Carry-on luggage

 

You have probably noticed airlines are cracking down on carry-on luggage size. Between hiring contractors to size bags in the 11-6-14-2security line and not-so-consistent size limitations, it can be a confusing world out there for people carrying on!

If you are looking for a carry-on for flying primarily in the US, it’s best to purchase a bag that fits into the 22”x9”x14”. A few other things to keep in mind:

  • Quality construction
  • Weight
  • Size
  • Roominess
  • Handle length
  • Good pockets and dividers
  • Spinner wheels
  • Easy to navigate in crowded airports

For more details on how to choose the best carry-on, see my Guidelines for Choosing a Rollaboard Suitcase.

Here are my  most popular posts about carry-ons:

Obviously, I know what I consider to be the best luggage brands. If I had to pick my top three, it would be Victorinox (pictured), Briggs and Riley, and Ogio. However, I was very interested in what my readers had to say. So I asked what their favorite carry-on luggage brand was and why.  Below you’ll find a list of common luggage brands, and beneath that are their responses from the original post.

Common luggage brands

 

READER CHOICES 

dave said,

Briggs & Riley International Carry-On Expandable Wide-body Upright has been my favorite. There is always room for one more thing and of course, the lifetime guarantee

 

Shari said,

Victorinox Werks. The 22in has held up well on so many international flights – and the customer service is great. It’s well worth the investment!

 

Nicholas said,

My go to is the Tumi Tegra-Lite Continental Carry-on. The bag is super light weight, durable, and can easily fit a weeks worth of clothes. Expensive but well worth it.

 

Claire said,

For my usual 2-3 day trips the Travelpro 18″ Expandable Business Rollaboard is perfect. I like that it’s slightly smaller than the standard 22″ so I can usually squeeze it in spaces where others might not fit, but still has plenty of space for everything I need. I’ve had it for a year of nearly weekly use and it still looks new.

 

tiffany l said,

the swiss gear sets you can get at costco normally include a good carryon option!

 

Jessica said,

I love my Tumi Voyageur International Carry on. Since it is soft sided with no bells and whistles I could fit a LOT of clothes in it (easy to carry on a week’s worth of clothes for my trip to Paris). I have other Tumi carry on style bags that have more of a frame, or a laptop sleeve but those take up so much space or add extra weight.

I was able to carry on my recent trip to Paris and I’ve carried it on domestically as well. The only down side is that it is 15″ wide so technically it it too wide but it sure looks smaller than what a lot of other folks are carrying on.

I also have the Tumi Derby Business Tote in the matching color. This is my “personal item” that I can throw my ipad, purse, magazine, etc into and it slides onto the handle of the suitcase for easy movement through the airport.

 

Michelle said,

I like my swiss gear expandable rollaway – it doesn’t have too many pockets or dividers inside which I find allows me to cram more things inside!

 

Ty said,

Delsey…. wide variety of styles and colors, simple, roomy interior and excellent value for cost. My old, old, old Delsey Aero hardside, two-wheeled carry-on (which style they don’t make anymore, woe is me) has seen me through nearly 10 years of domestic and TATL journeys with never a complaint or incident.

 

Khar said,

I like my Eagle Creek carry on bag. Although I usually travel with my Deuter backpack, if I’m traveling for business or need to carry a suit for my husband, I use the Eagle Creek. It’s durable, fits several packing cubes and I like the retractable luggage tag.

 

Santastico said,

I love my Tumi Alpha. It is classy, durable and holds a week of travel with no problems.

 

Cathy said,

The shop where I bought my Briggs & Riley Domestic Carry-On Expandable Upright (Model U122CX)repairs damaged luggage for many of the major airlines (both domestic and international). They repair hundreds of bags every week. The owner said B&R is the best. Tumi is the worst of the higher priced bags.

 

Jose said,

My favorite is the Tumi T-tech. It is 2-wheeled and just slightly bigger than the allowed size. So it often sneaks by the sizers.

 

Jim M said,

I use a small roller from the Rick Steves travel store. It is light as a feather and is OK even in Europe.

 

Matt said,

I like my Pierre Cardin set from macys, it’s been super durable and traveled the world with me!

 

Inge said,

Delsey – it is lightweight and very durable. the variety of colors of the bag also a big hit as we can spot it faster.

 

Darth Chocolate said,

Zero Halliburton Geo Aluminum. Small size can come with spinner wheels, will fit into the smallest bag check bins (I have successfully put this bag in a CRJ overhead) and is virtually indestructible (for when you absolutely have to check or gate check). Pricey, but worth it to me.

