Do Airlines Prefer Hard-Sided Or Soft-Sided Luggage?

Do Airlines Prefer Hard-Sided Or Soft-Sided Luggage

When preparing for air travel, one of the important considerations is choosing the right luggage. With so many options available, travellers may wonder, “Do airlines prefer hard-sided or soft-sided luggage?”

While each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, there are several factors that airlines may consider when it comes to luggage preferences. 

In this article, we’ll explore the debate of hard-sided vs. soft-sided luggage and what airlines might prefer. 

Do Airlines Prefer Hard-Sided Or Soft-Sided Luggage?

There are no such guidelines and restrictions whether you have soft-side or hard-side luggage. The airlines don’t choose sides when it comes to luggage. It is entirely your choice whether you’d like to carry hard-sided or soft-sided luggage for your journey.

However, it is important to consider the size and weight restrictions as well as the durability of the bag when making your choice. 

Hard-sided luggage offers more protection for fragile items but is often heavier and less flexible in terms of packing compared to soft-sided luggage. 

Soft-sided bags tend to be lighter and offer more flexibility while packing, allowing you to squeeze into tighter overhead compartments. 

Ultimately, when deciding between hard and soft-sided luggage, it is important to consider your own needs and preferences in order to select a bag that best suits your travel plans. 

No matter what type of luggage you choose, make sure to check the size and weight restrictions of your airline before packing to ensure a smooth transition during your travels. 

With the right bag in hand, you can be sure of an enjoyable journey!

What Is The Best Type Of Luggage To Take On A Plane?

What Is The Best Type Of Luggage To Take On A Plane?

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Hard-shell suitcases are made from durable materials which will take the common knocks and bangs associated with air travel in stride. On the other hand, soft-shell cases offer flexibility as they can expand when packing more items and conform to match the shape of their contents. 

They are also often lighter than hard-shell cases which may be attractive if you’re trying to minimize checked baggage fees. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference but both types of suitcases have advantages and disadvantages that should be considered. 

Hard-shell suitcases tend to offer more protection for fragile items but may incur higher baggage fees, while soft-shell cases are less likely to attract these fees but may not provide the same level of protection. 

When choosing a suitcase it’s important to consider factors such as weight, size and price in order to make an informed decision that best suits your needs. 

What Is The Benefit Of Hard-Side Luggage?

Hard-side luggage is beneficial for anyone who needs to safely travel with fragile items. This type of luggage has a hard outer shell that is more resistant to impacts and tears than soft-sided bags, making it ideal for those traveling with breakable items such as wine or glassware. 

Hard-shell cases also typically have integrated locks, giving travelers added peace of mind when transporting valuable items. 

Aluminium luggage is even more secure since it usually comes equipped with metal drawbolt latches instead of zippers. 

So if you’re looking for extra security when packing vulnerable items, investing in hard-shell luggage could be the right choice for you.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Hard-Side Luggage?

Hard-side suitcases have little to no flexibility when it comes to packing your belongings. This means that you may not be able to fit as many items in the same amount of space compared to a soft-shell suitcase. The rigid shape also takes up more room.

This stands in sharp contrast to a soft-shell suitcase when stored away or carried around. 

Another disadvantage of hard-side luggage is the lack of pockets and compartments within them. 

While this may not be an issue for those who travel with a carry-on, it can make packing larger suitcases more difficult. 

Without additional compartments to organize your belongings, clothes and other items are more likely to become wrinkled or disorganized during transport. 

What Are The Benefits Of Softside Luggage?

What Are The Benefits Of Softside Luggage?

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Softside luggage is a great option when it comes to traveling. One of the main benefits of a soft-sided suitcase is that it can squeeze into tight spaces, allowing you to make the most of whatever space you have available. 

This makes soft-side luggage a great option for those with limited storage space at home or in their vehicle.

Secondly, soft-side luggage offers greater organization options than traditional hard-shell cases. 

Most models feature compartments and pouches in the lid as well as additional internal storage compartments, giving you plenty of room to neatly organize your belongings. 

Furthermore, some models may have expandable sides, allowing you to fit even more items in a smaller space. 

Finally, soft-side luggage is typically lightweight and durable. While this type of luggage may not be as robust as hard-shell cases, it’s still able to withstand wear and tear better than other materials. 

This makes it the perfect choice for frequent travelers who want to keep their belongings safe without having to worry about extra weight or bulkiness. 

What Are The Disadvantages Of Softshell Luggage?

Softshell luggage is a convenient option for travelers looking for lightweight and flexible bags. One of the main drawbacks of softshell luggage is that it can become odorous more easily. Soft-shell luggage is made out of fabric, meaning that it does not clean as easily and thoroughly as hard-shell suitcases. 

