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The best carry-on luggage to fit all airlines in 2024, tried and tested

The best carry-on luggage to fit all airlines in 2024, tried and tested
The best carry-on luggage to fit all airlines in 2024, tried and tested

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What features should you look for in cabin luggage?

“Check the weight of the bag,” says ex-BA cabin crew member Taylor Collins. “Carry on luggage often has a weight limit up to 10kg, meaning the more your suitcase weighs, the less you can pack inside.

“I always tend to opt for a four wheeled case, as this is the easiest to take around the airport. You will also need to ensure that you can lift it up and down into the overhead lockers.”

Collins’ final two pieces of advice are to choose a suitcase with a lock for security and either to mark your suitcase by tying a ribbon around the candle, or steering clear of black suitcases. It’s never any fun trying to tell your black suitcase apart from every other unremarkable black suitcase on the same flight. 

What is the best cabin luggage to buy?

The Away Carry-On is our best-rated cabin luggage because it’s the best combination of spacious, durable and stylish with extra features including compression straps and a USB charger. It’s lightweight, has a TSA combination lock and has 360-degree spinner wheels, which glide along any surface without making much noise at all.

Collins says, “There is lots of cabin luggage out there to buy and not one glove fits all. Although a softshell suitcase is lighter, a hardshell case is my preference. It’s likely to last longer and be more protective.”

Which is the lightest cabin luggage?

July’s Carry On Light claims to be the lightest suitcase in the world. Although I preferred the Carry On Pro reviewed above, I also tested the Carry On Light which weighs just 1.8kg. It still has 32 litres of carry space.

For a softshell carry-on, try the Kipling Teagan C, above. It weighs just 1.9kg, only a little more than the July suitcase.

As for our ex cabin crew expert, Taylor Collins, she suggests the Tripp Holiday suitcases: “Their website is also very handy since you can search via carrier – BA, Easyjet etc – and it will show you which case size is accepted.”

What size is carry on luggage?

Ah, the million dollar question. If only it was so simple to answer. Every airline has different baggage restrictions and some even change their allowances depending on the destination. 

Collins suggests the average baggage allowance for carry on luggage is 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm, which is the British Airways allowance.

A cheaper airline like easyJet has a smaller allowance, at 45cm x 36cm x 20cm. RyanAir’s allowance is smaller still, at 40cm x 20cm x 20cm. 

Jet2 has a large allowance for a budget airline, allowing 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, the same as British Airways. TUI Airways allows 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Each airline specifies their own allowances on their own website. 

If you want a universal cabin bag to fit most airlines, you may be safer sticking to RyanAir’s 40cm x 20cm x 20cm. However, if you generally fly with the same airline, you’ll be safe sizing up according to their parameters.

What is a TSA lock?

A TSA lock can only be opened with a special kind of key held by customs and security officials in participating countries (which by now include most democracies). It allows them to bypass the lock on your case so that they can carry out a security check without your help and without damaging your case.

The red diamond trademark signifies that a TSA lock has been Travel Sentry-approved, referring to the company that licences the technology. It also refers to America’s Transportation Security Administration, who were among the first to use the special keys.

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