 

Trevor said,

I like Tumi, it’s classy and durable.

 

Amanda S said,

I have a Travelpro Maxlite 20″ expandable that I got on Amazon last fall for $70 after American ripped the top handle of my old bag. The price was great, and it has yet to show any wear. I had no problems carrying it on in Europe flying Lufthansa and Norwegian.

 

AlohaDaveKennedy said,

The best for me is my old black Samsonite carryon spinner. I own alot of luggage, but it is my favorite for travelling light. It has been everywhere -from Alaska to Australia and over 100 countries in between.

 

Jon said,

Tumi – stylish and they last forever.

 

Stephen said,

Ebags, have one of their backpacks and it’s been going strong for ten years.

 

DaninSTL said,

I like my Delsey bag a lot. I’m sure there are better but it seems to be light, easy to roll, even through snow. I just like it.

 

Sara said,

Eagle Creek HC2 Hovercraft expandable carry-on with their No Matter What warranty

 

ls said,

Kirkland signature carry-on from costco. very solid and price is <$100.

 

Kay said,

I’m partial to my Tumi t tech cargo continental carry on.

 

todd s. said,

I received the Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Hybrid IATA Cabin Multiwheel as a gift, and I swear by it. it is everything I’d ever want in a carry-on bag. If I could marry it, I would.

 

Isaac said,

I love my Tom Bihn Tristar, i use it for all my trips

 

Geoff O. said,

I love my KoBold Zendo 20″ Carryon Suiter. Its holding up very well after 3+ years of extensive travel. The exterior material is extremely durable (salesperson used a rasp to prove this prior to purchase). The bright yellow wheels make it easy to spot after its pulled out from under a regional jet.

 

Semi-Precious said,

DELSEY it is!

 

Angie said,

I have a Delsey that I bought on a whim because I needed more luggage room and it’s been great! It’s lightweight and bright blue which I love.

 

Mighty Mouse said,

Tumi… from Costco.

 

Denise L said,

I have a Travelpro 20″ that I love. I bought it on sale and haven’t regretted it.

 

Erik said,

I love my Briggs & Riley 20″ international widebody carry-on but am now a bit hesitant to take it when traveling on certain airlines since the width probably exceeds the sizer (even though it falls within the linear inch limit). Well worth the $$$ if you find it on a decent sale. My bag has been to 4 continents over a few years and still looks great.

 

Brian said,

My Travelpro 20 inch gets on every plane except the small regional jets. For the money, I think this is. The best

 

PittDoc said,

Rimowa (Classic Flight, IATA 22″). Ordered from Germany before widely available in USA and worth the price. Metal construction but lighter than it looks and oh, so, durable. Now with over 600,000 miles on it. Never have to worry about the contents. In full disclosure, the telescoping handle did finally wear out last week, but only a $58 repair. An investment, but one that has paid off.

 

AndyTLe said,

Victorinox is my go to brand. Make sure you the line you’re buying has a lifetime warranty.

 

SJ said,

Samsonite Lift Spinner is my favorite.

 

Danny said,

Travelpro. The lightest and easiest to travel with

 

Susan said,

I have to agree with the small roller carry-on from Rick Steves travel store.

 

Rachel said,

The Lo & Sons OG – it’s chic and lightweight with a really well thought out design. It’s small enough to fit under the seat in front of you and has so many awesome pockets, including padded pockets for your laptop and tablet. It’s large enough to hold a couple days worth of clothes, and even has a pocket to keep your shoes separate. Bonus: it is professional enough to bring to a client meeting without looking like you’re bringing your luggage with you. (Although please use a packing cube to prevent your undies from flying out when you pull out your laptop!)

 

MARTIN HENNER said,

I note you did not include a favorite, Rick Steves, available from his website and also at some AAA offices.

 

Nancy said,

KIPLING! i own several
Industrial zippers, lightweight nylon that is washable
Multitude of colors
Fashionable and practical

 

Pam said,

My carry-on is devoted to carrying on the tools of my trade. Cameras, lenses, hard drives, laptop, more lenses, batteries and more lenses. No room for clothes. Thinktank International Roller is my favorite.

 

phill gold said,

Tumi. Any and all. Call me a brand-name snob, but these bags last and last. Thanks

 

Joe-SC1 said,

I recommend Tortuga as the best carry-on luggage brand. But it’s not a rollaboard. It is a travel backpack designed to fit 22″x14″x9″ exactly. Good for longer (and primarily not business) trips, you carry it on board and then wear it around your destination. It was great for five days in Spain earlier this year. They are also developing two smaller versions for shorter trips.

