Flight Crew Luggage

If you’re in a hurry and are here to find out what the best piece of flight crew luggage is then we recommend The Samsonite Wheeled Underseater as the best one.

One of the most important things that you’ll have to bring with you on your trip is the right type of luggage. And if you’re reading this article, you are on the best track to find out about excellent luggage that the flight crew, or pro travelers, use. Having the right luggage to carry your belongings is vital, it should be able to offer enough durability and stability to protect your items and withstand the wear and tear from the rough ride it often goes through in transit. Given the importance of having durable and trustworthy luggage, you should make sure that you’re purchasing your luggage from a trusted word, and you can start from here as the flight crew know it a lot. 

It can be difficult to find the best flight crew luggage or even regular luggage since the market is so diverse. So, here is a guide to help you during your buying processes. This guide contains information about what to be mindful of during the buying processes as well as five of the best cases that the pros use. 

Here are the best pieces of flight crew approved luggage we will be reviewing:
Travelpro Crew Rolling Tote
Travelpro Crew 11 21″ Carry-on
Samsonite Wheeled Underseater
Red Canoe Boeing Stow Bag
Strongbags Ultimate Duffel Bag

Types of Flight Crew Luggage

We’ll start with the basic types of flight crew luggage, different crews require different sizes and styles of luggage to suit their schedules. But if you already know all of the basics, go ahead and skip to the reviews at the bottom.

Wheeled Uprights

Wheeled uprights are “typical luggage”, featuring two rear wheels and a handle to pull the case along behind you. They have the ability to be easily transported over uneven surfaces and up and over curbs and other obstacles. They vary in features but often have one large main compartment to store the majority of your belongings and one or two internal pockets, and if it’s a soft side case, one or two pockets outside as well.

Rolling Uprights

Similar to wheeled uprights, rolling uprights are equipped with four wheels instead of two and are designed to easily glide beside you as you transport your luggage. Unfortunately, rolling, or spinner, luggage doesn’t perform well on uneven surfaces, so this type of luggage is only recommended for traveling through airports and other smooth-surfaced locations. The design of rolling uprights is exactly like the design of the wheeled uprights in every other way.

Carry-on Bags

Carry-on bags are classified as smaller bags or cases that can be taken onto the plane with you. This is often the choice of a flight crew as they can travel very light. Also, using only a carry-on case is much quicker upon arrival at your destination. If you are bringing more than you can fit into a smaller carry-on case then a carry-on is best used to carry more essential items and things you may need while on the plane. These bags are great for keeping handy: magazines, headphones, your wallet, phone, keys, and other smaller, personal items that you may want to keep with you. 

You’ll notice that all of the luggage on the list below is classified as carry-on, the pros are seriously well-packed travelers.

airline pilot checking his watch outside

Duffel Bags

Duffel bags are also a flight-crew-preferred type of luggage and many will fall into the carry-on category as they fit within airline size restrictions. This is not always the case but if a duffel bag does fit within the size restrictions, then using it as your carry-on can be very convenient. Duffles often offer great storage space and pockets that can keep your belongings organized. They’re equipped with various straps and handles that can make transporting them easier, and many can attach to the top of larger, rolling luggage for easier mobility.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Flight Crew Luggage

Type of Travel

It’s important to consider what type of traveling you’ll be doing before you choose a certain piece of luggage. Realizing this can help to further understand the storage and features you will most benefit from during your travels. Bigger is not always better and not all cases are created equal. Look for good organizational options, and if you travel for business or often dress formally while traveling then look for a case with a suiter. If you travel as a family then a luggage set with multiple cases may be your best option. Or if you are a lone wolf and know you don’t need much when you’re away, then a good quality carry-on may be all you need. 

Mobility

The definition of travel is to go from one place to another, and you want your luggage to join you on that journey in the most comfortable way possible. The five main options for mobility for luggage are to be pulled behind on two wheels, glide beside on four wheels, be carried with a strap over your shoulder, be carried by two straps on your back, or simply carried by hand. Consider which of these sounds the most comfortable for you and when transferring your luggage from A to B. 

Storage Compartments

Good storage options come down to personal preference, some cases offer lots of built-in features with a place to keep everything, whereas others offer very little built-in features that can free-up more space for you to pack however you like. Another aspect of storage is how secure your items are. Many cases offer different anti-theft features which are particularly important for checked luggage that is out of your possession for the majority of your journey.

Material

Our last consideration is the material that the luggage is made from. Your luggage should be durable enough to take many trips without suffering any damage. Hard side luggage often gives your items added protection if well-made but if it becomes dented, then there’s not much you can do to fix it. Soft side luggage, on the other hand, may not deliver the same protection to your items but can bounce back from incidents that occur when traveling. 