This can cause any pungent items you store in the bag or moisture inside the bag to affect its overall smell, leading to an unpleasant experience on your next trip. 

To maintain your soft shell luggage and keep odors away, regular maintenance such as wiping and cleaning should be done, with periodic dry cleaning recommended by experts. 

Another disadvantage of softshell luggage is that it is more prone to tears and cuts. This can be attributed to the tendency of pack softshell cases tighter than hard shell options, which puts extra strain on the material and increases wear and tear over time. 

To reduce this risk, make sure not to overstuff your suitcase and look for bags with robust fabric construction. 

Here’s a table highlighting some of the main differences between soft-sided and hard-sided luggage:

Soft-Sided Luggage Hard-Sided Luggage
Flexible and lightweight Sturdy and durable
Typically made of fabric or leather Usually made of polycarbonate or aluminum
Easy to store in tight spaces Can be difficult to fit in overhead compartments or under seats
Can expand to accommodate more items Limited expansion options
Often have exterior pockets for easy access to items Exterior is usually smooth and featureless
Can be more affordable Tend to be more expensive
Offer less protection against impact or crushing Provide better protection for fragile items
Can be easier to pack and organize May require additional packing accessories to keep items in place

Do Hard Suitcases Break Easily?

The answer is: it depends. Hard suitcases are typically made from materials that are more resistant than soft suitcases, such as aluminium or polypropylene. These materials are stronger and less likely to tear or puncture than softer ones like ABS or polycarbonate. 

However, even the strongest materials can be damaged under enough force or pressure. Additionally, hard suitcases with poor-quality zippers or weak hinges may be more prone to breaking over time. 

In general, hard suitcases offer greater protection against external damage compared to soft-sided cases. 

However, they can still be subject to wear and tear if they are mishandled or subjected to rough handling during transportation. While there is no guarantee that a hard suitcase won’t break, the right one used with proper care will last longer than its soft-sided counterparts. 

Ultimately, it is best to choose a quality hard suitcase that meets your needs and use it with care!

Is Hardside Luggage More Durable Than Fabric Luggage?

Hardside luggage is generally considered to be more durable than fabric luggage thanks to its construction. Hardside suitcases are usually made of materials such as polycarbonate, aluminium, or polypropylene, making them tough and resistant to impact. These materials can withstand rough handling during transportation without taking much damage. 

Additionally, most hard-side suitcases have a hard shell that adds an extra layer of protection for the suitcase’s contents. 

Fabric suitcases may not be as strong or as sturdy as hard-side models but they do offer some advantages over their harder counterparts. 

Fabric luggage is usually lightweight, making it easier to move around. 

Plus, it’s often more economical and comes in a variety of colours and patterns that can add some style to your journey. 

However, fabric suitcases are more susceptible to tearing, puncturing, and getting dirty than hard-side luggage. They’re also more prone to water damage and they can absorb odours more easily.

What Is The Largest Luggage Size For Check-In International?

The largest luggage size for check-in on international flights depends on the airline and its specific policies. However, most airlines have a maximum size limit of 62 inches (157 cm) for checked luggage, which is the sum of the length, width, and height of the bag. 

Additionally, most airlines have a weight limit of 50 pounds (23 kg) for checked luggage. 

It’s important to note that some airlines may have different size and weight restrictions for international flights compared to domestic flights. 

It’s always worth checking with your airline before booking your trip to ensure you can meet their requirements for bringing your luggage onboard an international flight. Some airlines may have additional restrictions that apply to specific airports or countries. 

Be sure to double-check with your airline before you book and travel to make sure you can bring your luggage on board without any issues. 

How To Measure Linear Inches (Height + Width + Depth) Of A Suitcase?

Measuring the linear inches of a suitcase is straightforward and easy. All you need is a tape measure or ruler to accurately gauge the size. Here are four simple steps to help you measure your luggage: 

  • Place the suitcase on a flat surface, with the wheels facing up. 
  • Measure the height of the suitcase from the bottom of the wheels or floor to the top of its handle or highest point that doesn’t compress when pushed down. Make sure to measure in a straight line, not diagonally. 
  • Measure the width of your bag by measuring from side to side at its widest point. 
  • Lastly, measure depth by measuring from front to back at the deepest point. 

Once you have measured all three dimensions, add them up to get your linear inches measurement. For example: If your suitcase is 21″ long, 14″ wide and 8″ deep, then its linear inches will be 43″. 

How Do You Protect Soft Luggage?

If you own soft-sided luggage, it is important to take extra steps to protect it from scratches, dings, and other damage. While some people opt for hard-shell suitcases or bags with protective wraps, there are simpler solutions available that can help keep your soft bag safe as you travel. 

