Cabin or hand luggage as it is also know, is an increasingly popular form of suitcase designed, unsurprisingly, to be taken in the cabin of an aeroplane. Airlines give passengers the opportunity to take these bags on to their flights for free, so long as they fit within certain weight and size guidelines. These are then stored in overhead compartments on the plane during flight.
Why choose cabin luggage?
There are many advantages to using cabin sized suitcases, firstly, convenience. Being able to take your luggage with you means that you don't have to wait for it to arrive on conveyor belts upon reaching your destination. This brings us to another advantage, avoiding those pesky conveyors and the baggage handlers mean that your suitcase is not only less likely to go missing; it is also less likely to sustain damage or be stolen.
Finally, a properly sized cabin size suitcase will avoid any fees, unlike their bigger brothers who often pick up hefty additional fines. Due to their diminutive size, cabin suitcases are also great choices for short-breaks where you should be able to fit all your required items in the case, although you may have to leave that extra pair of shoes at home!
Materials - what to look for
Generally speaking, cabin cases are mini replicas of their full size counterparts, offering the same features and functionality. Sometimes however, manufacturers will remove certain features to keep the size and weight low enough to fit within airline restrictions, for example replacing 4-wheels with 2, or replacing the locking system with a fixed system.
It is also not uncommon for cabin cases to have additional features that compliment their size, for example some come with a back mounted strap for using the case as a backpack.
Be careful to check the sizes of your cabin case as manufacturers may product two types to account for the variations in accepting size by airlines. Small cabin size is accepted as hand luggage on 90 percent of airlines and Cabin size, sometimes also referred to as Large cabin, are accepted on 70 percent of airlines.
If you are unsure which size is accepted as cabin size on your airline, check out this great baggage allowance checker comparing all the major airlines.
Two great examples of Cabin luggage are the AntlerLitestream II Cabin case, which was recently awarded a Which? Magazine best buy award and the Antler Flyweight Cabin case
The Litestream II is an Antler soft luggage suitcase that comes in two sizes to meet either 70 percent or 90 percent of carry on requirements; it features quality 900 denier polyester materials, expanding lid compartment and a 10 year guarantee.
The Flyweight on the other hand is a hard case with a unique diamond embossed front panel and high-density ABS material construction making it both lightweight and durable. It features a central locking trolley system and a TSA fixed combination lock.
These two products demonstrate that compromising on size doesn't mean compromising on quality.