How to choose the right suitcase, down to the last detail?

The guide to buying suitcases cabins


That’s it, you’ve decided: this time you’ll travel with a cabin suitcase!
Buying a trolley suitcase is fine, but there are a few tips to help you make the right choice when buying. Indeed, the purchase of a cabin suitcase is a cheap investment that will accompany you during all your travels, so it is important not to choose just any model !

We propose you a list of important points to check on the cabin suitcases in order to help you in your choice of the best luggage for the plane. From robustness to lightness, including the number of wheels, the locking system, but also the brand… all these elements will allow you to be unbeatable on cabin luggage but above all, to make the right choice.

suitcases cabins
  • robustness: to be sure to be accompanied everywhere, all the time, without unpleasant surprises!
  • lightness: to take care of your back and yourself at the same time, for maximum manoeuvrability!
  • the number of wheels: because you are looking for absolute comfort during your travels!
  • the locking system: so that your belongings stay in your luggage safely and avoid unpleasant surprises on arrival!
  • ability: because you are always afraid to forget something on holiday!
  • brands: because today there are exception models not to be missed!

1st elements: the capacity and dimensions of my cabin suitcase:


The capacity of your cabin suitcase depends on its dimensions. If you wish to travel with your suitcase in the passenger areas of your means of transport, whether by plane, train or boat, you will need to bring your cabin luggage. This means that the dimensions of your suitcase must be smaller than the standard proposed by IATA: 56 x 45x 25 cm. To make sure that you don’t have any unpleasant surprises with your company, we offer you a page dedicated to the dimensions per airline.

In terms of interior capacity, cabin suitcases can vary from 30 to 45 litres. Which is totally enough to take all your belongings on holiday!

In addition, the weight of your luggage is important because it varies from one company to another. It is all the more important if you choose a low-cost airline that will charge you an extra fee if you add checked baggage. In this case, we advise you to choose a cabin baggage item with a relatively large capacity to hold everything you need. Also pay attention to the empty weight of the baggage you are going to buy, because the more you move to a bag with a high empty weight, the less business you will be able to integrate into it!
Info: The authorized weight of your cabin suitcase can vary from 10 to 18 kg depending on the airline.

2nd criterion: rigid or flexible cabin suitcase: which material to choose?

The question of robustness and lightness is essential because, when you want to acquire a suitcase, it is so that it will accompany you for as long as possible. So you have to choose between a rigid cabin suitcase, a flexible cabin bag, or a hybrid bag?

Here is a summary of the different materials you can find on the market:

polyester, nylon, or fabric suitcases: these are so-called soft suitcases. These luggage are generally not expensive to buy, and will accompany you on all your occasional trips, i.e. 2 to 3 trips per year. Its composition is light, which is why soft suitcases made of fabric or nylon are very often lighter than average.

ABS cabin suitcases are rigid luggage. ABS is a highly impact-resistant polymer that provides great strength. Its only disadvantage is that they are heavier than normal empty suitcases. With this type of abs luggage you can make intensive use of it, which corresponds to about 10 trips per year.

Polycarbonate luggage is also a rigid case whose composition ensures perfect impact resistance and lightness of your empty luggage. It is also perfect for regular use, i.e. about 10 trips per year. Utopia and Delsey are the flagship brands of this rigid luggage.

– the cabin suitcases with Curv® technology, invented and patented by Samsonite, are extremely shock-resistant and ultra-lightweight. Thanks to this Samsonite suitcase family, you can enjoy your luggage for many years to come, even with intensive use. The only downside of this type of cabin suitcase is that it requires a larger investment than its competitors.

– the hybrid suitcases combine plastic and fabric to provide rigidity and strength, with an outdoor storage space accessible anywhere! These bags are very light and useful: perfect for intensive use.

The most important thing when buying a suitcase is to check the strength of its frame. This will ensure you many trips in complete serenity, without unpleasant surprises or material damage. The rigid cases, by their name, allow you to resist shocks even more. However, their price is higher and you will not be able to benefit from additional pockets on the outside.

Textile suitcases are just as important on the market, because they are expandable and offer you many storage spaces, especially outside the suitcase. These external storage spaces will be very useful to store your passports and other travel tickets at the time of boarding. The hybrid models are an intermediate solution that has proven its worth thanks to well-known brands such as Samsonite or Delsey and their low cost.

