When it comes to luggage allowances, U.S. airlines, despite all their problems, are better than a lot of airlines outside the country. With these few exceptions, your checked luggage for domestic flights is allowed to be up to 50 pounds, and of the major airlines, only Frontier has a weight limit for carry-on or personal bags.
Outside the country, it’s a totally different situation. Many airlines outside the U.S. only allow your checked bag to be up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds). And carry-on bags (and oftentimes even personal bags!), along with size requirements, sometimes also have maximum weight requirements. That amount varies depending on the airline or even country, but it’s almost always much less generous than what the U.S. allows.
Anyway, Joe and I were planning our trip to Southeast Asia. Our flights to and from the U.S. were on our own. However we were going with a well-known tour company and they were responsible for these flights:
- Ho Chi Mihn City/Saigon to Da Nang, Vietnam
- Da Nang to Hanoi, Vietnam
- Hanoi to Luang Prabang, Laos
- Luang Prabang to Siem Reap, Cambodia
We wouldn’t know what airlines they were using until just a couple of days before said flights, so Joe researched which airlines flew between each of the destinations. Depending on the flights, our possible choices were:
- Vietnam Airlines (max weight is 22# per hand luggage, no more than 26# total for carry-on and personal bag)
- Bamboo Airways (max weight is 15# for carry-on, 6.5# for personal bags)
- Lao Airlines (max weight is 15# for carry-on, personal bag is to be small; handbag, pocketbook, purse, etc.)
- Bangkok Airways (max weight is 11# for carry-on; weight for personal bag not given)
Meanwhile, although the backpack I use as a personal bag on flights is lightweight, my TravelPro carry-on bag weighs about 8#, empty. That wasn’t going to work…especially if we had to worry about a max weight of 11 or 15 pounds. So I started checking Amazon, Google, etc. for the most lightweight carry-on bag I could find.
I knew I wanted something with 2 wheels, with a telescoping handle, and preferred something with a solid “suitcase” shape, rather than a more free-form duffel bag style.
Eventually, I came across it Luggage. A UK-based company that’s represented at Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Target, Macy’s, Boscov’s, Sierra and Nordstrom Rack (??? One of these things is not like the others…), they advertise themselves as making ultra lightweight luggage. I discovered that Amazon had one of their bags, the 22″ Los Angeles soft side carry-on 2-wheel bag. It had a 4.4 out of 5 rating, with 72% 5 stars, 13% 4 stars, 7% 3 stars and 4 each of 2 and 1 stars.
It was the only one available, and was in “Used, Like New” condition, but at the time my trip was less than a week away and beggars can’t be choosers, so I ordered it. I took it as a good omen that the only available color was purple (along with bright orange, it’s one of my most favorite colors).
The 21.8 x 14.2 x 7.3″ bag arrived a few days later. It weighed 3.81 pounds.
My first thought was that overall, the bag was pretty flimsy, especially in comparison to my trusty TravelPro. But honestly, if they were trying to cut out weight, I didn’t expect the bag to be as tough as a carry-on that’s made for hard work.
That being said, the (side and top) handles, imprinted with the words WORLD’S LIGHTEST, were comfortable and attached well. The zippers (2 on the main part of the bag, 1 each on the two front pockets) were plastic and the zipper pulls were cheaply made, but seemed sturdy enough for typical use. The 2 wheels worked well and the bag was pitched very slightly backwards, so it didn’t have a problem with tipping over, as long as I didn’t make it top-heavy.
The reddish-orange colored inside was typical of a carry on bag. It had 2 straps to keep items from moving around. The bag cover had 4 interior net-style pockets, finished with elastic, that were admittedly pretty small and narrow but could stretch enough to accommodate items as thick as a hairbrush.
The telescopic handle appeared to be the bag’s biggest liability; it didn’t seem to have any sort of locking mechanism to keep it in place when fully extended. So it oftentimes wouldn’t stay in the “pulled out” position if you left the handle fully extended. It also tended to “untelescope” if you tried to push, rather than pull the bag.
The telescopic handle was also interesting in that (A) it had a foam grip that was surprisingly comfortable and (B) the handle ran the entire width of the bag, instead of a typical 6″ or so. That meant some travel bags designed to slide down over a telescoping handle wouldn’t fit.
How well it worked
In real-life use, the bag held a decent amount of items – for me that usually meant one change of clothes, things at risk of breakage, and stuff I “couldn’t live without” on the trip (for example, my “bag o’ wires” for my electronics, my electric toothbrush & its charger and our 220 to 110 voltage converter), if my checked bag got lost. I was admittedly very careful with how much I put into the bag, because of my concerns about the weight requirements of some airlines (as it turned out, not one airline during our trip actually weighed our carry-on/personal bags. But I didn’t know ahead of time that would be the case. We’ve had travel experiences in the past where airlines did weigh our bags [I’m looking at you, Jetstar]).
All told, the bag made it through the overhead compartments of 12 flights:
- MCO to LAX
- LAX to SIN
- SIN to SGN
- SGN to DAD
- DAD to HAN
- HAN to LPQ
- LPQ to VTE
- VTE to HAN
- HAN to REP
- REP to SIN
- SIN to SFO
- SFO to MCO
It was also in the luggage hold of multiple charter and shuttle buses over the course of 17 days. And, of course, it got dragged through airports, city streets, hotels and resorts, etc.
Overall, the suitcase held up well. Aware of its flimsiness, I was admittedly careful with the bag and didn’t give it the workout my TravelPro would typically get (i.e. I always used curb cuts instead of pulling it off a curb). That being said, everything – the wheels, handle, zippers, etc. – are still intact. The telescopic handle seems to be looser (read: easier to “untelescope”) than before the trip, but as I said earlier, it admittedly wasn’t all that sturdy to begin with.
I don’t think I would ever use this bag as my everyday carry-on. Although I appreciated carrying over 4 pounds less weight, I think of it as more “fragile” than my TravelPro. But for those flights where the weight of my carry-on may be a concern, I’m glad I’ll have it available.
It doesn’t look as if it Luggage still carries the 22″ Los Angeles soft side carry-on 2-wheel bag. The one I got on Amazon was purchased “used, like new” and a lot of the reviews are from 2019 or so. So I suspect it’s now discontinued. Which isn’t to say it may not be found with a lot of Googling…after all, I found one in a sea of Amazon choices. However, as a possible replacement, it Luggage’s website does have a 4-wheeled “Classic – Cabin” ultra-lightweight bag that’s 1.6kg (3.5#).
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Have been using this bag since 2016. No issues. Just had to replace wheels recently. Not a big deal
The first thing I look for is how much of the height allowance the wheels take up. Some tuck the wheels into corner wells, maximizing the interior volume. On this 4-wheel model the wheels are entirely below the body, taking 2″-3″ away from the usable height of the bag. Not good.
I have been using IT luggage for a long time. The IT brand has been great for me and my husband as well (he has his own IT luggage). We have traveled to England, France, Italy, Greece and many trips back and forth to Florida. Highly recommend .