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Hard Sided Luggage is More Assertive?

An article in today's Washington Post says that hard-sided luggage is becoming more popular, in part because it's a way for travelers to assert their dominance. They quote one etiquette expert as saying, "“Hard-sided luggage comes across as unyielding, more powerful." Is this really a thing?

Posted by
8293 posts

A piece of luggage has a personality? Mine must need therapy.

Posted by
6510 posts

Ha ha Norma, mine looks like it's been through therapy - physical therapy.

Have you ever travelled and paid much attention to other's luggage? If the answer is no, then assume no one else will care either. I recommend a color other than black and something rather plain. Gucci luggage may make you more of a target for theft. If your luggage is lost and it is black - it will join many more black, lost cases. Black is the most common color.

Posted by
13674 posts

Makes our battered, soft-sided bags sound unpretentious and adaptable! I knew there was a reason we liked 'em so much?

Posted by
5262 posts

Yup, unyielding and powerful is what I'm looking to be on a trip -- not! We Americans need hard sided luggage because otherwise nobody would know about our dominance. What a crock!

Posted by
1729 posts

A couple of years ago I was walking through the Venice train station, when someone banged into me with her hard-sided luggage. Instead of, oh, I don't know, apologizing, she yelled "watch where you are going!" I think the Washington Post has a point there.

Posted by
6950 posts

I don't know about assertive, but give me a good TravelPro 21" rolling soft sided bag any day. I have no desire to use hard sided luggage any longer.

Posted by
12972 posts

But what if you don't have any dominance trait to assert, what then?

Posted by
2916 posts

Must have been a slow news day for the WaPo. Typical "trending" story. Find someone who is allegedly an expert who says something is a trend, and then call it a trend.

Posted by
2927 posts

I've never wanted to be 'trendy' anyway.

Posted by
2526 posts

Do the paid "travel experts" travel? While my bag is three-dimensional it has no personality.

Posted by
2540 posts

all I can say is what a pile of shite. who comes up with this stuff.
I think the "etiquette" expert needs to remove their head from their arse and look at the real world.

Posted by
2540 posts

BTW I just bought some new hard sided luggage, nothing to do with being assertive but just more practical for my type of needs .
I can see the questions on various forums now,
should I buy hard sided luggage to appear more assertive or should I stick to my soft sided bags and feel a total loser.

Posted by
2329 posts

Great! My parents keep everything and still have a really cool set of early 1960s turquoise Samsonite hard luggage, complete with the most adorable (and useful) toiletry case that still magically smells like soap bars stolen from hotels and has old Disneyland tickets stuck around the mirror.

Posted by
5697 posts

Just bought a carry-on size hardside roller bag -- looking like MANY bags sold in European stores -- will report back in April whether I felt more powerful. Or smarter, or thinner, or richer. I got it because my old suitcase lost its handle and this one was $25 almost-new in (where else?) the thrift store.

Posted by
2916 posts

I can see the questions on various forums now,
should I buy hard sided luggage to appear more assertive or should I stick to my soft sided bags and feel a total loser.

This wins the Comment of the Week, hands down.

Posted by
11435 posts

People are buying more hard sided luggage because they believe it is stronger and looks stronger. It gives them a professional image of success and power because their bag is hard.. Silver is the popular color in hard sided professional bags.

Strangely, however, some of the cheapest bags being made are hard sided so you will see leisure travelers with them as well.

The technology being added to bags, in my opinion, is a gimmick and adds weight to the bags. Most are being marketing to Americans since most major U.S. airlines don't have carry on weight limits and they won't stop someone in business or first class taking on a heavier bag.

However, if you ask people who fix bags which they see more of, they will tell you hard sided bags. Dents, breaks and more.

As for Christopher Elliott, the person who wrote the article, I shake my head quite often when I read what he writes. I think his audience is upper middle class/wealthy individuals who aren't worried about rules or convenience. Mostly business travelers and wealthy politicians.

Posted by
2540 posts

Oh I got silver hard sided luggage, I must be really professional, powerful and successful. I can just imagine the lesser mortals with their soft sided inferior bags parting like the Red sea to make way as I walk through the airport . My head will be high and I will allow no eye contact with those with inferior bags.

Posted by
6876 posts

Rimowa luggage (high-end German brand) has always been hard-sided to my knowledge. It's clearly a preference and niche. I liken it to Volvos (particularly older models) - many people like the "boxy" look and are prepared to pay for perceived sturdiness. Some hard sided luggage can be incredibly light weight - I picked one up for fun (I think it was some ultra light Samsonite model) and it was much lighter than any I've seen. I was really surprised - it was a bit counterintuitive. My first luggage (ever) was hard sided and it lasted me a long, long time...it was quite heavy but it didn't have a cheap, crappy zipper and didn't tear (it did get scratched though)...nothing inside that was breakable ever broke. I would only buy a hard sided luggage again if it it super light (lighter than the soft luggage I have) and has a state-of-the-art lock/security/tracking system.

Posted by
8293 posts

Unclegus from Edinburgh is my favourite uncle!

Posted by
18374 posts

Is hard sided luggage more assertive or is it just the people who buy it who are more assertive (I might say "pushy", like the person in inbsig's Venice example)?

Actually, it's kind of a vicious circle. You pack so much that the suitcase is too heavy to carry on, so you have to give it to the gorillas. Then you are worried about damage, so you buy a really strong one, and it's heavy, so you need wheels. Pack light to begin with, in a light, softsided bag. Then you can carry it on and protect it.

Posted by
173 posts

"a really cool set of early 1960s turquoise Samsonite hard luggage, complete with the most adorable (and useful) toiletry case"

Christa, I traveled for years with such a set! My husband & I shared the big one, the 2 kids shared the medium one, and I packed everyone's toiletries in the small "train case". Since each of us had 1/2 of a bag, we were packing light back then! They were our only luggage until the Travelpro wheelies were invented and my husband insisted that we carry on.

The mirrored lid to the toiletry case broke on a trip to Cozumel in 1987 and glass went everywhere. I wish I had kept them. Every now and then I see a set in a vintage store and am tempted to buy it to store my yarn stash and crochet supplies.