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Suitcase

Hi all - I know this has been rehashed many different ways but in reviewing everything I am getting confused.

I will be traveling to Italy this fall on American Airlines and want to do carry on only. My bag is still the old 24" so I know I need to replace. American's height is 22" but I see many say 20" for International Carry-on. I would like to buy a bag that will serve me on multiple trips for many airlines. Where would I find the 20" regulation coming into play?

Also - I was a TravelPro girl for years but my last case has not held up to their former quality (I hit my first one with my car and still put another few years on it). Suggestions on brands? I have back issues so I need a rolling bag and will stay away from spinners due to all the cobblestones of Europe.

Posted by
1625 posts

This is the one we purchased and loved it! It is a spinner, but we had no issues in Italy or Paris. I love the hard case because no worries about rain or splashes in the street, just wipe off and good to go. Also very light weight and these babies held a ton of stuff ! Very durable, we will be taking them with us on our next trip in the spring.

https://www.amazon.com/Samsonite-Luggage-Fiero-Spinner-size/dp/B01B55PQ1Q?ie=UTF8&tag=myknolinofmrp-20

States "unavailable" but you may be able to find them on another website...great ratings and reasonable price.

Posted by
23472 posts

The 20" hits many discount airlines and US airlines flying the small commuter jets. The 20" is safer all the way around because many so called 22" bag do not include the measurement of wheels and handle. Check a recent Consumer Report article on this subject. Very few 22" bags were 22". And you are going to have a difficult time finding a two wheel bag. Spinners have taken over the world. Start with the discount places like TJ Maxx, Rose, etc. I truthfully don't find the brand as important as the features of the bag.

Posted by
2714 posts

You can find the size you need and high quality as well. Check out Briggs and Riley, Tumi. We just traveled to Euroipe and our bags were 21 to 22 inches and all our flights were sold out. For the most part if your bags look the right size chances are they won't be measured. We flew United to Paris and back from Madrid. American Airlines is also, well, American. They will not likely impose international requirements but check the website. Whatever bags you bring, do whatever it takes to get priority boarding. We saw many folks having to gate checks bags as those bins fill fast, even on the big planes.

First - check out the baggage size allowance for your airline. Many international flights allow 22". The 20" allowance is more for flights within a particular country. (I.e. France). If you have any doubts - go with a 20". The RS luggage is good quality. There are many good choices. Eagle Creek has the load warrior. Ebags.com brand luggage is good quality. There is also Eddie Bauer - Travex collection. LL bean may have some good choices. What is your budget? Anything in the $90 - $150 range is normally adequate quality. For RS luggage - wait for a sale if you can. The Thanksgiving sale period is normally a good time to buy luggage. Have fun!

Posted by
89 posts

I have the High Sierra Ultimate Access bag and totally love it. Two wheels, not a spinner, 20 inches, very sturdy, and can be converted to a backpack as well. Fits all I need for a 2 or 3 week RS tour.

Posted by
2455 posts

I also now use the Rick Steves Rolling Carry-on, and am very happy with it. (RS bags periodically go on a 20% sale.) Pretty light when empty. Has a zipper that will expand the carrying capacity by 2 inches as you accumulate stuff in your travels. I also use as my personal item a Samsonite Tote that slides over the handle of the carry-on, holds quite a bit, has outside pockets, etc. I bought it on deep discount at Macy's. Most discount airlines in Europe do not allow an additional personal item (one carry-on means one item only) and may have low weight limits for carry-ons. In those cases, I would use my tote as my carry on, and then check my RS carry-on bag.

Posted by
2788 posts

I have gone to Europe for 14 of the last 15 years with only a RS carry-on sized suitcase with two wheels and have never had a problem with any airlines about size. Only once did I have a problem and that was for weight which we solved by putting all of my reading material into my wife's "purse". RS has a selection of both older bags and now some new models of varying sizes so once you determine your size requirements, check out the RS Shop Online web page. As someone mentioned, there are sales occasionally.

Posted by
4174 posts

Be sure to check the specs for weight. Some bags will say they are light, but when you look at the specs, they are not. Bags with 4 wheels are usually heavier than those the same size with 2. Hard shell bags are usually heavier than fabric ones. Bags that have wheels and convert to a backpack also usually are heavier. I'd keep the bag weight to 6 pounds or less.

Having both fabric and hardshell, I find fabric bags better because they can be smushed around to fit where they need to go so long as they are not stuffed too full. I have a Lipault Paris 22" spinner. It's a French brand. I have never had any issues with it on even the roughest of cobblestones. I just tilt it like it had only 2 wheels. I also have an Eagle Creek 20" Load Warrior Duffle with 2 large wheels. Both are fabric.

I find the Lipault easier to push, pull and generally move around because of the 4 wheels. I find the Eagle Creek easier to lift into the overhead bins on planes, and to put on the overhead racks on trains because it has multiple handles and places you can grab it to lift it up. Lipault also has 2-wheeled bags and Eagle Creek also has spinners.

I use baggallini totes as my "personal item." The ones I own have a double zipper pocket that fits over the double rod extension handle when both zippers are unzipped. Note that these do not work on single rod T-shaped extension handles.

Take a metal measuring tape with you when you shop in person to check the measurement from the floor to the top of the extension handle. As others have said, the specs often do not include the wheels and handle. Also measure the width with it on its side and the depth with it on its back.

Posted by
65 posts

Thanks all! Looks like if I keep it to 22" that I should be fine. With my limited time off I don't get to do flights inside the countries - just short train rides and it will be another 10 or 15 years before I have more time and I'll need a new bag by then. I'm going to check at Ross and TJ Maxx this weekend to see what I can find. I like structure to my bags and was debating on hard side for "squishing" but I never thought about the rain! That would have saved me a few times checking when by bags were left on the tarmac in the snow! Is it any wonder doing 3 cities in 10 days I want to carry on?