There are lots of pros and cons about soft side vs. hard side luggage and we’re not taking sides. That said, there aren’t any hard side cases in this list below of the best luggage that the pros use.

The Top 5 Pieces of Flight Crew Luggage

Travelpro Crew Rolling Tote – Embrace Minimalist Travel

This is a rolling tote by one of the most popular luggage brands Travelpro. A rolling tote is slightly smaller than an average carry-on case but makes up for its smaller size with excellent organization options. This tote has two compartments, the main one can hold a handful of outfits, has compression straps, and a small laptop pocket. The smaller pocket features a tablet pocket and places to keep other smaller items you wish to carry-on with you. The main compartment also has zippers that you can attach a travel lock to for security.

This case has two wheels and a sturdy telescoping handle so you can pull it behind you with ease. Travelpro put all of their products through rigorous testing so you can be confident in the quality of the wheels, handles, and zippers. If you regularly take short trips or travel frequently for business, this is the perfect case. Alternatively, this is a great carry-on to accompany your larger checked luggage no matter where you are going. At just 6.6 pounds and 13 inches tall, this little case is a worthy sidekick.

>>Find the Travelpro Crew Rolling Tote on Amazon<<

Pros:

  • Small, smart, and organized, this rolling tote will ensure you only bring the necessities.
  • Two compartments, one for clothes and a small laptop and the other for a tablet and smaller items.
  • Main compartment features zippers that you can attach a personal travel lock to for security.
  • Rigorously tested so you can be confident in the quality of the wheels, handles, and zippers.
  • The external material is a durable nylon that is coated with Duraguard to protect against stains and scratches.
  • Wheels are large and durable and are in a protective casing to help them work well for a long time.
  • Features a strap on the back so it can be secured to the top of other, larger luggage.

Cons:

  • Smaller than other carry-on options and unable to carry as much.

>>Find the Travelpro Crew Rolling Tote on Amazon<<

Travelpro Crew 11 21″ Carry-on – The Weekend Work Trip

If you love the rolling tote above but can’t see yourself fitting your personal items into it, then allow us to introduce you to its big sister who’s roughly twice the size. This is a carry-on case from Travelpro that is “carry-bin tested”, as all of Travelpro’s “carry-on” labeled products are. This case is on eight spinner wheels and is designed to glide beside you as you walk, steered by the ergonomic comfort (and very comfy) telescoping handle. This case also features a USB charging plug and a nice pocket that keeps your charger pack out of the way of everything else. As an anti-theft measure, the main zipper can be secured with your own travel lock.

There are three compartments, first, there is a small quick-access pocket for travel documents or your phone, second, is a large front pocket to pack additional items, or is great for a jacket you might need. Then third is the main compartment which has two built-in extra pockets, one for toiletries and one for maybe underwear, and comes with a full, removable suiter. You can even take the suiter out and use it separately, great to keep a suit or dress protected while you travel. And this skinny case expands to allow you more room to pack with.

>>Find the Travelpro Crew 11 21″ Carry-on on Amazon<<

Pros:

  • Three different compartments, a quick-access pocket, large external pocket, and main compartment.
  • Main compartment has built-in pockets, one for toiletries and one for anything else.
  • Also features a full suiter to protect a dress or suit when traveling or can be removed and used separately.
  • Features eight spinner wheels steered with a comfy and sturdy telescoping handle for easy movability.
  • The external material is a durable nylon that is coated with Duraguard to protect against stains and scratches.
  • Main zipper is designed so that you can attach a personal travel lock to for security.
  • Rigorously tested so you can be confident in the quality of the wheels, handles, and zippers.
  • Features a USB charging port and a nice, out-of-the-way pocket for your charging plug.
  • Available in five different colors.

Cons:

  • Though it is called a “21-inch carry-on” it is actually 23.5 inches – make sure you frequent airlines will allow this size.

>>Find the Travelpro Crew 11 21″ Carry-on on Amazon<<

Samsonite Wheeled Underseater – Classic Design

This Samsonite wheeled underseater is actually an older model from Samsonite but has stood the test of time, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Made with a 100% polyester and nylon blend this little case is durable, agile, and smart-looking. It has two wheels for classic pull-behind movability and a sturdy telescoping handle to control it with. If the size, 13-inches, doesn’t sound realistic for you, then you may be interested in the larger model that is also available which is 16.5 inches and still fits under seats. 

