on December 31, 2015

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