If you are a little keen while traveling through airports, you might have noticed that pilots and flight attendants tend to carry luggage that’s different from yours. In most cases, they are large luggage that looks serious and more formal than the typical suitcase. These bags are usually over-engineered to withstand constant daily travel and ignore the attractive features like colorful plastic shells and USB charging that most people look out for in civilian bags. And this is because pilots and flight attendants travel more often – even more frequent than business fliers. So this also means that if you would like to buy the most durable luggage then you simply go for a “flight bag” as they call it. So have you ever considered buying the luggage type that flight crews use? Well, in this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about flight bags and the top 5 best suitcases among the flight crews.
What Type Of Luggage Do Pilots Use When Flying
Most pilots and flight attendants consider a 2 bag setup when traveling. The first bag is often a large wheeled suitcase for longer flights. This is where they carry their overnight items. The second luggage, the flight bag, is not often lager as it is designed to be taken inside the cabin and cockpit. This carries all the in-flight items such as documents and food. Flight bags come in a wide variety including backpacks and duffle bags. They also feature more compartments in order to fit all the items that pilots and flight attendants use regularly.
Where do pilots have their luggage during the flight?
Pilots take their luggage inside the cockpit and keep them behind their chairs. This helps them access their items easier whenever the need arises. For the flight attendants, there are crew rest areas as well as first and last overhead bins where they can store all their luggage. Some aircraft even have a special area specifically reserved for them.
What do pilots look for in luggage?
Just like any other people, all pilots have their own requirements and preferences when it comes to their choice of flight bags. These requirements are often different from those of the normal traveler’s luggage. But despite this, there are still a few features that still remain very important for all of them. For example, all pilots will go for durable and high-quality suitcases that can withstand regular air travel. So with that, here are some of the things pilots and flight attendants consider when choosing luggage:
Pilots Choose Durable Luggage
Durability is the first and most important feature that most pilots look for in a suitcase. Since their luggage is most likely to get used more often, between two to ten flights per day. In order to withstand this repeated use, their luggage has to be very sturdy and well-constructed. And if it is hard shell luggage, it has to be made from a flexible material that will withstand constant impacts while also protecting the stored items from damage. Since it is hard to determine whether luggage is durable enough by just looking at it, always look at the customer reviews.
Pilots Look for Compact Suitcases
Depending on the airline they work for, pilots and flight crew will often need to place their bags in the cockpit and cabin. Since these are usually very small areas with limited space, the luggage should also be compact. Compact luggage is also convenient for normal travelers since it becomes very easy to carry to your terminal. The most common size for pilots and flight crew carry-on luggage is 22” x 14” x 9”. For pilots, the size of the suitcases can even be much smaller.
Pilots Choose Suitcases with Wheels and Handles
Aside from durability and convenient size, pilots and flight attendants also look for convenience in a luggage. This is why you will find most of their luggage having wheels and telescoping handles. More often, they will walk miles between the terminals. In order to make it easier for them to transport their luggage to the next plane or their overnight accommodations, they need a suitcase that they can roll behind them. While most pilot and cabin crew luggage are equipped with two wheels, there are also those with four wheels. Just like all the other parts, the wheels are also made from durable plastic that can withstand repeated use. Another important feature that is worth looking out for is the telescoping handle.
Pilots Consider Luggage Size Restrictions for Flight Crews
Most airlines have set restrictions on the size and weight of the luggage that they allow their crew to carry. The restrictions are often different from those of the passengers. This is why you will realize most pilots and flight attendants prefer to carry smaller bags than the larger ones.
Pilots Consider What Items Will Need to Be Stored Inside their Luggage
When choosing luggage, most pilots and flight attendants will also consider the items that they will pack in the bag. Therefore, if you are thinking of getting a pilot or flight attendant luggage, it is best to consider the items that you will need to carry with you. But have you ever wondered what is usually inside a pilot’s flight bag?
What’s in a Pilot’s Flight Bag
- Documents: Employers ID, passport, airport ID, pilots license, medical, and other documents
- Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, shower gel, e.t.c.
- Alcohol wipes: To disinfect and sterilize inside the cockpit before you start flying
- Torch: for your night walkarounds
- Hi-viz: normally provided by the company
- High-quality headset, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones
- Spare batteries for your headset and flashlight
- Chargers and Power bank
- Food and Water
- Extra clothes
Luggage Brands That Are Most Recommended by Pilots and Flight Attendants
There is a seemingly endless supply of pilot and flight attendants luggage brands and not all of them are created equal. With that, let’s look at the luggage brands that are most popular among the pilots and flight attendants.
This is one brand that is coveted by pilots and pilots who don’t have any luggage as well as those who have already picked one up. I fact, it is the only rand that has positioned itself as the “makers of suitcases for pilots and crew”. Most of their models come with steel frames and are built to last a lifetime. Their warranty period is normally up to three years from the date of purchase. One thing that makes them particularly admirable is that they can even customize your luggage with the logo of the airline that you work for.
Briggs & Riley
Briggs and Riley is another company that makes admirable high-quality luggage. So far, it is the only brand that offers a lifetime guarantee for their products. Probably this is one of the reasons why they are very popular with pilots and flight attendants. With the lifetime repair, you could easily spot a pilot with only one luggage in his or her entire career. The only downside of this brand’s products is its price which is quite expensive compared to other luggage brands.