Here are a few ways to guard against damage:

  • Avoid Overstuffing Your Bag – One of the biggest causes of wear and tear on soft luggage is overstuffing them beyond their limits. Make sure not to cram more items into your bag than it can safely carry and consider using packing cubes to help maximize space without causing too much strain on the fabric. 
  • Cover Zippers – If your bag hasmetal zipper pulls, use fabric guards to cover them and protect the surrounding material from snags. 
  • Use a Protective Cover – A protective cover for your bag is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to guard against scratches and dings. Look for covers that are lightweight but still durable enough to withstand wear and tear as you travel. 
  • Handle with Care – Soft-sided bags require extra care when being handled or stored away in overhead compartments on planes or trains. Make sure to lift your bag properly and avoid dragging it across surfaces if possible, as this can cause damage both inside and outside of the bag. 

Here’s a table outlining situations in which soft or hard side luggage might be more suitable:


Situation Soft Side Luggage Hard Side Luggage
Checked Baggage for Air Travel No, unless it’s made of high-quality material and has strong zippers and locks. Yes, to protect delicate or valuable items, and for durability.
Car Travel Yes, as it’s more flexible and can fit better in the trunk or back seat. Yes, to protect fragile items and to prevent damage from shifting during travel.
Adventure Travel (e.g., Camping, Hiking) Yes, as it’s easier to carry around and store in smaller spaces. No, as it’s less durable and might not protect items from rough handling.
Business Travel Yes, for shorter trips and to fit more easily in overhead compartments. No, unless you have fragile or valuable items that need extra protection.
Luxury Travel (e.g., Cruises, Resorts) No, as soft side luggage might not look as elegant as hard side luggage. Yes, for durability and to protect expensive items such as jewelry and electronics.
Moving or Relocating No, as it’s less durable and might not protect items from rough handling. Yes, for durability and to protect fragile or valuable items.
Sports Travel (e.g., Golfing, Skiing, Snowboarding) Yes, as it’s easier to store and carry equipment. No, as it might not provide enough protection for expensive or fragile equipment.

Do Suitcases Need To Be Cleaned?

Yes, suitcases need to be cleaned. That’s because when you’re traveling and coming into contact with shared surfaces like checked luggage, there’s a chance of cross-contamination. To minimize your risk of exposure to germs and bacteria, experts suggest wiping down your suitcase with disinfecting wipes before touching it. 

Additionally, you should wash your hands after whipping your suitcase (or wearing gloves for added protection). Doing this can help ensure that you don’t unknowingly spread any unwanted organisms or bring them back home with you. So the next time you go on a trip, make sure to give your suitcase an extra clean before packing up and heading out! 

What Cleaner To Use On Hard-Sided Luggage?

When it comes to cleaning your hard-side luggage, you have a few different options. You could use a simple soap and water solution with a soft cloth or sponge for effective cleaning. Be sure to follow up with plain water afterward to prevent any soapy marks from forming. 

Alternatively, you can opt for a spray cleaner specifically designed for hard-side luggage. Wipe off the product with a dry cloth before taking a moist cloth to remove any residue. Make sure that you allow the suitcase to thoroughly dry after each clean before storing it away. 

Before using any type of cleaning solution, do a patch test to ensure that it won’t cause scratching or other damage to your luggage’s exterior. 

If the patch test goes well, then you can confidently use the cleaning solution on the rest of your hard-side luggage. 

What Cleaner To Use On Soft-Sided Luggage?

What Cleaner To Use On Soft-Sided Luggage?

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When it comes to cleaning soft-sided luggage, you want to make sure that you use a cleaner that won’t damage or discolor the material. The most effective way to do this is by using a gentle soap and water mixture. 

If there are any stubborn stains or dirt buildup, you can use a soft brush to help lift out trapped particles. After your bag has been thoroughly cleaned, be sure to rinse it with plain water and let it air dry before storing away. 

Taking these simple steps will extend the life of your suitcase so that it stays looking its best for years to come! 

So next time you go on a trip, don’t forget the most important step – making sure your bag is clean and well cared for!


In conclusion, the choice between hard-sided and soft-sided luggage for air travel ultimately depends on personal preferences and travel needs. 

While some airlines may have specific requirements or restrictions, most airlines do not show a clear preference for either type of luggage. It’s important to choose luggage that is durable, functional, and meets the airline’s size and weight requirements. 

Whether you opt for a hard-sided suitcase for its durability or a soft-sided duffel bag for its flexibility, taking proper care of your luggage can help ensure that it lasts for many travels to come. 

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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