Please sign in to post.

Carry-on luggage

I've been using Rick's wheeled carry-on bag for about 10 years and it's been great! I'm in need of a replacement but the new ones he is selling are much smaller. Does anyone know of a company that sells a bag like his old one? I'd like one with 2 wheels and that is expandable. Thanks!

Posted by
806 posts

Before you buy, take a look at the carry-on size restrictions, they are not what they were 10 years ago. We flew Air France in and out of Paris last month and on the trip over nobody seemed to care about size or weight of carry-ons but on the return trip everything was size and weight checked at CDG long before we got to the gate. Some airlines are turning the least bit oversize or overweight carry-ons into cash cows.

Also Rick's posted sizes do not include the wheels regardless of what his staff claims. My 20 inch case is a bit over 21.

Posted by
24 posts

Joey,

I also measured my European sized RS roll-aboard and it was just barely over 21" long with wheels and handle included. And if I remember correctly my old RS roll-aboard was just over 23" in length with wheels and handle included.

Posted by
41 posts

Can anyone else chime in on how picky airlines are? We booked our trip to Italy via Delta, however, one leg of the trip we are on AirFrance and one Alitalia -- Alitalia has much lower weight limit than the other 2 carriers involved. Also, AirFrance size limit is smaller than Delta. Delta told me that their measurements are honored, but I don't buy it. Having trouble finding carry-on bags that fit the specs of all 3 airlines. Even Rick's carry-on that says it fits European carriers is too large per AirFrance standards.
Delta 22x14x9" - no weight restrictions
AirFrance 21x13x9" - 26lbs
Alitalia 55cmx35x25 (21.6x13.7x9.8") - 8kg/17.6lbs
We're trying to do only carry-on for ease of travel AND, due to flight change, we now only have 1.5 hours to go through customs and change planes in Paris on way to Florence. Packing for 10 days.

Posted by
3210 posts

Never had a problem on Delta. Air France weighed a bag in Miami and it was overweight. I removed my iPad and just squeaked by not having to stow the bag in the hold. And then there's Alitalia. Flying from Florence, my carry on was less than 1 kilo over. They would not let me carry it on or try to adjust the weight. I left Italy on December 31st, my bag followed on January 6th. My overnight in Paris without toiletries or a change of clothes was not pleasant!

Posted by
327 posts

I bought the Travelpro Maxlite 3 20" Rollaboard (2 wheels) for Europe trip last fall and it worked well. It is expandable, and weighs 5.9 pounds. On-line prices are much better than what I found in local stores.

Do not take Delta's (or another airline's) word that their measurements would be honored by the code share flight. If you are at the airport and have to put your bag in their size tester and it doesn't fit, the probability is the code share airline employee isn't going to accept you saying that Delta told you it was okay.

Posted by
14269 posts

I agree with Lynn and Phillip. In my experience with Delta and flying codeshare flights in to Italy, KLM was fine but on the return flight we started out with Alitalia in Florence and my bag was sized and weighed. It flunked and I had to check it which was actually fine because it was the return flight with mostly dirty laundry in it. It did cause me to scramble a bit at the counter to pull out my charger cords and Kindle but I learned a lesson because of it! Yep, now I either plan to check on the way home or have all electronics and cords in my personal item.

It was Rick's Convertible Backpack that failed the sizer and weight test. Apparently all the scarves I bought in Florence put it over the weight limit and it was pretty stuffed.

The desk agent also eyed my brother's bag and had him put it in the sizer and also weighed it but it was fine.

Posted by
41 posts

Ugh! This luggage issue is putting a damper on our trip. None of our existing luggage meets Air France's smaller measurements. And as it is the traditional luggage with just 2 wheels, I am doubtful it will be light enough to meet Alitalia's weight requirements. What luggage have any of you found that meets ALL of these requirements AND can fit 10 days of packing? We hadn't counted on this extra expense and will now need 3 bags. We have bought some of the compression bags to try, but these won't help with the weight. Our original flight home was on Air France from Rome to Paris, but a change in our flight from Paris on back to the states was changed, so we would have had a 4 hour layover in Paris (and VERY early flight from Rome). So since Delta changed the times, they allowed us to pick the later flight out of Rome so more sleep and shorter (3 hour) layover. But it appears it is Alitalia now. I am not as concerned if we are forced to check our luggage returning, but that would mean I need to purchase sturdier just in case. However, from the states to Florence, we only have 1.5 hour layover in Paris and I don't want to risk checking luggage with such a short window. Delta will not let us change outgoing flights since they claim that 1.5 hours is "legal" amount of time to go through customs and change flights/airlines (from Delta to AirFrance). We found a brand called IT (International Traveler) at our local Elder Beerman/Bon-Ton store that seems ultra light and I THINK the right size, but can't find many reviews. Doesn't seem sturdy enough to check to me.