Just as the name suggests, this brand is specifically made to be as strong as possible. However, from the reports that we have heard, the brand is not yet as durable as Luggage Works. Although when it comes to making luggage designed for the extra requirements of pilots and flight attendants, it is the main competitor of Luggage Works. But despite this, there are still many pilots and flight attendants who don’t like the fact that it is a Chinese brand.
This brand is very popular for its high-quality wheels and sturdy handles. The brand offers a wide range of mid-range luggage specially designed for the flight crew. One of their best line of products is the TravelPro FlightCrew5. However, this is not usually available through regular channels. Since it is intended just for pilots and flight attendants, you can only find it in specialist flight crew stores.
If you thought every pilot and flight attendant likes carrying an expensive carry on then you are very wrong. There are also those who prefer using the cheaper bags from the Costco brand. This brand offers a wide variety of products at different price points. One of the things that led to their popularity is their policy of replacing luggage from their buyers without any question.
The luggage from this brand comes with cases made from premium anodized aluminum. This material is claimed to be as strong as steel but now without the added weight of steel. This is probably why the Zero Halliburton were the makers of those cases that were used to transport the rocks from the moon to the earth after the Apollo 11 landing. Although you may spot a few pilots and flight attendants with this brand, it is not very common.
Rimowa Luggage For Pilots
This is another go-to brand for those pilots and flight attendants looking for luggage with a strong case for extra protection. Rimowa’s suitcase are also super stylish compared to other brands.
This brand has been making luggage for over seven decades which means you can trust it. For all those years, it has been consistently rated as one of the best travel luggage brands. Their luggage comes with a stylish and innovative design that relates to its Parisian roots. Their products come with 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and even a lifetime warranty.
This is another popular brand for those pilots and flight attendants who want durability and reliability at reasonable prices. While all the other brands may offer better in terms of durability and warranty, they usually lack in most other aspects – and this is where Samsonite beats them. The brand offers a perfect blend of quality, design, features, and prices making it ideal for both business and leisure travel.
5 Luggage Commonly Used by Pilots and Flight Attendants
1.The best backpack for a pilot
Since pilots and flight attendants use their bags every day, there are those who consider a backpack to be more versatile than a normal flight bag. The best backpack for flight attendants and pilots is the Travelpro Crew Executive. This luggage is designed to enable you to go through the airport security check without removing your laptop or tablet. The material used is mostly ballistic nylon, which is very tough, with DuraGuard. This helps in resisting stains as well as abrasions. It includes a USB port for connecting your devices, a padded compartment for laptops and tablets, and an RFID blocking pocket for protecting your credit cards.
2. The best small briefcase for a pilot
Nowadays, more and more pilots and flight attendants are resolving to carry just a briefcase while traveling. The Samsonite Classic Business 3 Gusset is the perfect option for those who are looking for something compact but still large enough. It comes with lots of compartments for holding all your items and wrapped bale handles for improved comfort. It is made of durable ballistic nylon material and there is a padded laptop compartment. One of its best features is a handy pocket that slips over the handle of a carry-on suitcase. This makes it convenient to carry a total of two suitcases with only one hand.
3. The best duffle bag for a pilot
There are different types of pilots and flight attendants with different needs. If you are a student pilot looking for a handheld everyday bag with a larger capacity, the Briggs & Riley Baseline Deluxe will appeal to you. It is also recommended for those pilots and flight attendants who want to have a well-organized and accessible bag. It comes with SpeedThru pocket for security checks and quick storage of items and Gusseted side zipper pockets for organization. There is a dual purpose slip-through pocket at the back that allows the bag to slide over the Outsider handle. There is a large U-shaped opening that allows you to easily access your items. In the interior, there are small pockets for carrying things like magazines, pens, and keys. On the exterior, there is a slip pocket and zipper water bottle pocket. The pocket on the opposite side is slightly larger and can fit magazines.
4. The best pilot rolling briefcase for a Pilot
Since rolling briefcases are great for regular travel or work, they are a perfect option for pilots and flight attendants. The RIMOWA Lufthansa Bolero Multiwheel is a well-designed rolling briefcase with a smooth double roller wheeling system. It is one briefcase that combines functionality and comfort. It is made of light polycarbonate that is durable with an almost indestructible design. Although it is a bit pricey, the robustness of this product promises that it will last forever. It has a well-designed interior that is large enough with detachable compartments. There is a separate pocket for storing your laptop.
5. The best overnight carry-on bag for a Pilot
In addition to a flight bag, pilots and flight attendants also like to carry an additional wheeled carry on suitcase. These bags are also ideal when you are traveling for a short holiday getaway. The luggageworks stealth 22 is one of the best carry-on bags, particularly popular among pilots in the US. It is super rugged luggage that is perfect if you are after ultra-durable luggage. There are several pockets for fitting all your items and a hook for attaching an extra bag. It features a solid metal frame construction with a stainless steel retractable handle. The only downside of this bag is its weight which is a bit heavier than the average pilot luggage.
As you can see, pilots and flight attendants also want their luggage to be small, durable, and convenient. But while they need to pack their belongings just like other passengers, they usually have less space for storing their luggage. These luggage also need to be durable enough to withstand frequent travel as well as durable plastic wheels and a telescoping handle for convenience. So if you travel regularly or you are particularly abusive to your luggage, the pilot and flight attendants luggage options could be ideal for you. But remember, the ideal flight bag is a matter of personal preference, thus, first think about what you need and then make your choice.