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What Luggage Do Pilots Use? (Airline Approved Brands)

When it comes to long hours on the move, no one knows luggage better than pilots! They’re the frequent fliers we often forget about, zipping around the globe and needing to have their essentials on hand at all times. 


So, what luggage do these air travel experts use? What brands have earned their trust? If you’re curious about airline-approved luggage brands that stand up to the rigorous demands of a pilot’s lifestyle, you’re in the right place! 


Buckle up, as we take you on a journey to explore the luggage brands that pilots swear by!

Table of Contents

Factors Flight Crews Consider When Buying Luggage

Durability / Long Time Use

When it comes to the importance of durability, pilots really can’t afford to compromise. Imagine rolling your suitcase through countless airports, lifting it into overhead compartments, and sliding it into tight spaces on a near-daily basis – it’s clear why durability is a top priority! 


A bag that can’t withstand this rough and tumble routine would not only be an inconvenience but could potentially disrupt a pilot’s tightly scheduled work routine. Therefore, pilots prefer luggage brands that promise long-term use and can weather the wear and tear of constant travel. 


They invest in high-quality, durable suitcase that can keep up with their fast-paced lifestyle and keep their valuables safe and secure, no matter where their work takes them!

Lifetime Warranty

Another major factor that pilots consider when purchasing luggage is the warranty provided by the manufacturer. A lifetime warranty is especially appealing as it demonstrates the brand’s confidence in the durability and quality of its products. One such brand revered by pilots for its incredible warranty is Briggs & Riley

This brand stands out in the crowd with its ‘Simple as that®’ lifetime guarantee which covers all damage, even if caused by an airline. This means that if your Briggs & Riley bag is ever damaged, they will repair it free of charge. This level of customer service and assurance of product longevity makes Briggs & Riley a preferred choice among many pilots.


When it comes to considering the weight of their luggage, pilots have a unique set of factors to take into account. Constantly on the move, they require their luggage to be as lightweight as possible. Managing a heavy suitcase can be challenging, especially when navigating through crowded airports in a rush.


Additionally, every extra pound can become a burden during long flights and multiple layovers. Opting for lightweight luggage ensures easier maneuverability and reduces physical strain, which is crucial for pilots who need to remain alert and focused once they step into the cockpit.


That is why brands offering lightweight yet durable luggage options, such as the Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage, are popular choices among flight crews.

Retractable Handle That Can Survive Heavy Use

The retractable handle is a vital feature for any luggage, particularly for pilots. The nature of their job often entails rapid movement through vast airport spaces, moving to and from various types of aircraft, and sometimes even navigating up and down stairways. A suitcase with a sturdy, easy-to-use retractable handle can significantly reduce physical strain during these transitions. 


Moreover, the handle plays a pivotal role in the suitcase’s maneuverability. Quality retractable handles allow for smooth steering, offering pilots the ability to swiftly and easily transport their luggage across different surfaces and around obstacles. 


And let’s not forget about durability! Given the heavy use and the frequently harsh environment, the retractable handle needs to be resilient and designed to withstand the test of time. A broken or dysfunctional handle can render a suitcase virtually useless, and that’s the last thing any pilot would want in the middle of a tight schedule!


When it comes to retractable handles, brands like Travelpro Platinum Elite have set high standards with their robust and ergonomic designs.

Spinner Wheels (4-Wheel vs 2-Wheel Luggage Bags)

4-Wheel vs. 2-Wheel Luggage: What's the Difference?

When it comes to mobility and convenience, your choice between 4-wheel and 2-wheel luggage can make a significant difference. 4-wheel suitcases, also known as “spinners,” are renowned for their easy maneuverability. They can rotate 360 degrees, making them effortless to navigate through crowded spaces like airports, where you might need to turn your bag around corners or weave through people. However, they are more vulnerable to wear and tear as the wheels are often externally mounted.


