Skip to Content

Do Airlines Prefer Hard Or Soft Luggage? The Top Picks For Each

Do Airlines Prefer Hard Or Soft Luggage? The Top Picks For Each

Do Airlines Prefer Hard Or Soft Luggage? The Top Picks For Each

A crucial question that often pops up in the minds of air travelers is: “Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage?” It’s an essential aspect to consider when preparing for a trip, as it has implications on factors like the safety of your belongings and the ease of travel. This comprehensive guide will answer this critical question and suggest the top 5 picks for each luggage category to help you make the best choice.

Airlines’ Preferences: Hard vs. Soft Luggage

Factors Influencing Airlines’ Preferences

Several factors influence airlines’ preferences when it comes to luggage type. These factors include:

Durability and Protection: In addition to luggage with high durability and protection, airlines also prioritize luggage that is easy to pack. This factor is particularly crucial for fragile or valuable items.

Weight Restrictions: Airlines often have weight restrictions for checked-in and carry-on luggage. The weight of the luggage itself can impact the overall weight allowed for passengers’ belongings.

Flexibility: The ability to pack more items or squeeze the luggage into tight spaces is vital, especially when flights are fully booked, or cabin space is limited.

Security Screening: The ease of security screening procedures is another aspect airlines consider. Luggage allowing quick and efficient inspection can streamline the airport security process.

Hard Luggage: Pros & Cons

When choosing the right luggage for your travels, hard luggage is a popular option that offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of hard luggage to help you make an informed decision.


Enhanced Protection: One of the most significant advantages of hard luggage is its superior protection for your belongings. Hardshell suitcases are made from durable materials like polycarbonate or ABS, resistant to scratches, impacts, and rough handling during transit. This ensures that your delicate items, electronics, and souvenirs are safeguarded throughout the journey.

Water-Resistant: Hardshell suitcases generally have better water resistance than soft luggage. You can use them in most situations even though they are not completely waterproof because they provide better protection against light rain and splashes.

Easy to Clean: You can easily clean and maintain the suitcase’s hard exterior. A simple wipe-down with a damp cloth is often enough to remove dirt and stains, making hard luggage a practical choice for frequent travelers.

Durability: Hard luggage tends to be more durable and long-lasting compared to soft luggage. It can withstand wear and tear better, making it a reliable option for frequent flyers or those embarking on adventurous trips.

Security Features: Most hardshell suitcases come with locks that meet TSA requirements or combination locks. With this, you can travel with peace of mind knowing that your belongings are protected.

Professional Look: Hard luggage often exudes a more polished and professional appearance. Whether you’re traveling for business or attending a formal event, a sleek hardshell suitcase complements your attire.


Weight: One of the main drawbacks of hard luggage is its weight. Since hardshell suitcases are constructed from heavier materials, they are often heavier than soft luggage. You may worry about this if your luggage is serious or your airline has strict weight specifications.

Less Flexibility: Unlike soft luggage, hardshell suitcases lack flexibility. They cannot be compressed or expanded to accommodate extra items, which can be a disadvantage if you plan to shop during your trip.

Limited Storage Pockets: Hard luggage usually has fewer external pockets compared to soft luggage. This means you may need more access to essential items during your journey, as everything needs to be packed inside the main compartment.

Less Likely to Fit in Tight Spaces: The rigid nature of hard luggage makes it less likely to fit into tight overhead compartments or under seats on certain airplanes. This can be an inconvenience during flights with limited cabin space.

Higher Cost: Hardshell suitcases, especially those with premium features, can be more expensive than their soft counterparts. An important consideration if you are on a tight budget.

Prone to Scratches: Although hard luggage tends to resist scratches, it is not completely scratch-proof. Over time, the exterior may accumulate minor scuffs and marks, affecting its pristine appearance.

