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Checking a bag? Feel at ease on your flight with these 10 luggage picks

If you've ever seen how some baggage handlers at airports treat checked-in luggage, you probably want to lock your clothing in a metal box next time. But obviously, that isn’t practical, and travelers are at the mercy of an airport’s staff. The best way to prevent damage to your suitcase's contents is to get hard-sided luggage. 

In this article: Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX, American Tourister Fieldbrook XLT and Rockland Melbourne.

Protect your belongings

Before buying luggage, decide what kind of protection you need. Hard-sided luggage is by far the most effective way of protecting your belongings. These luggage pieces have a solid plastic outer shell and can withstand rough handling.

No material is indestructible, and there have been several occasions where hard-sided luggage cracked open, corners chipped off, or the handles broke. Still, it is more durable than a duffel bag or backpack.

Some travelers prefer a soft-sided luggage set. These offer less protection than hard-sided ones but can generally cope with the stresses of going through an airport. If you don’t have valuable or fragile items you need to fly with, a soft-sided suitcase is more economical. Just remember to attach luggage tags to your bags to identify them at baggage collection.

What to look for in great luggage

  • Sets of luggage: Depending on how long you’ll be away from home, you might require more than one suitcase. This is where a luggage set comes in handy, as you get three or five pieces for one price. You don’t have to buy individual luggage and cabin bags, and they all have the same design.
  • Good zippers and locks: Sturdy zippers ensure that your luggage doesn’t burst open on the conveyor belt, and good-quality locks prevent anybody from going through your things.
  • Make those locks TSA-compliant: If something in your luggage looks suspicious on an X-ray scanner, Transportation Security Administration agents might want to go through your bag. This is easier if your luggage has TSA-compliant locks, which agents can open with a special master tool. If you don’t have such locks, they might announce over the airport’s public-address system that you must go to security. If you can't and agents are confident that a search is needed, they can simply break open your suitcase.   
  • Spinner wheels: The last thing you want to do after a long flight is carry heavy bags. Here the key to excellent luggage is a sturdy handle and spinner wheels. Don’t underestimate the comfort of luggage wheels that can swivel 360 degrees: pushing is much easier, and so is controlling the bags. Before you fly, ensure the wheels are lubricated to roll along without sticking or squeaking. 

Best luggage for flights

Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX Hardside 3-Piece Luggage Set

This three-piece luggage set comes with a 10-year warranty against defects, so you know it’s built to last. It includes a 20-inch carry-on, a 25-inch suitcase and a 28-inch suitcase. Each bag has omnidirectional spinner wheels and self-retracting handles.

Sold by Amazon 

Coolife Hardshell Lightweight 3-Piece Luggage Set

Getting through security is a breeze with this three-piece luggage set. The locks are TSA-compliant, and the acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic outer shell is resistant to damage. The set includes a 20-inch carry-on bag and 24- and 28-inch check-in bags. Each bag has omnidirectional wheels and pull-out handles. 

Sold by Amazon

Wrangler 4-Piece Luggage and Packing Cubes Set

This four-piece luggage set includes packing cubes to help with packing and maximizing your space. The 20-inch carry-on and 25-inch check-in luggage have a hard outer shell and omnidirectional wheels. Both are expandable to give you a bit more packing room.

Sold by Amazon

American Tourister Fieldbrook XLT 4-Piece Set

This soft-sided luggage set includes a boarding bag, a wheeled duffel bag and two upright suitcases. Each bag has reinforced corners and sturdy zippers, while the upright bags have push-button locking handles.

Sold by Amazon

Rockland Melbourne Hardside 2-Piece Set

This is the perfect lightweight luggage set. The 22-inch and 28-inch suitcases have ABS hard-sided shells that can withstand rough handling. Both have retractable handles and double-spinner wheels.

Sold by Amazon

Showkoo 3-Piece Softside Expandable Luggage Set

These bags feature ergonomic handles with heights that can be adjusted to suit you, along with double-row spinner wheels and TSA-compliant locks. There's a 20-inch carry-on and expandable 24- and 28-inch checkable bags.

Sold by Amazon

U.S. Traveler Boren Luggage Set With Spinner Wheels

If space is a concern, you’ll have more than enough with this soft-sided luggage set. Each case has reinforced corners and outer seams, while the soft-sided fabric is abrasion-resistant. Each bag has a three-step pullout handle, a carry handle on the side and double-spinner wheels.

Sold by Amazon

Rockland London Hard-Side Spinner Wheel Luggage

This single piece of hard-sided luggage is perfect for short trips or when you don’t have too much to fly with. Standing 20 inches tall, it complies with cabin luggage restrictions and has a pull-out handle and double-spinner wheels to make pushing easier.

Sold by Amazon

Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade Lightweight Hard-Side Luggage

This lightweight suitcase keeps your possessions safe with double-spinner wheels, reinforced corners and a hard outer shell. It stands 20 inches tall, and the inside compartment can expand for added room. It has a retractable handle and a carry handle on the side.

Sold by Amazon

Delsey Paris Chatelet Air Hard-Side Luggage

This stylish suitcase has a recessed three-dial TSA-approved combination lock and a patented zip system three times more secure than others. The inside compartment has removable laundry and shoe bags, and the polycarbonate shell keeps everything safe.

Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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