On the other hand, 2-wheel luggage, or “rollers,” only move forward and backward. They’re typically tilted and pulled behind you and might require more arm strength to maneuver, especially when fully loaded. However, these bags often prove more durable as the wheels are generally partially recessed, providing better protection. Plus, they’re less likely to roll away if you’re on a slope!


Renowned for their robust two-wheel constructions, luggage bags like Delsey Paris Helium DLX are widely recognized for their exceptional durability.


So, the choice between 4-wheel and 2-wheel luggage boils down to your preference for maneuverability versus durability.

Expandable Luggage vs Non-expandable luggage bags

The decision between expandable and non-expandable luggage might seem minor, but it can significantly impact your travel experience.


Expandable luggage, as the name suggests, offers the ability to increase the bag’s capacity, providing you more space to squeeze in those extra souvenirs or clothing items.


Brands like Briggs & Riley are renowned for their spacious expandable designs, allowing for up to 25% additional packing capacity!


On the flip side, non-expandable luggage has a fixed capacity. While this might seem like a disadvantage, it comes with benefits of its own. Non-expandable bags tend to be more durable and rugged, as they lack the zippers and seams that make expandable bags more susceptible to damage.


In essence, your choice between expandable and non-expandable luggage depends on your need for flexibility versus longevity in your travel gear.

Hard-sided vs soft-sided roll-aboard bags

When talking about roll-aboard bags, another significant consideration is whether to choose a hard-sided or soft-sided design. Let’s delve into the differences!


Hard-sided roll-aboard bags are typically made from materials like polycarbonate or ABS plastic. These materials offer excellent protection for your belongings, making hard-sided bags a great choice for travels that may involve a little rough and tumble. They’re ideal for protecting fragile items, and they also tend to be more water-resistant. Brands like Rimowa and Samsonite are famed for their high-quality hard-sided designs.


Soft-sided roll-aboard bags, however, bring flexibility and lightness to the forefront. They are usually made from materials such as nylon or polyester, which can flex and compress to fit into tight spaces—perfect for those overhead bins in airplanes!


Soft-sided bags often feature exterior pockets for easy access to essentials during your journey. Travelpro and Briggs & Riley are brands well-regarded for their superior soft-sided luggage.


In summary, the choice between hard-sided and soft-sided roll-aboard bags boils down to your preference for durability and protection versus flexibility and convenience in your travel gear.


When it comes to color, black is often the standard, especially for uniformed professionals who require a more formal and consistent look. However, for personal travel, the world is your oyster! Feel free to select a hue that matches your personality or helps your bag stand out on the carousel. 


While a black luggage bag can be elegant and universally appealing, a bright, unique color can make your travels more fun and your luggage easier to spot. Remember, it’s all about your personal preference and style when choosing the color of your luggage.

What Type of Bags Does an Airline Pilot Use?

Rolling Bag / Roll-aboard

What Luggage Do Pilots Use? Rolling bags

A rolling bag is essentially the basic requirement for an airline pilot. With the demands of their profession, a bag that can be easily maneuvered through busy airports is absolutely critical. Rolling bags not only provide convenience during travel, but also reduce the strain on the body, especially when they’re loaded with flight essentials like charts, headsets, and uniform items. 


Furthermore, they must be sturdy and reliable, as they are used almost daily. Therefore, a high-quality rolling bag like a TravelPro or Briggs & Riley can be seen as an investment for any airline pilot, ensuring smooth and efficient travel from one destination to the next.

Tote Bag

Tote bags are another staple in an airline crew’s roster of luggage. Their size and design make them practical for carrying items needed within easy reach during flights or while on layovers. These bags often contain personal items such as small electronics (like tablets for entertainment or personal laptops for work), travel documents, personal grooming essentials, a change of clothes, and sometimes, snacks or a packed meal. 


They may also carry a book or e-reader for leisure reading, a neck pillow for comfort during long flights, and, in today’s context, sanitizing items like hand sanitizers and wipes. The tote bag acts as the crew’s personal carry-on, housing items that make their travels comfortable, convenient, and in compliance with their airline’s policies.