Posted by
41 posts

Lynn -- I checked that case out online, but it seems to be too deep for all 3 airlines and too wide for AirFrance and Alitalia.
One site shows: 10.5 x 14 x 20 inches and other shows: Dimensions: 20x14x9 inches

Posted by
327 posts

mediaoho--If you don't fill the front pocket, the dimension is 9". However the width is 15" wheel to wheel. So it doesn't meet Aliitalia or Air France requirements. Sorry, I understand your frustration. I had a similar issue with my trip.

Posted by
5837 posts

...am doubtful it will be light enough to meet Alitalia's weight requirements.

Wheels add weight. The added weight inherent to a quality (i.e. robust) wheelie is the additions of wheels themselves, the structure or backbone to transfer load between the wheels and the handle structure, and the handle system. My RS classic (no wheels) in comparison to all the wheelies, but I still struggle to stay under Lufthansa's 8 kg maximum.

The plus of a no-frame, no wheels bag is that unless you are packing something rigid, the bag should easily compress into both sizing frames and overhead spaces.

Wheels and expandable make meeting weight and space limits a challenge. Plan on doing daily washing and not buying any goodies.

Posted by
16894 posts

Just a note to confirm that the advertised dimensions of Rick's bag do match the measurements made by the first two repliers above: Weight: 6.65 lbs, Dimensions: 21" x 13 ½" x 9" (including wheels), Capacity: 2430 cubic inches (2970 expanded). These dimensions meet the three carrier guidelines that @mediohio described. Note that Air France's dimension rule is actually the same as Alitalia's (55cm x 35cm x25cm); they chose to round down their description in inches "for your convenience," but the centimeters are the actual rule. Of course, the weight of what you pack into it is a different issue.

Posted by
1057 posts

I have been a committed convertible backpack/carry-on-only person for a long time. I'm constantly looking for the lightest bag possible. However, due to an injury, I'm not going to be able to carry a bag on my back next summer. I did find a wheeled bag that suited me - Eagle Creek Lync 20". The wheels and backpack straps are removable, so you can get a variety of configurations to suit your needs:
- With wheels and backpack straps, it weighs 4 lbs. 6 oz.
- With wheels/without backpack straps, it weighs 4 lbs. even.
- Without wheels/with backpack straps, it's a super-light 1 lb. 12 oz.

I have it at home now and have done some practice packing, but I haven't used it on a trip yet. It will carry everything I need with no strain. And if I need hands free to climb up into a train or go up stairs, I can sling it on my back for a short time. Others have raised concerns that the wheels may not be sturdy enough to survive being checked. I don't plan to check it, but if I do, Eagle Creek has a "no matter what" guarantee, and I'll take them up on it. The bag itself looks very sturdy and well-made, and I haven't found a lighter one. It will fit size-wise on all airlines I'm using (Lufthansa is the most restrictive) and I'm sure I can keep the weight under 8 kg total. I'm very pleased with it.

Posted by
41 posts

I revisited Alitalia's site today. So typically we take both a backpack (not giant hiking size, just school size) and carry-on bag. If I am reading correctly, we can't even do this on Alitalia. They list the acceptable personal items as laptop computer, handbag, or briefcase. Ditto Airfrance. Is this a change? When we flew to England/France last year, return trip on Airfrance, we used our existing backpacks and carry-ons with no issue. Seriously sick to my stomach trying to figure out how we are going to manage packing. Should we try to change our return flight back to earlier Airfrance one (I would argue that Delta agent told me the other 2 airlines would honor Delta's measurements/limits, which clearly isn't the case)? Give up on trying to go carry-on route knowing getting our luggage is going to be tricky with the very short layover on our trip there? Putting a serious damper on our trip with both the hassle, fear of hassle, and unexpected cost for new luggage.