Samsonite Centric Hardside Expandable

Samsonite Centric Hardside Expandable

  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 19.6 x 27.75 inches
  • Weight: 10.8 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Department: Unisex Adult
  • Model Number: 102690-1041
Best Checked In Luggage
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds

  • Fitted with premium 4-wheel multi-directional spinners
  • Luggage is made of a durable, lightweight hard ABS exterior 
  • Interior main compartment is fully lined 
  • Exterior features a top and side grab handle 
  • Equipped with a sturdy and user-friendly push-button 
Best Value For Money
Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable

Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable

  • Fully-lined interior with accessory pocket
  • Expands for extra packing capacity
  • Push-button recessed locking handle system
  • Double spinner wheels allow complete upright 360º mobility for free-weight rolling
  • Multiple modern color options
Best Hardside Luggage
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable

  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13 x 32 inches
  • Weight: 24 pounds
  • Color: Champagne
  • Department: unisex-adult
  • Model Number: F160-CHAMPAGNE

Soft Luggage: Pros & Cons

Soft luggage, typically made from materials like fabric or nylon, has advantages and disadvantages compared to hard luggage. Let’s explore the pros and cons of using soft luggage:

Pros of Soft Luggage:

Lightweight: Soft luggage is lightweight, making it one of its greatest advantages. Soft luggage tends to be lighter than hard luggage, which is beneficial when adhering to strict airline weight limits or when you want to minimize the overall weight of your luggage.

Flexibility and Expandability: Soft luggage has greater flexibility and can be expanded to accommodate extra items. This feature is particularly useful if you need to pack more than you initially planned, make purchases during your trip, and need additional space for souvenirs.

Easier to Store: Soft luggage is easier to store when not in use since it can be compressed and folded, requiring less storage space compared to bulky hard suitcases.

Better for Carry-On: Soft luggage is often preferred for carry-on purposes due to its ability to fit into tight overhead compartments or under seats. It’s also more versatile and easier to maneuver through crowded airport spaces.

External Pockets and Compartments: Many soft luggage options come with external pockets and compartments, providing easy access to essentials like travel documents, snacks, or electronic devices.

Resistant to Impact: While not as sturdy as hard luggage, modern soft luggage is designed to withstand typical travel impact and wear. High-quality soft luggage materials are tear-resistant and durable.

Cons of Soft Luggage:

Less Protection: Soft luggage provides less protection than hard luggage. In soft luggage, fragile or delicate items may be more susceptible to damage if handled roughly or if heavy items are placed on top.

Prone to Water Damage: Some soft luggage comes with water-resistant materials or coatings, but it is generally more susceptible to water damage than hard luggage. You might run into this problem traveling to a wet or rainy region.

Security Concerns: Soft luggage is easier to cut or tamper with compared to hard luggage, making it potentially less secure against theft or unauthorized access.

Shape Deformation: Soft luggage can lose shape over time, especially if it’s not packed efficiently. This deformation can make it more challenging to stack or store the luggage effectively.

Less Durable Outer Surface: While soft luggage is designed to withstand regular use, its outer fabric may show signs of wear and tear over time, affecting its appearance.

Limited Durability for Long-Term Use: Soft luggage may not last as long as hard luggage, particularly if exposed to frequent and rough handling during extensive travels.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

  • Carry on bag is a half pound lighter than Maxlite 4
  • This carry-on luggage has 4 wheel spinners 
  • Carry on suitcase expands up to 2 inch to maximize packing capacity
  • Carry-on luggage with spinner wheels
Rockland Journey Softside Upright Luggage

Rockland Journey Softside Upright Luggage

  • Product Dimensions: 18.11 x 11.42 x 29.92 inches
  • Weight: 9 pounds
  • Color: Charcoal
  • Department: Luggage
  • Model Number: F32-CHARCOAL
Samsonite Ascella X Softside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Ascella X Softside Expandable Luggage

  • PACKING Dimensions: 28.25" x 19.0" x 10.5"
  • WETPAK Zippered 
Rockland Fashion Softside Upright Luggage

Rockland Fashion Softside Upright Luggage

  • Upright: 20" x 13" x 7.5"
  • Tote bag: 13.5"x 11"x 5"
  • Meets these airlines' size restrictions
  • Inline skate wheels and stability bar
  • Telescoping handle
  • Ergonomic padded top and side grip handles
  • Fully lined
SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable

SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable

  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.5 x 29 inches
  • Weight: 11.1 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult 
  • Model Number: 6283202181

Airlines’ Preferences for Hard Luggage

While not all airlines prefer hard luggage, some favor this option due to its durability and protective features. Hard luggage is typically made of durable materials like polycarbonate or aluminum, offering better resistance to impacts and external forces. Moreover, hard-shell suitcases usually come with locks, which provide additional security.

