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Carry-on luggage review – the best new hand luggage for your travels

We pay so much attention when we travel to security restrictions, and making sure that our hold luggage will withstand the baggage handler Olympics (yes, particularly the throwing disciplines!), that it often doesn’t leave room for us to really consider our hand luggage. But finding a sturdy case is all important so we’ve gathered together some of the latest on the market to put them through our carry-on luggage review.

Your cabin luggage is like a trusty steed – always at your side on your journeys around the world – so it needs to be fit for purpose as you wander the airport, and when you land the other side.

With our lives revolving so much around technology these days, it’s good to see that luggage manufacturers are taking this into consideration with their cabin baggage. We’ve also come across cases that are built to last and help us handle the restrictions of travelling with just carry-on luggage

Take a look at these three on point hand luggage options which we have reviewed for style, convenience and efficiency, then pick up a few packing tips before you load up your suitcase.

Get ready to fly with our carry-on luggage review

Thule Subterra

From £170 from Amazon

The Subterra range of luggage has been cleverly designed with a multifunctional purpose. It offers sophisticated style for business but also smartly designed for casual leisure travel.

Dimensions: 20 x 35 x 55 cm

Packing capacity: 36 litres

Weight: 3.18kg

Cabin baggage review - Thule Subterra carry-on

Why we love it: Swedish company, Thule, is perhaps best known by photographers and outdoorsy types for their protective bags that are made to take a pounding. So it’s carry-on bags should certainly stand the test of time, and on our first tests of them they have.

This sleek case has smooth lines and looks great as you wheel it behind you. It has a rigid, sturdy back, while the front half is also made of a strong material and its two wheels were far bigger and tougher than we’ve ever found on a cabin bag.

One of the features we love on it is a compression panel it has in the back half, which you can use to press down on your packed clothing to allow more space in your case. The front half of the case is padded and allows for loose items. There’s also a front pocket to keep your important items accessible.

There is also a netting area in the inside front pocket, which is great for small items like charging cables, and an attachment allowing you to hook on a handbag or other small item to the front of the case, saving it from slipping this way and that off the top of the case.

Cons: One of the issues we had with the case is that the capacity of the outer pocket affects the capacity of the inside front, so you have a little less space than you anticipated. Also although sturdy is good, the rigidity of the fabric it’s made from means it’s inflexible if you have things tightly packed or want to make a quick grab for something inside without opening the case up.

Antler Titus Cabin Suitcase

£149 from Amazon

Antler is a British brand that has been designing luggage for over 100 years, so they know a thing or two about innovation, quality and style. And selected products are backed by a ten-year warranty.

Antler Titus Cabin Bag | Pic: Supplied courtesy of Antler

Dimensions: 55 x 40 x 20cm

Packing capacity: 34 litres

Weight: 2.2kg

Why we love it: There is nothing worse than juggling your passport, boarding pass and trying to charge your devices on the go, but the Titus certainly saves the day. With a slimmer pocket on the front to hold your documents for easy access, plus a larger one that amply fits my MacBook Air, it makes the check-in and security process so much slicker.

It’s a super lightweight case and along with the four-wheeled spinner system, I can glide through the airport. And its sleek styling is perfect for both business and leisure travellers.

Saving the best till last, Antler has created a built-in power bank system for charging devices. Featuring a pocket on the back to store your power bank and phone, with an integrated USB port on the top, I can charge up on the move without performing a juggling act.

Cons: We do love cabin bags that open out into two halves, rather than like a traditional suitcase as they make packing easier – especially when you’re only travelling with a carry-on. Also on the inside, the zipped section in the top of the case is very flat and insubstantial, allowing little room for items.

Click here for a handy guide to baggage restrictions from Antler.

Floatti Smart Case

Approx $550, available from early 2018

We are very excited about the hotly anticipated Floatti case, which combines technology with smart design and hot looks.

Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 21cm

Packing capacity: 30 litres

Weight: 3.6kg

The team behind the Californian brand are confident they can make us all happier travellers – here it is in action:

Why we love it: To our minds, this is a case that packs more than just clothing – it promises to pack a punch. It will feature a handbag docking station, an integrated weighing scale and even clips on the handle to hold your coat or an additional bag.

It features a handbag docking station, an integrated weighing scale and even clips on the handle to hold your coat or an additional bag.

The three USB ports allow you to charge multiple devices boosting an iPhone up to seven times. There’s also a port to charge a MacBook one and a half times allowing you to work on the go. Then in-built Bluetooth technology means you can make calls and access other features on your phone.

You will also be able to purchase trackers for your Floatti that allow you to locate your case or individual items such as your passport if you’re prone to losing things.

Cons: It’s a little heavier and has a smaller capacity, but as we haven’t been able to road test the Floatti ourselves yet, the only other downside we can highlight is the rather hefty price tag. But on release, we’ll be able to see if it’s worth every penny.


Lover of all things travel, Lorraine can often be found whiling away hours on Pinterest (so easily done!), looking for new places to visit or new spaces she can make over at home. Throw in a good book, delicious food and wine, combined with great company, and she is a happy soul indeed!

Follow Lorraine Loveland

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