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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.

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
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
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
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 
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
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
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable

  • Product Dimensions: packing dimensions: 19″ x 14.5″ x 9.5″
  • Weight: 6.81 pounds
  • Department: Unisex
  • Model Number: N/A
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
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
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

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.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
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
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Rockland Journey Softside Upright

Rockland Journey Softside Upright

  • F32 / 14" Tote & 19" 24" 28" Upright
  • Fully lined and expandable
  • Internal retractable handles
  • Skate wheels
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Samsonite Ascella X Softside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Ascella X Softside Expandable Luggage

  • 21" SPINNER LUGGAGE 
  • 25" SPINNER LUGGAGE 
  • 10 YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY
  • PACKING Dimensions: 28.25" x 19.0" x 10.5"
  • WETPAK Zippered 
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
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
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable

SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable

  • Rolling Suitcase: Get through a crowded airport easily with this stylish check-in luggage with 360-degree multi-directional spinner wheels and a locking retractable push/pull handle
  • Multiple Front Panel Pockets: Featuring front pockets with a built-in ID tag, this ergonomically expandable luggage measures 30 x 18.5 x 12.5 inches including wheels and handles; packing dimensions are 28.5 x 17.25 x 12.5 inches
  • Secure and Durable: Expandable travel case gives you ample parking space and made from a durable, scuff-resistant polyester fabric with fully lined interior; also features adjustable tie-down straps for securing garments in place
  • Effortless Organization: This luggage bag maximizes packing efficiency with a removable zippered wet bag, large mesh lid pocket, and packing pocket for holding small items and accessories
  • Convenient Side Handles: With reinforced padded top handle with an integrated side and bottom handle, this roller suitcase makes lifting and carrying your luggage easy
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

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
4.5

Overview

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.

Features

  • 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
4.4
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 26 inches
  • Weight: 8.4 pounds
  • Color: Gray
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult
  • Model Number: 5705058

Overview:

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
4.3
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 11 x 20 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Color: Teal
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult
  • Model Number:‎ HS-20720-EX-360N

Overview:

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.

 

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable
4.6

Overview

The Omni PC combines scratch-resistant textures with the lightest 100% micro-diamond polycarbonate construction. This extremely lightweight and visually impactful luggage offers heavyweight protection riding on effortless 360 spinner wheels and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

Special Features

  • It has four multi-directional oversized spinner wheels for effortless mobility and re-engineered lightweight.

  • It has a book-opening case with a mesh divider, cross straps in the main compartment, and a zipped modesty pocket.

  • It expands to allow for the packing of more items, and the compression keeps clothing neatly pressed.

  • The push-button locking handles provide easy manoeuvrability when extended from the suitcase and store neatly inside when not used.

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable
4.3

Overview:

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
4.5

Overview

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
4.1
  • F32 / 14" Tote & 19" 24" 28" Upright
  • Fully lined and expandable
  • Internal retractable handles
  • Skate wheels
3
Samsonite Ascella X Softside Expandable Luggage
4.5
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 19 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • Department: Unisex
  • Model Number:‎ 143511-2824

Overview

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.

 

2
Rockland Fashion Softside Upright Luggage
4.3
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 13 x 19 inches
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Color: Blue
  • Department:‎ Unisex-adult
  • Model Number: F102-BLUE

Overview

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
4.5
  • Rolling Suitcase: Get through a crowded airport easily with this stylish check-in luggage with 360-degree multi-directional spinner wheels and a locking retractable push/pull handle
  • Multiple Front Panel Pockets: Featuring front pockets with a built-in ID tag, this ergonomically expandable luggage measures 30 x 18.5 x 12.5 inches including wheels and handles; packing dimensions are 28.5 x 17.25 x 12.5 inches
  • Secure and Durable: Expandable travel case gives you ample parking space and made from a durable, scuff-resistant polyester fabric with fully lined interior; also features adjustable tie-down straps for securing garments in place
  • Effortless Organization: This luggage bag maximizes packing efficiency with a removable zippered wet bag, large mesh lid pocket, and packing pocket for holding small items and accessories
  • Convenient Side Handles: With reinforced padded top handle with an integrated side and bottom handle, this roller suitcase makes lifting and carrying your luggage easy

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.

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