Here are the top five picks for hard luggage preferred by airlines:

Samsonite Centric Hardside Expandable


Samsonite, a trusted name in the luggage industry, presents the Centric Hardside Expandable Luggage, meticulously crafted to cater to the needs of modern-day travelers. With its sleek design, impeccable quality, and focus on user convenience, this piece is bound to make any journey smoother.


  • Hardside construction for robust protection.

  • Expandable design for additional packing space.

  • Four spinner wheels for 360-degree mobility.

  • Classic black color for a professional and sophisticated look.

  • Designed for all adult travelers.

Best Checked In Luggage
Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 26 inches
  • Weight: 8.4 pounds
  • Color: Gray
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult
  • Model Number: 5705058


As a versatile and durable travel companion, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 24″ Hardside 4-Wheel Spinner Luggage is an excellent choice. With product dimensions of 18 x 10 x 26 inches, it provides ample space for your belongings while compacting enough for easy maneuverability. Weighing only 8.4 pounds, this luggage is lightweight and won’t add unnecessary bulk to your travels.

Men and women will find the luggage suitable since it is designed in a stylish gray color. Its unisex-adult department classification ensures that anyone can use it. This specific luggage has the model number 5705058.

With its four-wheel spinner system, this hardside luggage can be transported in all directions effortlessly. Also, the spinner wheels provide stability while navigating crowded airports or busy streets. The hardside construction protects your belongings, ensuring they stay safe during transit.

In short, the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out Of Bounds 24″ Hardside 4-Wheel Spinner Lightweight Checked Luggage from Kenneth Cole offers stylish design, functionality, and durability.


Best Value For Money
Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 11 x 20 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Color: Teal
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult
  • Model Number:‎ HS-20720-EX-360N


A versatile and stylish travel companion, the Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable Spinner Luggage protects from the elements. Its 13 x 11 x 20 inches dimensions offer ample packing space for your belongings. The luggage weighs 5.6 pounds, making it lightweight and easy to maneuver. Its teal color adds a pop of vibrancy, while the hardside construction ensures durability and protection for your items.

Designed for both men and women, this luggage is suitable for any traveler. You can expand the packing capacity when necessary with its expandable design. The model number for this particular luggage is HS-20720-EX-360N.

Whether you’re embarking on a short weekend trip or a longer journey, the Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable Spinner Luggage offers functionality, style, and convenience.


Best Hardside Luggage
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 12.75 inches
  • Weight: ‎2 pounds
  • Color: Tan
  • Department: ‎Unisex-adult
  • Model Number:‎ CanvasPUDuffleTn


A top-notch travel companion, Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels combines functionality, durability, and style. Travelers will find this black luggage an excellent choice due to its slim design and sleek color.

This suitcase has ample space for your belongings, which measures 9.5 inches x 15 inches x 22 inches. Weighing in at just 6.8 pounds, it is remarkably lightweight, ensuring more room for packing essentials. The hardside construction enhances the luggage’s durability, protecting your valuables during transit.

Aside from providing smooth 360-degree maneuverability, the spinner wheels also allow for quick and efficient maneuvering in crowded airports and busy streets. As well as this, you can pack more items when necessary thanks to its expandable feature.

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional traveler, the Samsonite Omni PC is a reliable and stylish luggage option that will accompany you on countless adventures.

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable


Having the right luggage can make traveling more enjoyable. A perfect travel companion, the Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage is made of durable and robust material. ABS material makes this luggage durable and protects your belongings from the rigors of travel.

Special Features:

The Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage has several special features that distinguish it from other luggage options. These include:

  • Expandable capacity: With the option to expand up to 2 inches, you’ll have more space for your belongings when needed.

