Seasoned travelers have debated between soft and hard sided-luggage for years. Ah, but what do people who spend their career traveling prefer? Consumer Reports notes that the bulk of the American market consists of soft-sided luggage.
Soft-sided luggage is generally constructed from woven nylon fabrics that have a bit of give yet are long lasting. Airline blogger and airline pilot Patrick Smith reported that barely everyone on a US airline crew prefers “soft-sided roll-aboard bags.” Of course, he also notes that his luggage “is a 24-inch model from Luggage Works, a specialty luggage company that caters to airline personnel.” He adds that most of the company’s customers are flight attendants and pilots, but any interested party can also purchase luggage from the business.
A blogger and licensed pilot from Munich, Germany, Madeleine Schneider-Weiffenbach, echoes the sentiment. She told the media: “I prefer soft-sided luggage as it’s less heavy. My boyfriend loves his hard-sided luggage.” Since she often travels with her baby, she likes more versatile luggage.
Her preferred travel bag is actually her child’s GUCCI diaper bag. She states: “As a carry-on suitcase, I love the one by TUMI.” She usually buys new luggage every two years.
Smith also said that roll-aboard, four-wheeled roll-aboard luggage, often called “spinner bags,” are becoming “increasingly common.” Unfortunately, this style of bag comes with potential “luggage” of its own that no one expected. Smith admits:
“The problem with these bags is that people have a tendency to hold them off to one side, sometimes at arm’s length.” He continues: “Every person walking like this now takes up the lateral space of two people.” Too many traveler forget that while politeness is key on a plane, it should also extend to the airport as well.
Smith explains: “Airport corridors are crowded and narrow enough as it is. Add thousands of passengers into such congested spaces, each hauling their little outstretched sidecar, and you’ve created the worst kind of obstacle course.”
Marina Pettersson, a Swedish pilot, likes “half soft-sided” luggage, which offers more support than standard soft-sided bags, but still has more flexibility than standard hard-sided bags. While she confesses that she is still shopping around for perfect luggage, she has come across things that definitely work for the time being.
Pettersson says: “My pilot bag at the moment is a backpack from Samsonite and when traveling as a passenger I use one from a Swedish brand called Douchebag.” Pettersson generally purchases new bags every year. She complains that regardless of all the good reviews she reads about luggage, the bags do not always perform as well as expected.
Perhaps the old axiom is true. Perhaps you really do only get what you pay for. Sometimes, if you want true quality, you simply have to pay for it. In a lifestyle full of travel, one must make the type of investment that will pay off in the long run. Smith concludes: “Brands like TravelPro also are popular, but you won’t get the same durability.”