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Checkable Bag Luggage Issues

Comments from Travel Insider Readers part 1


There's a lot of difference between the suitcase you see nicely presented and brand new in the store, and when you're struggling through the airport with it, overloaded, and with other bags on top and alongside.

Here are real world comments from real travelers - our readers, people just like you - about their actual experiences with the bags they've bought..

Part 3 of a 3 part introduction to buying checked luggage - click for Parts  One  Two  Three



Travel Insider readers are savvy frequent fliers.

They know what they like and don't like with the luggage they carry.  And, because they travel a lot, they get to see luggage not only when it is fresh and new, but also after hundreds of thousands of miles and hundreds of journeys.

In this first part of a two part set of reader comments about their bags, readers comment on some of the different brands they like best.

As was the case with carry-on bags too, a common thread among readers was the marvelous warranty offered on Briggs & Riley bags.

Mark writes

Can’t go wrong with Briggs & Riley if you can swallow the high initial price.

They are made to last, well designed, and include lifetime repair warranty.  This includes normal wear and tear.

I took two ten-year-old B&R suitcases back to the store where I bought them just to get the banged up corners fixed – which they did for the $30 shipping charge required to get the bags to B&R.  Came back good as new.

And Debi, a flight attendant with 18 years experience says

While I have not had to have my Briggs & Riley bags repaired (yet) they have been incredibly sturdy and steadfast.

As a domestic flight attendant (which just means I move my bag more than the international fa's) it has withstood years of in and out of cars, on and off the employee bus, through rain and snow, airplane closets, checked baggage, up and down escalators, and thousands of slingings by hotel van drivers.

I got the Briggs on sale and it was a great purchase.  It was expensive, but with luggage, in this industry, you get EXACTLY what you pay for.

I love the Briggs and their forever guarantee.

And Lyn - an engineer as will be obvious, also praises B&R

I go for the more durable and most importantly lifetime guaranteed luggage.

I'm a real fan of Briggs & Riley, I have 4 of their bags. All hold up real well, although the latest seems to taking more abuse.

It is a small roll-a-board, 22" I think, and very light.  I've had one of the small feet on the bottom get torn off, and last week the pull-up handle wouldn't open.  I managed to get the handle up, and discovered one of the arms was bent, which I straightened myself.  I called the company about the feet and they sent me two new ones.  When I went to replace the one that was missing, I noticed the fasteners were pretty whimpy, so I used ones that were substantially stronger.  I guess they cut some costs using cheap screws.

Anyway, I was impressed with their service, I may call them about the handle and see if I should replace the whole mechanism.

Rick also liked B&R and points out the very valid fact that less well made bags are likely to fail at the most inconvenience time

I can't say enough about Briggs & Riley.

They stand behind the luggage, guaranteeing it for life, for any reason including airline damage.  I've tested this, on a 7 year old bag, and they repaired everything I asked for, without question or cost.

The problem with replaceable cheap luggage is, it ain't gonna break when you're wheeling it into the house after a trip.  More likely, it will break mid-trip and cause inconvenience.

Buy durable, buy well designed, buy for good features without getting over featured (such as Tumi has become for the last half decade or so).

Although I don't know of another company with an across the board no questions asked warranty policy like Briggs & Riley, some companies offer similar warranties on selected parts of their product line.  One such example is Eagle Creek, and Maureen writes about their luggage

I have two words for baggage, hand carry or checked - Eagle Creek.

I work for the airlines and have seen most everything with baggage over the years but these bags seem to be above it all.  When I first read their warranty I wondered 'how can they offer lifetime no matter what warranty?'  Now I know; these bags come back looking the same as they left even when the other top brands suffer damage.

I indulged and bought bags for myself and love them.  The last bags I will ever buy.

Costco bags also got positive feedback, with several readers naming them as a good compromise choice.

I like the Costco luggage too, although the products they sell tend to evolve and be replaced fairly regularly, with different companies being contracted to provide product either under Costco's own Kirkland brand or under the manufacturer's own brand, so it is not always easy to generalize.

For example, John says

I purchased the 29” rolling luggage at Costco.

While it doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty I’ve been able to pick up a couple of them on e-bay with minor repairs and have them fixed at a major luggage repair vendor here in SF for around 20 bucks apiece, so I own a total of 4 at an average cost of about $60 each, having paid $89 at Costco for the first one.

Jinny is another Costco enthusiast

We use Costco’s store brand (Kirkland) soft side luggage, which we bought several years ago.

We each have the large Pullman and the smaller case that can be carried on although we never ‘carry on’.  The Pullman can easily hold more than the 70 pounds allotted for most first class passengers (when we are fortunate enough to travel first class) and the carry-on can hold 50 pounds if you REALLY want to stuff it.  It holds 40 easily.

We carry a digital scale with us  to avoid carrying more than our ‘allotment’ because the cases can hold so much.

While we didn’t go the super cheap / replace every year route, we didn’t go very expensive either because the Kirkland luggage holds up so well and is comparable – or better - than many of the expensive brands.

Sally also likes Costco, but prefers Tumi

We have had wonderful experience with Costco luggage and and Tumi.

Both have been used to travel all over the world and always done well.  The Tumi was bought in '92 and repaired for free.  However, the Costco is a better buy as we only recently replaced it after many many years and a lot of international and domestic travel.

The big difference for me is that the mechanism in the wheels and handle on the Tumi make it feel much lighter and glide more easily through large airports.  The Costco brand feels a little heavier and can be tiring with long transfers in large airports.  I use the Tumi 22' and my husband uses the Costco 22' which makes for more comparable testing as we generally travel together.

More reader comments about choosing luggage continue here.

Read more in Parts 1 & 2

In Part 1 we discuss more issues to consider when choosing checked luggage, including a discussion of cost, size and capacity.

In Part 2 we detail many other factors to consider when choosing carry-on luggage, including weight, wheels, and overall construction.


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Originally published 20 Mar 2009, last update 30 May 2021

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

Related Articles
How to Choose a Checked Bag pt 1
How to choose a bag pt 2
Reader comments on their checked luggage experiences part 1
Reader comments part 2

Reviews :  coming soon

See also our series on
Wheeled Carry-On Bags

And still more things

Domestic Airline Carry On Luggage Policies
International Airline Carry On Luggage Policies
Domestic Airline Checked Luggage Policies
Your Rights if your bags are delayed or lost
Distinctive MyTag Luggage Tags
Luggage Transportation Services
Packing Tips


@ Work 20" Upright Business Traveler
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