  • Spinner wheels: Navigating through airports and other crowded areas is easy with the four spinner wheels.

  • Telescoping handle: The telescoping handle is adjustable, making it comfortable for travelers of all heights.

  • Interior organization: The luggage interior is divided into multiple compartments and pockets for easy organization.

Airlines’ Preferences for Soft Luggage

Soft luggage, often made of nylon or polyester, is preferred by airlines for its flexibility and lighter weight compared to hard-shell suitcases. Soft luggage is known for its expandability, allowing travelers to fit in more items and adapt to different storage spaces. A soft-shell suitcase generally costs less and fits more easily in an overhead compartment.

Here are the top five picks for soft luggage preferred by airlines:

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage


A top-notch choice for travelers seeking functionality, reliability, and durability. With its 4 spinner wheels and expandable design, this luggage offers optimal convenience and versatility.

A standout choice for travelers seeking reliability, lightweight, and versatility, the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage with 4 Spinner Wheels is the Travelpro Maxlite 5 softside expandable luggage with 4 spinner wheels.

With its well-designed features, including the four spinner wheels, expandable capacity, and ergonomic handles, this luggage offers convenience and ease of use. Read out our Travelpro Luggage Reviews to learn all goods and bads about Travelpro.

Also read out our differences of Travel Pro Vs Tumi and find out which of the brands is the best.

Special Features

  • Dimensions: The Travelpro Maxlite 5 measures 9 x 14.5 x 23 inches, providing ample space for your belongings while remaining within most airline size restrictions.

  • Lightweight Construction: Weighing in at just 5.4 pounds, this luggage minimizes the strain on your arms and shoulders, making navigating through airports and busy streets easier.

  • Expandable Capacity: As the luggage has an expandable feature, you can increase the storage capacity by up to 2 inches to carry additional souvenirs or items during your trip.

  • Spinner Wheels: The Travelpro Maxlite 5 features four multidirectional spinner wheels that provide effortless maneuverability and smooth gliding, making it easy to navigate tight spaces.

  • Softside Design: The softside construction of this luggage provides flexibility and enhanced packing efficiency. Furthermore, it can fit into tight spaces and overhead compartments more easily.

  • Ergonomic Handles: The top and side handles are ergonomically designed for maximum comfort, allowing you to lift and carry the luggage easily.

  • Multiple Compartments: Organize your belongings efficiently with this luggage’s main compartment, interior pockets, and front zippered pocket.

Rockland Journey Softside Upright Luggage


A hard-side upright luggage set made from 1200D polyester can withstand rough handling during travel due to its toughness and durability. The set includes three pieces of luggage – a 28-inch upright, a 24-inch upright, and a 19-inch carry-on bag, all in a charcoal color.

Special Features:

  • Packing is made easy with multiple compartments and pockets

  • Handles that can be telescopically extended for easier maneuverability

  • For effortless mobility, inline skate wheels roll smoothly just like a skateboard backpack

  • Expandable design to provide additional packing space

  • Ergonomic handles for comfortable lifting and carrying

Samsonite Ascella X Softside Expandable Luggage
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 19 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Department: Unisex
  • Model Number:‎ 143511-2824


It is a versatile and practical travel companion to have the Samsonite Ascella X Softside Expandable Luggage with Spinners. With dimensions of 28 x 19 x 10 inches and a weight of 9.5 pounds, this luggage offers ample space for your belongings while remaining lightweight and easy to handle.

The sleek black color gives it a sophisticated look, and its unisex design makes it suitable for both men and women. This specific product can be identified and located easily by its model number 143511-2824. It provides durability, functionality, and style regardless of whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure.


Rockland Fashion Softside Upright Luggage
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 13 x 19 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Color: Blue
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult
  • Model Number: F102-BLUE


This stylish and practical Upright Luggage Set from Rockland Fashion is a smart travel choice. With dimensions of 8 x 13 x 19 inches, it offers ample space for your belongings while still compact enough to fit in overhead compartments or under your seat. Lightweight and convenient, this luggage set only weighs 6 pounds.