3rd feature: the amount of storage in the cabin luggage


A suitcase is primarily used to store all the things you will need during your holiday. Storage also means space, because you’re going to need space for everything to fit in, especially if you’re travelling with a low-cost company!
On the market, there are 2 types of storage depending on the model and brand you are going to buy: 50/50 separation and plumber separation. You can also find suitcase sets with a matching vanity, which is an extra storage for your trip.

50/50 separation
: these are baggage items that open in two parts with a central opening. These two storage spaces are of equal capacity, allowing you to store as many items as possible on either side of your bag. You can find on each part a zipper that will allow you to separate the two zones once the case is closed.

Plumber separation
: this is luggage that also opens in two parts: one on the top and one on the bottom, respectively 20% and 80% of the suitcase. The smaller part may contain easily accessible items as it is located on top of the case. The other part provides more space to store the rest of your belongings.

4th criterion: the number of wheels in my suitcase


The number of a wheel in a piece of cabin luggage is a detail that can be very important. Indeed, you will have to travel in the boarding, control, waiting areas and, among other things, in the passenger areas of the airport, which is why the handling of your suitcase will be important for your comfort.

If you choose baggage without wheels, you should consider not overloading it so that your back and shoulders do not suffer when travelling through airports or other waiting areas. Suitcases without wheels are less and less used as cabin suitcases, but continue to be in high demand as travel bags.

Suitcases with wheels can have 2 or 4 wheels depending on the models offered:

Two-wheel cabin suitcase: they have two wheels on the side of the handles of your suitcase. You must then tilt the suitcase slightly to move around in complete serenity. 2-wheel suitcases provide you with the necessary comfort and are still cheaper than 4-wheel suitcases.

Four-wheel cabin suitcase: innovation and technology is well done, because today the brands offer you models of 4-wheel suitcase totally handy at 360°C, without having to tilt the suitcase. This hand bag will be perfect to accompany you effortlessly!

The quality of the wheels remains a decisive criterion. Indeed, these must be of very good quality so that they do not get damaged or detached. Good wheels will give you good handling and smooth running on the road. Do not hesitate to check the width of the wheels either, and if you can easily disassemble and change them (Delsey ERS System for example).

5th element: the locking system of my hand luggage


There are also several types of locks for a cabin suitcase. The most common is the zipper! This is an ultra practical zip to open and close your suitcase. But here it is, the quality of the zipper is often neglected… You must be particularly careful about the quality of the zipper! Why? Why? Quite simply, because you open, close, re-open, re-close your suitcase several times a day during your trip. Whether it’s to prepare it, retrieve your papers, or even tidy up your belongings or take out your travel toilet bag during the trip, you can’t imagine how many times you need to open and close your cabin suitcase…

All the models offered in our comparison are tested in order to select the best quality cabin cases, so that you do not have any unpleasant surprises once your case has been purchased! The robustness also depends on the quality of the closure of your suitcase.

Go for a clip case: the advantage of this system is that it is very difficult to access the content of your case by a third party. It is a rigid metallic frame that seals your luggage tightly when it is activated. The only downside is that it is an element that adds to your baggage. This solution is possible when you travel with valuables and need to be reassured about its storage.

Locks or no locks:
Many suitcase models offer padlocks (TSA or not) integrated into the suitcases so that the contents of your suitcase are not accessible. This is highly recommended to avoid theft whether it is for a small carry-on bag, a rigid suitcase or a travel bag. There are different types of locks: code locks (also called combination locks), or key locks!

Code locks are preferred because you do not need to carry a key “next door”. This avoids the risk of loss. However, you should not forget your code, especially if you are not used to travelling.

Key locks are very useful because they are very easy to use. You will have several sets of keys to reduce the risk of loss. Remember to hide it in a safe place where you can easily remember it.

TSA padlocks:
This closure is essential when travelling in America because American and Canadian customs have the ability to open your luggage to check it.
The TSA system allows you to access the contents of your suitcase through a “pass key” held only by customs officials.
These TSA padlocks are becoming more and more popular because they provide great security wherever you travel!

The presence of a lock is important to ensure maximum security during your trip. Regardless of the type of lock, you must check its proper operation and strength to avoid any inconvenience.