 

SusieP said,

I’ve loved every Tumi I’ve ever had, both carry-on and checked. Durable, good-looking, great customer service.

 

DJ said,

i like the Fit carry-on from costco. it has a wet compartment at the bottom for shoes & towels. soft top material all around, 2 inner compartment and very light.

 

Angela said,

Love love love my sampsonite roller bag. It’s going on 7 years strong now! Fits in even the economy airlines’ overhead and rolls super smoothly. Holds everything I need for several days. So worth what I paid for it.

 

Marjorie said,

International Traveller Worlds Lightest Luggage. a carryon is less than 4 lbs, you can pack flat without bars down the middle, good organization and use of space.

 

Gib said,

Tumi T Tech carry on or Alpha Carry On!

 

Sherry said,

Love the Tumi Tegra-Lite Continental Carry-on! It’s a bit pricey, but worth it!

 

Eddy said,

I’m a fan of the Tumi Continental Alpha (aka “the Fat Tumi”). Although it seems wider than your average carry on, it always seems to fit in the overhead. Plus it’s rugged and durable on those rare occasions when I need to check the bag.

 

MrsB said,

I don’t care much for the brand, it’s a carryon so you should be able to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged yourself. What’s important is the weight. So many people (women) drag bags onto the plane that they can’t lift above their heads (then expect help to place it, a whole ‘nother rant), and part of the problem is that some of these so-called carryons weight 4 or more kilos, when the weight limit is 7kg! (that’s about 12 pounds to you – I know it’s poorly enforced, but it does exist) The bag has to be less than 2kg to start with or you’ll end up with a 10kg or more bag when you fill it! (which BTW would be very dangerous if it fell out on someone’s head)

Thus I swear by Samsonite’s Featherlite range. Can’t find the same model as what I’m using now as it’s so old and barely worn, despite me using it at least 8 times per year. This is the closest to it.

http://www.samsoniteaustralia.com/50cm-upright-499.html#.U88BxPmSySo

 

Pam said,

Briggs & Riley– the warranty can’t be beat.

 

nita bah said,

I’ve only had Samsonite bags that I bought at a
Big discount from tjmaxx. I heard Tumi is amazeballs

 

Tiago said,

The Rimowa Salsa Air 22″ is my all time favorite carry on. It fits the new size restrictions. It’s very lightweight, quite sturdy, has a TSA lock, and the four wheels are smooth as silk. I take it on every trip around the world. It’s pricy but it’s worth every penny.

 

Deborah said,

Rick Steve’s rolling carry on bag is light weight, easy to maneuver and I carry it on for trips of 2-3 weeks at a time. Durable, too! It still fits for carry on under the latest guidelines.

 

Jay said,

After much consideration, i spent weeks if not months on and off looking every so often to see what to get, in the end I went with the Tumi Alpha 2 Continental 4 wheel carry on. I managed to save $100 from Amazon email sign up which was just discontinued, I was lucky to have received the 20% or $100 off, no where else was having an sales or promos. So I took what I could get.

 

Cristin said,

Samsonite has been my go-to for years. I just “upgraded” to the lightweight hard sided spinner luggage by Samsonite at Costco and after one trip it was crushed and cracked. I am so disappointed. I will definitely be looking for another brand now.

 

Jimmy said,

Tumi by far is the best luggage I’ve owned. I work for the airlines and I see what happens to luggage. Travelpro usually falls apart after a year, Tumi will replace your wheels for free. I’ve owned my T-Tech for over 2 years and it still works great, I had to replace the wheels once.

 

Abhishek D said,

Rimowa

 

Alexa said,

I have had a Briggs and Riley that I have had for several year that I bought on sale at Edwards Luggage. (Bay Area) I love it, although I wish it had more internal pockets. I also always include my double sided Eagle Creek packing cubes.

 

Tu said,

I have always liked Samsonite, I currently have 2 spinner carry-ons that I rotate between when I travel. I also have Samsonite overnight rolling laptop bag that has endured my business travel over the last 2 years. I recently was introduced to Delsey, a great brand as well. I have a Delsey quilted rolling underseat bag that is great for shorter trips and holds a surprising amount of items. I tried Victorinox bag mentioned in the post, I didn’t like the monopole handle. When I put my Samonsite laptop bag on top of it, the laptop bag kept flipping around. very annoying when trying to navigate through the airport.

