Luggage for Business Travelers

Business.com / Business Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

As a business traveler, you can’t run the risk of checking your bag and then losing it for days (or for good) when your flights ...

As a business traveler, you can’t run the risk of checking your bag and then losing it for days (or for good) when your flights are delayed or cancelled. Luggage manufacturers are responding to the harsh realities of air travel by designing bags that are smaller, lighter, tougher, and whole lot “smarter” when it comes to maximizing space. There are steps you should take before heading out to buy a new bag:

1. Know the carry-on rules: TSA, airlines', the U.S. and other countries.
2. Define how and how often you travel then buy a bag that best meets those needs.
3. Learn the pros and cons of various bag types, including construction, features, warranties and cost.

Review the rules

Between the airlines and the government, it’s a challenge to know what you’ll face when you get to that critical airport security checkpoint. The savvier you are, the quicker you’ll get through and on to the gate.
TSA rules anyway; they’re the official guidelines. (For regulations governing several European airports check out the British Airways website). Knowing what to expect from the airlines is tougher because regulations can change with plane size, load factors, etc. Your best bet is to review the guidelines on airline Web sites.

Know what luggage is top-rated and why

Frequent business travelers and the publications they read are great resources when it comes to evaluating the best carry-on bags.

Evaluate luggage features, construction and warranty

Look for quality materials: leather is nice but expensive and heavier to carry; nylon or ballistic nylon is more durable than polyester; soft-sided is more versatile than hard-sided. Check out construction: bags with rounded corners hold less than those with square corners. An internal handle mechanism takes up valuable space but an external assembly should be built tough to hold up to rough handling. Pull-handles should not wobble when extended (look for a handle grip on the bottom of the bag too—it makes it easier to heft into an overhead bin). And check out the warranty. Some manufacturers (Briggs & Riley, for example) are noted for a warranty that will repair whatever happens to the bag, whenever. Others are not so generous. Read the fine print.

Evaluate luggage features, construction and warranty

Look for quality materials: leather is nice but expensive and heavier to carry; nylon or ballistic nylon is more durable than polyester; soft-sided is more versatile than hard-sided. Check out construction: bags with rounded corners hold less than those with square corners. An internal handle mechanism takes up valuable space but an external assembly should be built tough to hold up to rough handling. Pull-handles should not wobble when extended (look for a handle grip on the bottom of the bag too—it makes it easier to heft into an overhead bin). And check out the warranty. Some manufacturers (Briggs & Riley, for example) are noted for a warranty that will repair whatever happens to the bag, whenever. Others are not so generous. Read the fine print.

Shop online for the best deals

Except for rare (i.e. emergency) situations, you should never have to pay full price for good quality luggage. Once you know what kind of bag will work best for the way you travel, head to the Internet to track down best-values.

Have a Plan B when your luggage absolutely must be there

Even with carry-ons, there’s always the chance that you and your luggage might become separated. When ‘taking a chance’ is not an option, look into alternative ways to get your bag(s) to your destination.
  • If your itinerary includes both domestic and international travel, make sure you know ALL the applicable security carry-on rules before you travel. A bag that might make it onboard a domestic flight could end up in the baggage hold on the return from your international destination.
  • Size is important, but weight matters too. Opt for the lightest quality bag you can find to avoid hefty overweight charges.
  • European Union (EU) countries have recently changed their carry-on and checked luggage rules. Check them out before you travel.
  • Find out if the aircraft you’ll be flying are classified as “regional jets.” Some of these smaller aircraft have miniscule overhead bins, some none at all. This means you’ll have to gate-check your bag and pick it up on the Jetway or the bottom of the aircraft stairs as you exit the plane.
  • While it’s now OK to lock your bags, you can only use TSA-approved locking devices that can be opened with a universal TSA key or their approved tools (Caution: this rule is not consistently applied by TSA agents.)

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