Posted by
41 posts

Laura - Rick Steves' Europe - thanks for pointing that out about AirFrance measurement. That actually helps a lot. Can you confirm which Rick Steves bag to which you are referring. Since you seem to travel quite a bit -- am I being over-concerned about this? I am not kidding when I say I am sick to my stomach about this whole mess. Between Delta changing our flight/layover times and this luggage I am so disappointed and frustrated.

Posted by
3521 posts

Instead of packing for 10 days, just pack for 5. :-)

I do that every trip since I really don't have enough clothes to go more than a week without washing some anyway. The only thing I take more than enough of for the entire trip is my prescription meds.

Posted by
41 posts

Mark -- I think that is essentially what we are doing. Using Rick Steves' packing list -- taking just 3-4 pairs of pants (no shorts or swimsuits since it will be early Spring), 4-5 t-shirts, 1-2 cardigans, scarf, pjs, socks/undies, 1 extra pair of shoes. Wearing our windbreakers. Very little in the way of toiletries -- read in one of Rick's books or on this site to pack for best case, not worse case scenario. This really stuck with me, so have scaled WAY back on what I would normally pack. Even though we are staying at tiny family-owned B&Bs, I have confirmed that all provide soap, shampoo, and hair driers. Wearing glasses instead of my contacts means no need for lens solution. I am now not as panicked about the weight, but still the size. Even cases Eagle Creek has recommended to me -- knowing specs needed -- are almost all 14" wide which neither AirFrance or Alitalia allows.
Has anyone used Kenneth Cole bags? They have one that both Amazon and ebags.com claim are within my size limits and weighs about 6.5lbs. User reviews, however, claim it is 22" with wheels. I have emailed ebags 3X and they insist it only 20" with wheels. 10 yr warranty and 4-5 star reviews everywhere I check. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004TNOAXW?ref_=pe_623860_70668690
BTW -- I Facebooked both Alitalia and AirFrance and they both responded that a backpack is approved as personal item IN ADDITION to carryon as long as it fits under the seat.

Posted by
630 posts

mediaohio, when we travel internationally, we use Rick Steve's carry-on and a small backpack. The carry-on goes in the overhead bin and the small backpack has our airline essentials including chargers, snacks, books, iPads, etc.

We also send a small duffle bag through the checked luggage (we call it our "throwaway bag.") This bag contains items that are "nice to have" but I wouldn't care if the bag got lost or delayed. This throwaway bag will contain books, snacks, and clothes that we have been saving throughout the year that we will wear and then throwaway (old t-shirts, underwear, socks, etc). Those items as well as the bag will not be returning home with us. If this bag doesn't reach our final destination, we still have our carry-on with clothes that we can wear and wash. But the throwaway bag will have "extra" clothes for days when we don't want to wash the clothes at the end of the day. We also get one free checked bag - so it doesn't cost us anything. I probably wouldn't do this if we had to pay for the checked bag.

Just another thought for you. I hope everything works out for you. I know traveling can be very nerve wracking - so I feel for ya. Safe travels :)

Posted by
8650 posts

current issue of Consumer Reports has a small sidebar article on carry-on bags. The gist of it is that almost all of the ones they measured were larger than the manufacturer-stated size. This confirms what others have reported here in past threads and makes shopping online even less a good idea.

Posted by
1081 posts

I have used the Patagonia Transport 26L bag for travel and find that it fits all airline requirements. It is a bag with only a single shoulder strap but is 18" x 13" x 6". I use a eagle creek pack-it folder for my pants and shirts and use packing cubes for underwear and socks and still have plenty of room.
I confess that it doesn't have wheels but the strap fits over my shoulder and I've walked fair distances with it and it is not burdensome for carry. Now for my secret, I wear a Scottevest Tropaformer jacket when I travel and it has 20 pockets where I am able to store my phone, i-pad, chargers, maps, books, tickets, and many more items so it keeps the weight of my bag down and the jacket easily converts to a vest if the weather is warm.