The genius of this case is the storage and organization, no space is not used. There are four external pockets, one on each side, and one quick-access and one larger pocket on the front. The inside features a unique layout where on the top there are three zipped off pockets to keep smaller items in – there is a similar layout in the large external front pocket. Also, built into the compression strap, is yet another mesh pocket and a wet bag to keep damp or dirty items away from everything else. Holds a ton of stuff and fits under your seat!

>>Find the Samsonite Wheeled Underseater on Amazon<<

Pros:

  • Classic design that has worked for thousands of happy travelers for many years.
  • Made with durable polyester and nylon blend.
  • Contains a Wetpak zippered compartment to keep damp items separate.
  • Can be slipped onto the telescoping handle of larger luggage for easy transportation.
  • Features tons of pockets, with a secure place for everything, including an umbrella and water bottle.
  • Has two wheels for classic pull-behind travel and a sturdy telescoping handle to steer it.
  • 13-inches is the model shown but is also available in a larger 16.5-inch size to carry even more.

Cons:

  • No fancy tech like USB charging ports or laptop/tablet pockets.
  • Smaller than other carry-on options and unable to carry as much in total.

>>Find the Samsonite Wheeled Underseater on Amazon<<

Red Canoe Boeing Stow Bag – The Maverick

This Red Canoe duffel bag has a classic, Top-Gun type of feel to it, made with khaki nylon and rugged canvas handles. This is part of a Boeing heritage collection by Red Canoe as duffel bags have always been a trusted style of luggage for flight crews of all kinds. This duffel features a zipped off closure along the top and a flap that comes over to cover and protect the zipper.

This is not a huge duffel bag but it great to use as a carry-on along with other checked luggage, or to take to work, school, the gym, or for other daily uses. A super tough and very cool duffel bag with a historic style of aviators past and present.

>>Find the Red Canoe Boeing Stow Bag on Amazon<<

Pros:

  • Duffel bag with zipper closure and a flap to cover and protect the zipper when closed.
  • Made from a rugged khaki nylon material that gives it a classic, Top-Gun and beyond style look.
  • Features a comfy and durable canvas in the carry handles and adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Part of Red Canoe’s heritage collection honoring Boeing –  a great American company.

Cons:

  • May not be comfortable, or may be too heavy, for some travelers as it is not on wheels.
  • Just one pocket, for some people it may be hard to find smaller items that have been packed.

>>Find the Red Canoe Boeing Stow Bag on Amazon<<

Strongbags Ultimate Duffel Bag – Organized Duffel

Staying with the classic duffel bag style, which has been part of aviation from its origins, this Strongbags duffel bag offers more than just one large pocket. There are external pockets on three of its sides to help you stay organized and one is designed to carry a water bottle. The fourth side features a slot so that you can attach this bag to the top of larger luggage for easier mobility. The main pocket is large enough to pack for a short business trip, or a couple of days trip anywhere.

The zippers all over are top-of-the-line YKK zippers and the rest of the bag is made of Cordura Ballistic material that is tough and rugged to help protect what’s inside – hence the name Strongbags. It is not a large duffel but would work great along with larger checked luggage for longer trips, or for work, school, or the gym. 

>>Find the Strongbags Ultimate Duffel Bag on Amazon<<

Pros:

  • Extra durable and tough duffel bag, made from Cordura Ballistic material to help protect your items inside.
  • Features one main compartment and three external pockets of various sizes, one designed for a water bottle.
  • Has two handles to carry by hand, and one removable and adjustable shoulder strap.
  • All zippers are the cream of the crop, YKK Zippers.
  • Large enough for a few days worth of items or for an overnight trip.
  • Also great for non-travel related uses like work, school, or the gym.

Cons:

  • May not be comfortable, or may be too heavy, for some travelers as it is not on wheels.

>>Find the Strongbags Ultimate Duffel Bag on Amazon<<

Flight Crew Luggage Conclusion

The luggage options on this list are used by the pros, but remember, flight crews travel for work and do not bring more than they will need for their short stay. They are also very skilled packers and able to pack their limited items into small and compact spaces. If this sounds like your travel style or a travel style that you’d like to have, then allow us to recommend our pick from these top-notch options.

The case that stands out to us is #3 The Samsonite Wheeled Underseater. This case will help you to stay organized with its excellent system of zipped off pockets. The built-in wet pack is a favorite feature of ours too as you never know when you’ll need one. The Travelpro options on this list are tough enough to pass their rigorous testing, but this case has been tested in the real world and passed with flying colors (pun intended). And lastly, if the 13-inch model is not enough for you, there is a 16.5-inch model, and that difference is huge!

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