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Buyers Guide

Soft Luggage

Luggage fabrics are designed for strength against abrasion and tearing, water and dirt resistance.  The denier of a material is a good indication of strength of the fabric.  The advantage of fabric based cases is they are generally less expensive than hard shell cases, lighter and come in a variety of fabric designs.  Fabric luggage often also offers more flexibility with expandable features and pockets. 

Hard luggage

Hard luggage can be made from polycarbonate or ABS.   Hard luggage tends to be more expensive than fabric luggage but is more hard wearing, though it can be prone to scratching.  Hard luggage provides additional protection and security for expensive or fragile items.


The frame is what holds the shape of the suitcase, so it needs to be strong and light.  A ‘C’ frame has only three sides offering a weight saving for the consumer.  This does not detract from its stability, but offers the opportunity to use heavier weight fabric or better quality components so these can be more expensive than other framed luggage.


Telescopic handles give the traveller the ability to manoeuvre luggage easily.  Multi-staged handles give the user the ability to maintain the handle at a level most convenient for them.

The strongest and most well protected handles are housed inside the luggage.  This ensures that they are not damaged in transit.  Be aware that any handle not retracted back into its housing for travelling is likely to get damaged in transit and this would not be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.  A good suitcase should also include top and side grab handles for when wheeling the suitcase is impossible.


Manufacturer’s warranties are generally worded the same way.  Luggage is warranted against defects in workmanship and materials for the duration the manufacturer declares.  This will generally cover stitching, zippers and mechanical faults.  It does not cover damage due to mishandling by the airline or otherwise. 

If damage has occurred whilst in transit, the carrier or service provider concerned are responsible and a claim should be filed with the airline or their representative before leaving the terminal building.


Wheels which are mounted into the case which give them some protection from knocks in transit.  In-line skate wheels are the best quality for this type of wheel.  However, with cases requiring 360 degrees turning, alternative multi-directional wheels are used.

Airline damage

Always check your luggage when arriving at your destination airport.  If there is any sign of damage a claim should be filed with the airline or their representative before leaving the terminal building.

Luggage identification

When arriving at the carousel, it is common to see everyone checking over black case after black case trying to identify their luggage.  Although black tends to show the least wear, purchasing a suitcase in another of the fun and interesting modern designs and colours will prevent this problem.  However, if your preference is for black there are a number of identification tags and straps ensuring easy identification.

Luggage weight restrictions

Weight is an ever increasing consideration in travelling, so purchasing luggage that is as lightweight as possible is desirable.  Carriers are increasingly charging excess baggage charges for anyone over their limits and these can be costly.  A good lightweight set of luggage scales can travel with you and help alleviate this problem.

Suitcase size

It is essential to choose a suitcase that is the correct size for your requirements.  If you use a large suitcase for a weekend jaunt and it is not properly filled then items can move around and be easily damaged.  Choose the right sized suitcase for your requirements.   Buying a set of luggage will give you the right size for any occasion.