 

Felicia said,

I’m enjoying my victorinox 4-wheel bag because it doesn’t lean like my old briggs & riley transcend carryon. If you’re switching to a spinner, you have to take a bit more control of your bag, but it’s worth it because there is zero strain running or rolling it through the airport. Avolve 2.0 22″ Spinner.

 

Amy said,

I swear by my Delsy– it’s seven years old, so the style is no longer available- I checked to buy an additional one when hubby moved to Korea and wanted to take it with him! It’s help up amazingly well for all the over-the-seat/under the plane abuse it’s taken from weekly travel since 2007. Lightweight and great wheels- can’t ask for a better combination!

 

Allen said,

ebags motherlode mini 21″ Fits all I need at a more reasonable price.

 

Brenda said,

I’m a fan of the Heys X-Case because it’s so light.

 

HunnerWoof said,

I know this sounds silly, but after owning some pretty expensive bags (Tumi, Samsonite, etc.), I bought a $99 Kirkland (Costco brand) and it’s been awesome. It has the requisite expanding features, removable hanging garment component and even a segregated shoe section to keep dirt off my clothes. It fits in just about every overhead (other than E135-45 and CRJ) wheels or handle first, and on its side to save space. And on the instances where I’ve checked it, it’s durable and held up like a champ. Wheel function is smooth and quiet and the handle has taken a beating and still works. More money doesn’t always equal better.

 

Rob said,

For the money, you can’t beat the Ricardo Beverly Hills carry on. It’s not going to turn any heads but it’s well built and only costs $50 at Costco. I haven’t returned mine, but they have a great return policy should you ever need to.

 

Lady Light Travel said,

My absolute favorite is the LL Bean Quickload Convertible Travel Pack. It converts from backpack mode to shoulder bag. At a mere 2 pounds 2 oz it is one of the lightest bags out there (great for Lufthansa). I’ve hauled it all over Africa and found it to be waterproof and durable. I got the Quickload after my eBags blew apart after only 3 years of use.
When I’m on business and carrying heavy paperwork I go for the Rick Steves rolling backpack. It is 20″ tall which fits within European requirements. It is only 5.5 pounds, which is still light. The bag has held 3 weeks worth of clothing and the backpack mode was great for post-holing through the snow during the polar vortex last year.
Both bags have backpack straps that hide into a zippered compartment.

 

Ismaele said,

Target store plastic bag. Strongly made, perfect for carrying on my lunch and other snacks for the flight. The best part: its disposable I highly recommend it.

 

Stephanie said,

I LOVE my Victorinox WT 4.0 22″ spinner. I purchased it from eBags, and the first trip I took with it, 2 of the 4 wheels broke off (I fly on a lot of regional jets that require gate-check). eBags immediately sent a new one, and the original must have been a bad bag, because I haven’t had any further problems (in about 4 months of weekly travel). Victorinox offers a lifetime warranty that covers airline damage and wheels, and I wouldn’t recommend buying a spinner without that. My only complaint with it is that the handle could extend a little further. I had to give up a laptop bag because it was too tall when stacked on the suitcase, and it pinched my fingers (it had a vertical orientation and a hard back).

Prior to my Victorinox I used a Travelpro Walkabout Lite 22″ (2 wheels), and the zippers started to give out, and part of the handle broke after about six months of weekly use.

 

whereisrahul said,

I know this is not a fancy bag but I have used the Kirkland (Costco) 22″ roller for 12 years. I’m only on my third one, and that’s with over 150k miles flown per year. They’re sturdy, have good zippers and I can use it for a 5 day trip w/no problem, and that includes carrying my C-Pap inside it.

 

Phxbne said,

My favorite is a no longer made skyway that has two separate sections….have my eye on some Briggs and Riley though….

 

Got Cake? said,

Tumi. Hard wearing. I own several.

 

AnEmpoweredWoman said,

My Samsonite 1910 spinner carry-on lasted 12 years of heavy travel. A wheel split two weeks ago. I didn’t have time to replace over the last weekend before heading back out on Sunday, so I was stuck taking it. It rolled, but sounded horrible and was difficult to maneuver. I loved the set up and loved the ability to get 5 days of professional/suits into that one suitcase, so picking one was a huge choice for me, and I wanted something to last. Yesterday, after a lot of research and shopping, I chose the Victorionox WT 22″ spinner with 8 wheels. It was on sale at Macy’s and I consider it an investment. I like that I can take the suiter out. It was a toss-up with the Tumi Alpha II or T-Tech, or the Victorionox Alove. I look forward to taking it out today to see how well it performs! The brand and reputation sold me.

 

Be sure to check out my page with products I recommend for travel!

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