Thursday, September 9, 2010

Questions Answered: Luggage

Luggage. For most people luggage is used 3-4 times a year. For flight crews, it's daily.

Being a regularly used item, most flight crew members don't take luggage choice lightly. Depending on if they are a pilot or cabin crew, the bags might differ.

Pilots, for the most part, need to carry along a huge bag called a flight kit. It weighs a good 20 pounds and is filled with maps, charts and reference books required for flight. The easiest way to carry it along is on a hook attached to the main luggage. Flight attendants don't "need" a hook, but many buy bags with them to carry a smaller bag with their manuals and other small items.

The most common size of the main piece of luggage is 22 inches. Why? Because that's the biggest size that will fit wheels first in most mainline aircraft. If you NEVER commute and rarely deadhead, then a 26 inch bag can be used. I use a 22 inch bag.

My first bag I bought was a 22 inch Delsey bag from JcPenny for like $90. It was great...except no hook. It had a strap. After my first flight I bought a hook and rigged it up with the existing latch. It worked decently.

After about a month I wanted something more substantial.

I stopped by the crew luggage store and bought a $149 Luggage Works 22 inch bag. It came with a hook. Very durable and a 3 year warranty. Lucky for me any repairs needed could be done on site.

The bag worked great for about a year. Then the telescoping handle broke off while out on a trip. I was pissed. Pain to carry it around the bag, flight kit and laptop hand.

The repair shop fixed it and a worn out leather handle. About six months later the telescoping handle broke again. Fast forward to last week when the entire back frame that supports the telescoping handle started to separate from the bag....while out on TDY! The root cause was the inner frame (plastic!) cracked...bad.

I dropped it off at the repair shop and picked up my back up Delsey bag from home. I'm not sure if the repair will be under warranty. Either way I'm likely going to invest in a heavy duty bag, a Luggage Works/ Purdy Neat Stealth ( click here for a description and photo).

The Stealth bag has an all metal frame and a non telescoping handle. The handle is a solid piece of metal. The bag looks like it can be a weapon. I've asked around and those that have the bag swear by them and that they last 5+ years. It's pricey.....almost $300, but if it last 5 years then it's only $60 or so a year...little more than a buck a week. Plus it's tax deductible!

Beyond the luggage and flight kit, I carry a laptop bag or Ipad bag depending on how long I will be gone. For 2-4 day trips my Ipad works fine. For longer (such as this TDY) I carry my laptop. To keep the bags light I pack the chargers in my suitcase. I also have a set of chargers that live at home and a set that travel. After forgetting my laptop charger for the second time, it was worth the $70 for a spare. Since they all "live" in my luggage, it's never forgotten. Even then I pack a spare cell phone charger...cause ya never know.


  1. Hello - long time Chicago reader here. First, congrats on the baby !
    This post caught my eye because I am needing to replace my standard carry-on. I am a frequent business traveler (about 1 round trip a week). Do you think you could fit a business suit into one of these ? Is something like this overkill ? My bags tend to last about 2 years, so I'm trying to find something a little tougher.


    Don Rieck
    Chicago, IL
    don * at* theriecks *dot* com

  2. Hmm fitting a business suit would be tight....would have to steam out a few wrinkles. They do have a suiter model ( that should fit a suit fine. Overkill possibly, but it's an investment that will last a while. Additionally if you ever end up in a bad part of town you can use it as a weapon....swinging thing against someone will surely leave a mark!

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  4. Easy Air Luggage has been in the business for close to four years now, we are luggage wholesalers and provide you with the cost effective prices on high quality luggage sets with Luggage Bag Shop Broward.


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