What do I do if my case gets damaged by the airline?
If you are unfortunate enough to have a case damaged by the airline, it is very important that you go to the luggage desk and make a claim BEFORE you leave the airport, they will tell you what you need to do to make a claim. It is harder to make a claim once you have left the airport, as you have then lost the proof that the damage was caused by miss handling by the airline.
What should I do if the airline looses my luggage?
This is an understandably very traumatic event, airlines will treat luggage as 'Delayed' for 21 days before being classed as lost, so it is 21 days before you can claim compensation. If you go to the luggage desk they will tell you what will happen.
Why do I need a TSA lock to travel to the USA? I have perfectly good padlocks, why can I not use them?
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) electronically Screens all bags that enter the USA, at times they will want to inspect the contents of your bag / case, if you use TSA approaved locks this enables the security at the airport to open your case without cutting your padlocks off, they can then put the locks back on your bag / case.
TSA locks are available as a traditional padlock with keys and also as a combination lock, on the base of the padlocks you will see a second tiny key hole, this is used by security to open your padlock without having to cut it open using a universal master key.
On the majority of TSA padlocks you will not know that it has been opened, some locks come with a tamper alert so you can see if the padlock has been opened using the universal master key.
I can not decide between hard or soft sided luggage?
Their are pro's and con's to both
For hard sided luggage, they tend to be heavier, but on the other hand will offer greater protection to more delicate items, They tend to be more durable and stand up to the rigors of check in luggage, on the other side they are also less car friendly – they don’t squash! They offer some weather protection, but be aware the opening seam will seep rain in eventually. They come in a variety of plain and textured finishes, colours and patterns. They are available in all sizes from carry on to extra large for long distance travelling.
For soft sided luggage, it tends to be considerably lighter and when the airlines are ever more restrictive on carrying weights this allows you to maximise what you can take with you! Being soft sided it also allows for a certain amount of over packing! Despite being fabric based, most are made from very durable Nylon, so are tough and to a certain extent weather resistant (although not all have a specific weather resistant finish) they may also not last as long as hard sided over several trips. Unlike hard sided luggage, most soft sided luggage come with external zipped pockets, these can be useful for magazines or travel information you may need at the airport while you wait for your flight.
Are 2 or 4 wheel cases better?
Neither! Its down to personal choice. Although a two wheel variant of a case appears to be smaller than the four wheel variant, this is rarely the case, the four wheels make the case taller than its two wheel counterpart BUT the carcesses of the cases are actually the same size so, so exactly the same packing capacity.
2 wheel cases either come with 2 wheels on the narrow side or on the broad side, broad side makes them more stable to tow, however if you will be doing lots of travel by train having the 2 wheels on the narrow side the case has a narrower towing profile making it ideal for narrower isles on trains. 2 wheel cases will only roll on the wheels when tipped over slightly.
4 wheel cases (spinners) have a wheel at each corner on the base of the case, not only can the case be tipped and towed, it also allows the case to be pushed, for example in a queue without having to tip it over. The wheels allow for 360 degree rotation allowing great maneuverability.
Some cases have an expanding section, some do not, why?
Expanding sections are only found on soft sided luggage, and are often not included on the smaller carry on cases, some cheaper ranges of budget luggage will not have this feature.
Originally this zip section was designed for compressing clothes, the idea is you unzip this section, pack your case and then finally zip up the expanding section, this compresses the clothes in your case, reducing movement and therefore creasing.
But most people use this feature to pack a little extra in the case!
Why are Carry On cases not all the same size?
Carry on sizes for airlines differs between airlines, for example one airline may allow 56×45×25cm whereas another may only allow 50×40×20cm and remember the measurements given are for the total external dimensions of the case, including all wheels and handles.
At the airport the airline carriers will have cages for you to drop your case into, if your case does not fit in the cage you will have to book it on as check in luggage (to go in the hold of the plane) often at an additional cost.
Before you travel you need to check with the airline you are travelling with what size they allow for carry on, information is widely availably on their various websites.
I have forgotten the combination code for my lock?
I am sorry there is no easy way round this dilemma, sit down with a nice cup of tea and your case and methodically work your way round all the number combinations available until your case opens and of course do not forget to make a note of the number! Unfortunately there is no magic master code to open the case. If your combination lock is a TSA lock, you will see a small keyhole on the lock, however you can not buy the keys to open these locks so unfortunately this is not a solution either.
I have lost the key's for my padlock?
Unfortunately the only solution is to cut the padlock off and replace it with a new one.
How should I store my cases when not in use?
It is important to store your cases in a dry area, otherwise mold and mildew with form on the cases, which is very hard to remove, especially on soft sided luggage. To save space most suitcase sets nest inside each other to save space when in storage, this also applies to other cases, as obviously you can store smaller bags in them. Please do not seal the case in a plastic bag, as this will encourage the growth of mold and mildew, if you wish to use a bag as a dust cover, put it over the case and leave the bottom open, or cover with a sheet to keep the dust at bay. Do not stack heavy items on top of soft sided luggage this will leave a dent in the fabric of the case.
My case falls over?
The narrower a case is the more unstable it will be. If you have a case that has a wish to lie down, you can help by careful packing. If your taking heavier items, books, shoes etc. pack these into the base of the case (as if it was standing up) and hopefully this will help with stability.
What size case do I need for my luggage allowance?
Suitcases come in a myriad of sizes 55,56,65,67,77,80,82cm etc. But there is a general rule of thumb (This is based on a 'usual' mix of clothing and shoes):
Carry-On cases (50 something cm's in height)
These pack up to 10kg depending on the size of the case and is the size that will accompany you on the aircraft as a cabin bag.
Medium Cases (60 something cm's in height)
These are the cases that are the middle size in a nesting set of three, these are the size you want for a 20kg luggage allowance.
Large Cases (70 or 80 something cm's in height)
This is the largest case in a nesting set of three. These are for luggage allowances over 20kg's and will typically pack to 25kg's plus
(Please remember if you have soft sided luggage that by the nature of the case being soft sided, that it can be 'over packed' and therefore beyond the packing weight guide!)
There is a zip in the lining of my case without a puller on it?
These zips are there for the use of customs. In cases with linings customs cut the linings to see behind them, with these zips they are able to unzip the lining and look without destroying your lovely new suitcase.
The reason they are fitted with no zip pulls on them and the wrong way round is to prevent them from damaging clothing due to them rubbing against them in transit.