Thanks to this set’s vibrant blue color, your travel ensemble will pop with color. Travelers can wear it either as a male or female, making it an excellent choice for men and women. This particular set has the model number F102-BLUE.

Softside material makes this luggage set flexible and durable. You can organize your belongings efficiently with its multiple compartments and pockets. The set includes different sizes of upright suitcases, providing options for travel needs.

Whether you’re going on a weekend getaway or a more extended trip, the Rockland Fashion Softside Upright Luggage Set is a reliable and stylish choice to accompany you on your travels.


SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.5 x 29 inches
  • Weight: ‎11.1 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult
  • Model Number:‎ 6283202181


Travelers of all ages will appreciate the functionality and style of the Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage, designed to suit the needs of modern travelers. With its sleek black color, this suitcase exudes a timeless elegance suitable for both men and women. The product dimensions of 18 x 10.5 x 29 inches offer ample packing space to accommodate your belongings comfortably. Weighing 11.1 pounds balances durability and portability, making maneuvering through busy airports or streets easy. As the luggage's capacity can be adjusted according to your needs, you can take it on any trip you desire. Whether you are a seasoned adventurer or a frequent business traveler, the SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage, with model number 6283202181, will become a reliable and enduring travel companion for all your journeys.

Final Verdict

While the preference for hard or soft luggage varies among airlines, it ultimately depends on durability, weight restrictions, flexibility, and security screening procedures.

Based on your preferences and travel needs, you can make an informed decision by considering these factors and exploring the top picks for each category. Your luggage should be well-protected throughout your journey, whether you choose hard or soft luggage.

Related posts:

Beow Luggage Review - Is it worth buying it or not? The Top 10 Revealed
Samsonite Vs American Tourister - Who Is The Winner In 2023 & What Are The Best Picks?
Swiss Mobility Luggage Reviews (2023) - Hot Sellers but are they really worth it?
Amazon Basics Luggage Review (2023) - Is the cheap price worth it?
Top 10 Lightweight Rolling Tote Bag (2023) - The Best Choices In The Market!
Briggs & Riley Vs Monos (2023) - Which Is The Right Choice For You?
10 Best Underseat Luggage Without Wheels (2023) - Top Picks For You
Best Luggage For Europe Train Travel (2023) - Must Read Before You Buy
Rimowa Vs Away - Which is the Better Choice in 2023
Best 4 Wheeled Luggage (2023) - Top 10 Picks in 2023!
Samsonite Vs London Fog (2023) - Which Luggage Brand Is Better For You?
Briggs & Riley Luggage Review (2023) - Read before you buy!
Travelpro Vs Away - 2023 Comparison Of Which Brand Is Better And The Best Picks!
Can You Check In Backpack As Checked Luggage In 2023? Don't Make A Mistake!
Aluminum Vs Polycarbonate Luggage (2023) - Which Is Better?
Samsonite Vs Briggs and Riley - 2023 Comparison Between The Brands - Which Brand Should You Choose?
10 Best Rolling Bags For Travel (2023) - You Must Check This Out Before Buying One!
Best 2 Wheeled Checked Luggage (2023) - The Top 10 Options For You!
10 Best Rolling Bag For Shopping & Groceries (2023) - Make It Easy For You!
11 Best Lightweight Luggage For Seniors & Older Travelers (2023)
Brics Luggage Review (2023) - The Truth Revealed! The good, the bad and the best!
Best Organized Luggage (2023) - Top Rated Checked & Carry On Options!
Revo Luggage Review (2023) - The Pros, The Cons & Top Picks!
Samsonite Vs July - Which Brand Reigns Supreme In 2023
10 Best Rolling Bags For Laptop (2023) - Top Choices For You Today!
Best Hardside & Best Hardshell Luggage Sets (2023) - Choosing Between Both Luggage Sets!
Best Suitcases For Teens In 2023 - Your Guide To Making The Right Choice
Best Material For Luggage - You Must Read This Before Choosing Your Next Luggage!
Joyway Luggage Reviews (2023) - Read this before you buy Joyway luggage!
Samsonite Vs Traveler's Choice (2023) - Read Our Review So You Don't Make A Mistake