Duffle Bag

Duffle bags are commonly used by flight crew for items that don’t need to be accessed during the flight but are necessary for their stay at their destination. These are larger items that won’t fit in a tote bag or aren’t required on hand in the rolling bag. For instance, extra sets of uniforms, civilian clothing for layovers, toiletries, fitness gear for hotel workouts, and extra footwear often make their way into this bag. 


Depending on the destination’s climate, a duffle bag might also hold weather-specific gear like a heavy jacket for colder climates or bathing suits for warmer locales. In essence, the duffle bag is like a compact mobile wardrobe for flight crew, carrying all items required to make their layovers as comfortable as possible.

Lunch Bag

The lunch bag is a crucial component of the flight crew’s luggage set. Flight schedules can often be unpredictable and strenuous, making it difficult for crew members to maintain regular meal times. 


Having a lunch bag allows them to carry homemade meals, snacks, or beverages, ensuring they have access to nutritious food even during packed schedules. It also provides a healthier and cost-effective alternative to airport or airplane food, which may not always cater to the crew members’ dietary needs or preferences. 

Bags with sleeve attachments

Some bags come with sleeve attachments, allowing them to be slipped onto the handle of a rolling bag. This feature enables flight crew to maneuver through airports more quickly and efficiently, as they can stack their luggage and have it roll alongside them, freeing up their hands for other tasks.

So, what Luggage Brands Does an Airline Pilot Use?

When it comes to luggage, airline pilots have a plethora of brands to choose from. Each brand offers a unique blend of functionality, style, and durability that caters to the diverse needs of these hardworking professionals. Let’s explore seven of these brands that airline pilots often prefer. 

Their products range from sleek carry-ons and duffles, to lunch bags and bags with special sleeve attachments, each designed to make a pilot’s travel experience smoother and easier. 

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into what makes each of these brands a favorite among airline pilots!

Briggs & Riley

Briggs & Riley is a favorite among pilots for numerous reasons, the topmost being its unmatched durability and practical design.


The brand is renowned for its high-quality luggage that withstands the rigors of frequent travel, thanks to its sturdy construction and state-of-the-art materials. Pilot-approved features like a lightweight frame, smooth rolling wheels, and lockable zippers make navigation through bustling airports a breeze.


Briggs & Riley’s innovative CX technology, which provides expandable packing space, is another major draw for pilots, allowing them to carry their essentials without worrying about space constraints. What’s more, the brand’s ‘Simple as that’ lifetime guarantee, which covers all damage, including airline damage, gives pilots peace of mind, knowing their investment is well-protected.

TravelPro Suitcases

TravelPro is equally cherished by pilots and flight attendants alike. Its popularity is evident in the fact that it is the go-to luggage brand for most major US airlines such as Delta and American Airlines. A huge contributing factor to this preference is the durability that TravelPro suitcases offer.


They are designed to withstand the tough handling and constant traveling inherent in an airline professional’s life.


This high durability, complemented by a reasonable price point, makes TravelPro a trusted choice in the aviation sector. From compact carry-ons to spacious checked luggage, the brand offers a range of options designed to meet the unique needs of airline professionals, making their journeys comfortable and hassle-free.

Luggage Works

luggage works what luggage do pilots use

Despite its more industrial aesthetic, Luggage Works is a true favorite among pilots for several key reasons. The brand’s commitment to durability and functionality makes it stand out. Their suitcases are built to last with robust materials, ensuring they can endure the heavy-duty usage common in the aviation industry.


Furthermore, Luggage Works offers specific features tailored to pilots’ needs, such as reinforced compartments for electronics and ample storage space for personal items and flight essentials.


The luggage’s sturdy, rolling design allows for seamless movement, a significant advantage in the bustling environment of an airport. While the main drawback is that the design may be simple and straightforward, pilots appreciate this practical, no-nonsense approach.


After all, when you’re constantly on the move, the reliability and functionality of your luggage become far more critical than fleeting fashion trends.


