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Old Mar 28, 11, 11:58 pm   #1
 
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Pros and Cons of Hard Side vs. Soft Side Luggage

It seems that hard luggage is getting more populat. Not just Rimowa, but Samsonite and others seem to be selling (mostly) European made light hard luggage in the US.

I thought to myself, why not go into an upscale luggage store and ask? So, I went to two, and asked what are the pros and cons of the hard vs. soft luggage. In the first store I was told "some people like one better than the other." In the second store, I was told that "some people fly and in the airport they see the luggage and decide what they like."

Of course, after I asked, I realized my folly in asking advice of two natives of a country where cardboard boxes seem to be the preferred air luggage - http://bit.ly/gFSSVb .

Any thoughts on the pros and cons?
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Old Mar 29, 11, 10:03 am   #2
 
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New scam at BKK airport

A friend said that a Thai police official has told the friend of a new scam at BKK airport. Drug runners will slip a package of drugs into the unlocked side pocket of luggage going around on the baggage carousel. After owner grabs the bag, and if owner gets out past Customs, the drug runners will stop the bag owner and reclaim the drug packet. If owner gets caught by Customs, well that's the owner's problem.

Solution: Use hard side luggage with no side pockets that can be opened, or else lock every pocket on soft sided bag.
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Old Mar 29, 11, 10:18 am   #3
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We have both.

Some of the advantages of hard side (of course it depends on the piece)
  • It's waterproof
  • it can be lighter
  • it's significantly easier to clean
  • you can stack another bag on it
  • it is sturdier

and soft side
  • expands when you need more capacity
  • collapses for storage
  • usually has outside pockets
  • Can have several compartments
  • Doesn't usually show wear as easily

We also have a hybrid bag (or did, not sure if it's in the current rotation or if it died) that has a hard bottom and sides, but a soft top to allow for the benefits of both.
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Old Mar 29, 11, 12:24 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFlyer View Post
In the first store I was told "some people like one better than the other." In the second store, I was told that "some people fly and in the airport they see the luggage and decide what they like."

Of course, after I asked, I realized my folly in asking advice of two natives of a country where cardboard boxes seem to be the preferred air luggage - http://bit.ly/gFSSVb.
You'd find the same situation in photography stores, electronics stores, etc.

The problem is that we no longer have knowledgable specialists working in the stores. In the old days people could spend an entire career within one industry and their experience showed.

If you could be working in McDonald's next month, Walmart after that, you really won't have any expertise, nor the incentive to develop any.
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Old Mar 29, 11, 4:09 pm   #5
 
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I thought people smuggled drugs out of Thailand by air, not into Thailand.

Would also be smarter to slip the drugs into someones carry-on in the plane when it's dark and everyone's asleep. At least that's how I would do it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tangoll View Post
A friend said that a Thai police official has told the friend of a new scam at BKK airport. Drug runners will slip a package of drugs into the unlocked side pocket of luggage going around on the baggage carousel. After owner grabs the bag, and if owner gets out past Customs, the drug runners will stop the bag owner and reclaim the drug packet. If owner gets caught by Customs, well that's the owner's problem.

Solution: Use hard side luggage with no side pockets that can be opened, or else lock every pocket on soft sided bag.
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Old Apr 1, 11, 10:25 pm   #6
 
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I bought my first hard-sided bag when I wanted to bring a flat-screen monitor with me for a 5-month stay abroad. The hard shell just seemed more protective, especially since the rest of the stuff in the bag was squishy, so the only rigid thing was the monitor. I'm not convinced the shell is rigid enough, however. You can still pretty easily distort the bag unless you cram it full of stuff.
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Old Apr 1, 11, 11:14 pm   #7
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Actually, I don't care if the bag is hard side or soft side. Just love my Deluxe Leather Luggage Bag. Good for me. Anyway, hope u find the best bet.
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Old Apr 2, 11, 3:17 pm   #8
 
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I find my soft-sided bag has one big advantage. I've never had trouble carrying it onto the plane. The few times it gets a raised eyebrow I just say it's soft and would squeeze into the sizer. I've never had to prove it.

In point of fact I believe it wouldn't even fit either. The wheels are attached to a rigid base which is about an inch longer than the published dimensions.
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Old Apr 3, 11, 11:30 pm   #9
 
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The hard suitcases are going to protect any of your items that you might be carrying with you so that something like this does not happen to you! I do not think a lot of people realize the abuse our suitcases take. Not only on the beltway to the plane, but they also get thrown around by the people that put the luggage on the plane, and then once it is on the plane it is surrounded by hundreds of other bags - all poking and bumping into each other.
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Last edited by rajeshn; Jun 22, 11 at 4:36 am.
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Old Apr 4, 11, 8:04 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeshn View Post
The hard suitcases are going to protect any of your items that you might be carrying with you so that something like this does not happen to you! I do not think a lot of people realize the abuse our suitcases take. Not only on the beltway to the plane, but they also get thrown around by the people that put the luggage on the plane, and then once it is on the plane it is surrounded by hundreds of other bags - all poking and bumping into each other.
This is true, but for me the lesson is to pack carefully! Most fragile cargo from electronics to cameras to wine bottles is shipped around the world in cardboard boxes with styrofoam padding. I usually travel with enough clothes to provide sufficient padding; in exceptional cases add bubble wrap, styrofoam etc.; never had problem.
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Old Apr 4, 11, 8:31 am   #11
 
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I changed from hardsided checked luggage to soft last year for the following reason: If the hardside luggage is not completely full, it will crack when the airlines stack 6 bags on top of it. Both my hardside suitcases were eventually cracked when not completely full. I now have B&R softside luggage that I check. It gets dirty, but has worn well for my 7 trips this year.
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Old Apr 4, 11, 8:44 am   #12
 
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I purchased a Samsonite hard side with thoughts of using as a combination carryon/foot rest - at the last minute decided to check it. When I retrieved it from baggage claim two large holes were poked through the hard casing and the rest of the shell was cracked and in shambles - needless to say I have a claim in to the airline but I'm leery about purchasing another hard side since this one didn't survive even one flight.

My soft side is 8 years old and although a little scuffed still in great shape and it has at least 500,000 miles on it. I'm sure this was just a case of bad luck...
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Old Apr 4, 11, 9:22 am   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPpete View Post
I changed from hardsided checked luggage to soft last year for the following reason: If the hardside luggage is not completely full, it will crack when the airlines stack 6 bags on top of it. Both my hardside suitcases were eventually cracked when not completely full.
I had a giant Samsonite hardside that cracked, but only after several years. I have a Delsey hardside (much thicker shell material than the Samsonite was) that I received as a hand-me-down from my father--he used it for several years, and I've been using for 12+ years. There are a few cosmetic scrapes and gouges, but absolutely no sign of cracking whatsoever.
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