Do Airlines Prefer Hard Or Soft Luggage?

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage? and Is hard or soft luggage better?

Even though most airlines do not judge or care about the kind of suitcase you are traveling with, rather than the size and the weight of your bag.

There are numerous factors to consider if you are planning to choose between a hard or soft suitcase.

Some travelers recommend soft sided suitcases for domestic travel while others recommend hard-sided suitcases for international travel.

Others recommend just sticking with the one that works best for you.

And if your bag is above the allowance size or weight of your airline , you are just in trouble; you will be charged excess baggage fees. We recommend this post about airlines extra baggage fees and tricks.

But still you will need to choose a suitcase that will withstand the rough handling of luggage handlers.

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage
Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage (image)

Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage?


If it comes to what airlines prefer the most we can say that the airline wants a solid bag that can stand for rough handling (to avoid compensations), so it will prevent your items from breaking, to avoid compensation and claims especially for checked luggage.

Traveling with a hard suitcase will save you time filling the damaged baggage form, and still receive your items in good shape, obviously not all hard sided luggage are the same.

The best part of having a hard suitcase is that if you are traveling with your precious or fragile items and forget to pack them well . you do not need to wonder if they are still the same shape as you checked them.

However, airlines advise you to place your precious and essential items on carry-on baggage , and they won’t take any responsibility if they are damaged or lost within checked baggage.

Well secured

the second factor to consider when choosing a hard or soft luggage is your bag must be well secured

A very secured bag will keep your belongings safe.

There are a plethora of suitcases with TSA approved locks, you can find them online.

browse amazon or the Samsonite website to find the one that you like.

When choosing your bag, make sure it has a well secured zip also.


airlines prefer different colored bags, that will ease to be recognized when arrivals and avoid being lost.

but if you find a suitcase with the mentioned factors but not colored, make sure to put a colored tag on it, and if you want to make your baggage colored and easy to find on the baggage carousel Hey USA have some amazing collections of colored and decorated maps, and fun things feel free to check them out.


You want your bag to carry all your essential items, toiletries, clothes, books, and electronics. and also adhere to the airline’s baggage allowance as stated in the beginning of this post.

Make sure your bag is complied with your airline baggage policy carry on or checked baggage.

It is preferable to choose a small suitcase, so you can carry it on board the airplane.

For example, American airlines have a carry-on size of 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters.


Your suitcase compartment is also a key factor. When traveling for business, your suitcase must have a laptop compartment, pockets and where to place your documents.

Soft luggage has some advantages if it comes to organization. Having pockets on the front of the bag is very convenient.

You can reach for things you’d like to keep handy easily, but may not need in your carry-on, such as a change of clothes, toiletries, a sweater, or an extra book.

you don’t want to place essentials somewhere in the suitcases and can’t find them later. or when you need to charge your phone.

Capacity / Weight

all your essential items must travel with you.

Yes, obviously clothes and shoes are everywhere, but your documents are not. a camera, phone or laptop are necessary to have a place on your suitcase.

a great thing also is the weight of your bag, you need a less weight suitcase.

A light suitcase is easy to maneuver effortlessly, especially at the airport and when you are in a rush.

Generally there is nor big difference in the weight, but soft-sided suitcases have less weight than hard-sided ones.

Easy to move

Hard luggage is much easier to spin, especially at the airport because of its four wheels that can move in every direction.

By contrast the soft luggage when it’s heavy or overloaded, pulling it in the airport will be a bit hard.

You can find soft luggage with four wheels but it’s not common.

and if you are in a city with snow, it will be difficult to roll your spinner suitcase forward in the snow and rocks hidden underneath. When you encounter such uneven terrains.

Carry on / checked luggage

In cabin baggage you will need to look after your suitcase, so to bring a soft or hard bag is that kind of your choice.

However; A hard bag would be a bit hard to fit in an overhead locker on a small plane, and there is a risk you’ll scratch it on latches. Soft cases will also usually also have outside pockets which make it easy to store things.

In some cases, a soft bag will make storing easy, and quick to access if you need any items.

For check-in luggage, the advantage with a hard case is that it is more secure and the possibilities of crushing your items is low.

so if you have fragile items inside, they are less likely to be broken by an impact.

The cons of a hard suitcase as checked baggage,is the zip, if you don’t get a really strong one, you will find that they tear easily and the contents of the case will fall out, while the shell of the case is likely to be okay.


I checked Reddit to see what the community thought about hard vs soft luggage, some guests thought that hard luggage is better when it comes to protecting your items.

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage
Reddit thoughts on hard VS soft luggage

Should i get hard or soft luggage

Softside luggage

1.Travelpro Maxlite 5-Softside

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 1
Travelpro Maxlite/ courtesy of Amazon

This Lightweight 25 inch spinner will maximize your packing power and is the ideal checked bag for medium to long trips.

The side carry handle is amazing and 10x more comfortable for getting up and down the airplane
– The soft, rubbery handle peels on the old model and has now been replaced with plain old hard plastic

2.Amazon Basics Expandable Softside Spinner Suitcase

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 2
Amazon Basics 18” / courtesy of Amazon

The Amazon Basics 18” is slightly smaller but fits just as much stuff as the Travelpro 19”, it has smoother zippers, it’s easier to maneuver, it has double wheels for stability, much better internal organization, it’s half the price (Amazon Basics $54.99, Travelpro – $98.99) and all around the Amazon Basics feels better and lighter when filled with the same exact load.