Posted by
11613 posts

I have the RS 20" rolling carryon and an old Civita daybag, and that's it for 89 days. No airline has blinked an eye at the Cuvita bag, so you should have no problem using a small pack as your personal item.

A word about codeshares: you never know whose equipment you will be flying in, the partners can switch aircraft at will. You will often see the same flight listed with three different flight numbers, one for each partner who flies that route.

Posted by
33 posts

There is nothing wrong to pack light, but why so many passengers, even tourists, insist on carry-on? Today the weight rather than the size limit is the constraint. Why worry whether the check-in staff lets you pass with your >10kg carry-on bag? Why haul that bag with you in the terminal or in the cabin, sit under it or on top of it, knees up to the chin? All that for the 20' saved time at the luggage carousell at the end of your trip of allready so many hours?

To check-in online from home saves more time than to skip luggage drop-off. 1.5h, even 45' is ok for checked-luggage transfer in Europe, even when arriving from outside. At Heathrow or Charles de Gaulle your check-in luggage will move quicker between terminals, i.e. between arrival from US and connecting flight within Europe, than you, but some stereotypes about Italy and Alitalia seem to be true. Once with a delayed flight I ran to the other gate within 30', but my check-in suitcase did not make it. Twice the telescope handle of my heavy, wheeled suitcase was ripped off. They never lost a bag. And I no longer use that suitcase.

Factually most non-US airlines ristrict carry-on luggage, with the majority in the 7kg (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Thai, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysian, China Airlines), 8kg (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Alitalia, Air Berlin) and 12kg (Brussel, Korean, Kenyan, KLMs and Air France) group. From these many allow a "personal" item that could be a smaller bag for laptop or camera gear. Ryan Air allows 10+2kg. British Airways is the most generours at 23kg. Some charter or Asian airlines are in the 5-6kg range. This list is incomplete and tomorrow latest will be out of date. Not necessarily "sky team", "star alliance" or "oneworld alliance" members have identical luggage rules. Limits for check-in luggage of the same airline even differ by destimation or route.

Try ebags.com brand bags. I bought a small/ junior etech bag for Europe. I do laundry while traveling. Also, the only footwear I bring - I wear. I use sturdy hiking sandals and eliminate the socks. I also use ebags and eagle creek packing cubes. The cubes are great for saving space and organization in your luggage case.

Posted by
1 posts

Okay, you all have me stressing! I have an Eddie Bauer rolling duffel (medium) 14x21x10; flying United to Paris, Easyjet to Barcelona and home from there. Airline dimensions are 14x22x9. Should I get a new bag or roll the dice? I carry it on domestic flight with no problems. This is our first RS tour!

Posted by
14269 posts

Completely agree with MrsEB. I've only taken one EasyJet flight but Every. Single. Bag. went in to the sizer. Even the 3 people ahead of me who had identical bags. All were sized as we were lining up down the jet way. Much easier to pay to check it when you book.

Posted by
4 posts

I believe that there are many luggage similar to that one. I suggest to look for it to some of known brands when it comes to luggages. Try browsing products from Briggs and Riley or Tumi. I know that you can have plenty of options to choose upon visiting their available commodities.

Posted by
19170 posts

"why so many passengers, even tourists, insist on carry-on?"

Well, before I bought into carrying on, I once almost arrived in Belgium without my bags because they would have stayed in the US. It was only because I accompanied a friend to luggage claim (this was before security) and found that my bags, which were supposed to be checked through to Brussels, had been put on the carousel instead. The second time, on a flight from Frankfurt to Paris, my bags almost stayed on the plane and went to South America instead. Twice, in this country, my bags arrived a day after I did. I feel a lot more secure with my bags with me at all times.

"All that for the 20' saved time at the luggage carousell"

Twice I've arrived in Denver after a flight from Europe, jet-lagged, and went straight to the bus loading area and just barely caught the hourly shuttle home. Had I waited at the carousel, I wouldn't have caught that bus.

It's really no extra effort to carry on, and sometimes it would have been unpleasant not to have.

Posted by
37 posts

Has anyone used Rick's rolling carry-on with Easyjet? Does this bag pass their carry-on restrictions?
Thanks.