Tumi, the premium luggage brand, has a dedicated fan base among United Airlines Flight Attendants, and for good reason. Synonymous with luxury, style, and first-class quality, Tumi crafts luggage that is as durable as it is sophisticated.


Beyond the brand’s stylish aesthetic, Tumi suitcases are recognized for their thoughtful design and innovative features. They offer a myriad of compartments for organized packing and practical handling, a dream for any flight attendant who needs to pack essentials efficiently.


Tumi’s patented, ultra-durable FXT Ballistic Nylon ensures that the bags can withstand the rigors of frequent travel. Furthermore, their excellent customer service, including a comprehensive warranty and a global recovery system for lost or stolen bags, provides an additional level of security for flight attendants.


These exceptional qualities have earned Tumi the endorsement of United Flight Attendants, who value the perfect balance of style, function, and durability in their luggage.


Another brand that is highly acclaimed in the aviation industry is Samsonite. This brand has been endorsed by several Middle Eastern airlines for its quality, durability, and innovative design. Renowned for its exceptional strength and lightness, Samsonite luggage is crafted with travelers’ convenience in mind.


Their suitcases are equipped with smooth-rolling wheels, ergonomic handles, and spacious interiors – features that are highly appreciated by flight attendants who are always on the go.


Moreover, Samsonite’s commitment to sustainability, with eco-friendly collections made from recycled materials, has gained them additional recognition. These features, coupled with the brand’s outstanding reputation for customer service and product warranty, make Samsonite a favored choice among crew members of Middle Eastern based airlines.


Whether for business or personal travel, Samsonite delivers on its promise of reliability – a testament to its long-standing reputation in the luggage industry.


Delsey, a French luggage brand, has also garnered significant attention from Middle Eastern-based flight crews.


What sets Delsey apart is its sturdy construction and superior durability, which makes it ideal for international flights that demand the utmost resilience. The brand’s suitcases undergo rigorous tests to ensure they can withstand the harsh conditions of frequent travel.


Key features such as shock-resistant material, secure locking systems, and spacious yet lightweight design are highly appealing to flight crews who require reliable and practical luggage solutions. Moreover, Delsey’s commitment to quality is reflected in their excellent warranty and customer service.


With its reputation for delivering long-lasting and robust luggage, Delsey continues to earn the trust and endorsement of pilots and flight attendants based in the Middle East.

SwissGear By Wenger

SwissGear by Wenger, another favorite among flight crews, is greatly valued for its affordability without compromising on quality.


This Swiss brand cleverly incorporates durability, functionality, and style, all while maintaining a price point that’s accessible to a wide range of budgets. The brand’s luggage combines robust construction with practical designs, ensuring durability even under rigorous travel conditions.


Key features include multi-directional spinner wheels for smooth maneuverability, expandable design for extra packing space, and a TSA-friendly lock system for added security.


Furthermore, SwissGear’s customer service and warranty, much like the aforementioned brands, are commendable and appreciated by many.

Hence, SwissGear by Wenger has emerged as a preferred choice for those seeking budget-friendly, yet reliable luggage solutions.

Let's Wrap It Up!

In conclusion, both Briggs & Riley and TravelPro stand out as top choices for flight crews based on their durability, functionality, security, and excellent customer service. Briggs & Riley offers high-end, robust luggage solutions accompanied by an impressive lifetime warranty, while SwissGear provides similar quality at a more accessible price point. 


These brands successfully combine practicality and style, thereby earning the trust and endorsement of pilots and flight attendants worldwide. Whether you’re looking for premium or budget-friendly luggage, all seven brands are trustworthy and dependable.

Jezee Guico - WingsPro Founder - How To Become a Flight Attendant

Hi there! I’m Jezee, a flight attendant who finds joy in exploring the skies and hitting the road to beautiful destinations. When I’m not flying or driving, I’m passionate about creating and offering motivational support to those who need it. Let’s make every journey, both literal and metaphorical, a memorable one!

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