Posted by
11613 posts

My 20" RS carryon has prevailed over cobblestones for 15 months total travel time.

Posted by
10359 posts

I recently bought a soft, two-wheel Lipault in Paris. Love it.
BTW, when I tilted a four-wheel to roll it on two-wheels, the sales staff said not to do it because it breaks the wheels.

Posted by
1097 posts

Ditto the RS Rolling Carry On, if you're just flying US airlines. The thing holds way more than you think it will, and I never even unzipped the expansion on our 16 day trip.

Posted by
65 posts

I have had horrible luck at the discount stores - nothing is the right size when I measure. Thinking about the RS roller but found a bag with the brand IT (IT World's Lightest 2 wheel bag) but there are no reviews. I would like to be able to check if necessary without worrying. Trying to keep my price point under $200.

Posted by
19170 posts

beware of wheeled bags. Many manufacturers state a bag dimension that is only the "packing" part of the bag and does not include wheels and handles. It's not unusual to see a 20" bag that is actually over 22". Be sure to measure it yourself.

I just bought an eTech Weekender Jr. (convertible bag), and it will fit just about any dimension limit I've seen, particularly if you don't overpack it).

Posted by
10359 posts

IT was panned on flyertalk.com. A lot of complaints about lack of durability.

Posted by
3262 posts

I use the 20" Rick Steves bag as well and like it very much. It holds all I need and would hold more even without the expansion if I wanted to pack that much. I don't want a bag for life as I end up giving my bags away so I can try a new one, but this is my 2nd RS bag as I like the simple organization and their light weight. The 20 inch bag has worked well for the year that I've had it....and has held up to being checked as well, which I prefer to do unless I have a tight connection on the way to my destination.

Hey Yoda! $200 is plenty for a durable bag. I have both an eagle creek and a RS rolling bag. I'm satisfied with both. LL Bean has only one bag that I'm interested in. I will look it up for you. You can trust LL Bean quality as well as ebags.com or Eddie Bauer Travex collection. I have Ebags stuff and it's very good quality.
LL Bean - Quickload medium Upright Rolling Case. About $169.

Posted by
15705 posts

Eagle Creek has a no matter what guarantee on its bags.

I've owned at least 10 of their bags over the years and numerous accessories and never had a problem.

Quality of workmanship is more important than the warranty. After all, how much help is the warranty if your bag breaks, you're half way around the world and still have two weeks to go on your trip?

Posted by
513 posts

I will second the recommendation by Letezia for the Samsonite Spinner. In fact, I have the exact same bag in the same color as her illustration and I could not be more positive about the bag! It certainly warrants your checking it out. I don't know where you live, but if you are anywhere near a Kohl's store you can usually find these bags there to examine. The empty bag is extremely light weight.

Posted by
19170 posts

The empty bag [Samsonite 20" Fiero Spinner] is extremely light weight.

Samsonite's website lists that bag at 7½ lb (Amazon says it's shipping weight is 7 lb?). Still, even 6 something pounds is not "extremely light weight"., it's not even "light weight". That's over half the weight of my bag, packed for 3 weeks!

Posted by
65 posts

Loving the e-Bags 22" and the reviews say it is true to size - so going to give it a shot! I really like a structured bag over a duffle as it is just easier for me to pack. Thanks for all the input!

Posted by
92 posts

Limits on size and weight: This is the first time this has happened to us. Last month we flew to France on KLM and returned on Air France. Both flights booked through Delta Airlines. The Delta website stated a carry-on limit of 12 kg. (~26 pounds). But at both check-ins they calculated the weight of each 20" suitcase AND the personal item which they put on the scale together. This included the not yet emptied refillable water bottle in an outside pocket. They did not weigh us or our clothing. But this weight limit held whether you were a 110# small person or a 200# larger person. So the problem for us was not the size of the carry-on suitcase (20" Rick Steves roller) but the combined weight of both suitcase and personal item. If we had known this ahead of time, we could have pared down a bit. As it was we were both a tad over and were required to check our suitcases. Fortunately, the bags arrived at the final destination on the same plane we did. Perhaps everyone else knows this already, but we travel overseas only about once a year and it was a surprise to us. We have never had our personal items weighed before.
-Nancy

Posted by
65 posts

That is surprising! I flew Delta last fall to France and was never questioned on weight at all.

Posted by
4174 posts

Maybe the difference is that although those KLM and Air France flights had a Delta flight number, they were KLM and Air France planes and not Delta "metal" as it is sometimes called. They are Delta partners.

So I'm thinking KLM and Air France could do what they like. I did see on the KLM website that the 26 pound (12kg) limit is for the combination of "1 hand baggage" and "1 accessory." Air France says the same thing with the same combined weight.

I guess we need to look at the details carefully when booking flights. Knowing which airline is actually operating the flight may be a bigger deal than it used to be, especially relating to carry-on baggage.

Posted by
14279 posts

Lo's assessment is correct about it being a Delta Code-share flight as opposed to Delta metal. You have to go by the rules of the airline that is flying the Code-share flight. I got caught out on a Delta code share flight on Alitalia. Fortunately it was coming back home but I had to scramble at the check-in counter to find my Kindle, charger cords and other things I had stashed in the suitcase for my flight. I learned a big lesson!

Posted by
1625 posts

Yoda- I have seen the IT brand at my local Marshalls, and I was seriously considering buying one but the styles my store carried were a bit too flashy and in looked like something a teenager would have. I like plane jane luggage.