3.Amazon Basics Underseat Carry-On Rolling Travel Luggage Bag, 14 Inches, Navy Blue

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 3
Amazon Basics Underseat Carry-On / courtesy of Amazon

Amazon Basic carry on is by far the best softside carry-on you will ever use on your flights, if you are a lightweight admirer.

Fits in most airline overhead compartments and under the seat in front of you

The Luggage set comes in Luggage Bag + hard Suitcase 21 Inch or Luggage Bag + hard Suitcase 23 Inch

4.Travelpro Maxlite 5-Softside Lightweight Luggage

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 4
Travelpro Maxlite 5-Softside Lightweight Luggage/ courtesy of Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite 5-Softside Lightweight Luggage It is roomy and the softside,designed to be left easily especialyfor women, which is hard for them to lift heavy luggage.

A traveler said “This Travelpro Maxlite 5 22″ is possibly the best carry-on out there for price/value.”

5.Travelpro Maxlite 5-Rolling Underseat Compact Carry-On

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 5
Travelpro Maxlite 5-Rolling Underseat / courtesy of Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite 5-Rolling Underseat is perfect if you want to travel with only your carry on.

A traveler said about the underseat soft bag “Lightweight and fits perfectly under the seat in front of you on just about any airplane. Plus, as a flight attendant, I can tell you, you can’t beat travelpro.”

Hardside luggage

1.Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Expandable

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 6
Samsonite Winfield Hardside Expandable Luggage/courtesy of Amazon

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside suitcase always topped the hardside luggage available in the market.

The Samsonite hardshell winfield can withstand the robust shocks of baggage handlers.

A traveler said ” I do recommend this Samsonite hardshell. It’s sleek, very durable and easy to use for the traveler that needs comfort and flexibility in a suitcase. The colors and design of this model help it stand out on the carousel, and there is plenty of space inside despite it not being too large. “

2. DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Suitcase

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 7
DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Suitcase/courtesy of Amazon

DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage is a Lightweight HARDSIDE SUITCASE and durable.


A traveler said “unfortunately my excitement turned into frown when coming back home and saw a big crack on the top. This happened just after using it for the 2nd time. I still have my old luggage which I have used over 10 times, still intact and paid half the price. It is very disappointing to see below sub-par quality of this product. Not sure if the MFG can help me replace it as I really like the design of the product. :(“

3. Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 8
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage /courtesy of Amazon

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage Overall Dimensions is : 26.5” x 17.75” x 11.75”, Weight: 8.34 lbs

A traveler said “This is a very good quality suitcase. It was the first hard case that I’ve bought. For the most part, I am satisfied, but I wish I had known a couple more bits of information before I purchased”

4. Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 20” Carry-On

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 9
Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 20” Carry-On /courtesy of Amazon

A traveler said about Kenneth Cole Reaction Renegade 20” Carry-On , ” Wow! This bag is beautiful. It has multiple pockets and looks roomy enough for the 25 or so outfits, plus different shoes for each, that I usually take on a five-day trip. It appears to be tough enough to withstand the best efforts of baggage handlers to destroy it”

5.Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage-BEST BAGS 10
Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable /courtesy of Amazon

Samsonite freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-On 21-Inch size is : 19.5″ x 14.5″ x 10.0″, Overall Dimensions: 21.25″ x 15.25″ x 10.0″, 6.5 lbs.

A traveler said about this hardside suitcase “It is lightweight and easy to move around in airports. The exterior will get scratched quickly but much less than the shiny suitcases Samsonite also sells. Interior room is spacious and well constructed. Recently, one of the wheels broke off. Not sure if this was a manufacturer defect or airline issue. Didn’t want to wait 3 weeks for my local repair center to fix so I contacted Samsonite Consumer Relations, ordered the wheel and it’s back in business. I will stick with Samsonite.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the most Frequently asked questions about Soft luggage VS hard luggage :

Which suitcase material is best?
Hard side bags are usually made from this materials: Aluminium, Polycarbonate, ABS.
Aluminum is the strongest as it is metal, however, it is usually expensive and heavy.
The best compromise is Polycarbonate which you will find on most top-end suitcases. ABS is also a good material and will last a while, but it comes last when selecting the most durable material.
Is A Softside Or Hardside Suitcase More robust?
Softside suitcase are more likely to get ripped, however hardside suitcase can withstand rough handling.
lightweight bags may They are also more likely to stain, get wet, or otherwise succumb to the hardships of travel. Hardside suitcases will be strong to the tests of travel and baggage handling far better.
What are hard and soft luggage wheels made of ?
Luggage wheels are different depending on the brand and materials, but most wheels are made of polyurethane (kind of high resilient flexible plastic).

Final Thoughts: Do Airlines Prefer Hard Or Soft Luggage?

Without being said, we hope this answers all your questions about which suitcase airlines prefer, hard or soft luggage. Overall when shopping for your suitcase make sure it fits your airline dimensions, is durable and can withstand your travel adventure.

that will help you know more about the desired bag.

Happy travels