High-end luggage is a better choice in the long run. But in the short run, until you manage to save up for the handsome Samsonite you’ve been eyeing, you will need something to carry your stuff from point A to point B. And an Aerolite suitcase is just the right choice – they’re affordable, well made and have all the features you need.
So, on paper they are perfect for someone who doesn’t really travel frequently, maybe a couple times a year. But is that really the case? That’s what we’re going to try and figure out in this review.
We’ll talk about both softshell and hardshell suitcases, as well as a few carry-on bags – perfect for all of you who need something for a weekend getaway. So, let’s find out whether the Aerolite luggage is as hot as its price tag!
Aerolite guarantees that all of their smaller suitcases will be allowed inside the cabin for Delta, United and American Airlines. There are four different bags in this range, and we'll check them all out. Let's start with the best-selling one - the softshell suitcase.
The first thing I noticed about this suitcase is how lightweight it is, and that is a huge bonus. Especially since it’s a carry on, and the weight restrictions for those are so strict. But this bag weighs less than 5 lbs, which means that you’ll be able to pack it fully, and you still won’t go over the carry-on weight limit! Which is perfect.
This softshell suitcase features a double-barrel telescopic handle with a push-button that allows you to lock it into position. It is decent, but it’s nothing special – a handle like you see on plenty of other luggage. In addition to that, the carry handles and their position are also pretty standard – two soft grab handles, one on the top and one on the side.
But, when you take a closer look at the suitcase, you can notice why it is so affordable. It’s made of Polyester – this material is often used in softside luggage, but it much cheaper than Nylon and not as durable. Additionally, the single spinner wheels are another giveaway of the lower quality of the suitcase – double spinner wheels are much sturdier.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s almost a miracle to find spinner wheels at all on such an affordable suitcase. I’m just pointing out that these particular ones are a cheaper option, which is why the price of the suitcase makes sense.
I almost forgot to mention the awesome external front pockets! These are perfect for quickly stashing something you forgot to pack, or just for holding items you will need handy at the airport. Overall, this is a pretty good suitcase – maybe it won’t take your breath away like a brand new Rimowa Topas, but it is the best you can find for the price.
I'm honestly a little sad that this is the only hardshell suitcase they offer. Because it looks pretty good - it has spinner wheels, two packing compartments with a full panel divider on one side and elastic cross straps on the other side and a retractable wheel handle with a push button that locks it into position.
And there are several pockets inside the suitcase, which will actually allow you to organize your clothes when you're packing - a feature that is not as common as you would think. Those are the features that I absolutely love about this particular Aerolite suitcase.
There are also some things that I don't like that much, like the fact that it comes with a security padlock, and not a built-in lock. These are not as secure as the basic 007 TSA lock that we usually see on luggage. But, at least Aerolite was thoughtful enough to include a padlock - most other brands who sell you suitcases without locks don't bother to include any other safety features.
And the case is made of ABS plastic - personally, I prefer Polycarbonate suitcases, since they are lighter and sturdier. But ABS is just as popular in luggage, and it is obviously the cheaper material. But ABS does perform better than Polycarbonate in one aspect - it is more resistant to scratches, which means your suitcase will look brand new for a longer time.
I won't dwell too much on this particular suitcase, because it is very similar to the first softshell carry on that we talked about. But there is something that makes this Aerolite bag stand out from the others - it is the suitcase that has the largest capacity, but weighs the least. How does that sound?
I think it sounds amazing. But that light weight comes at the cost of wheels - as you can see, there are no spinner wheels on this particular suitcase. Just your regular, low profile skate wheels. They are pretty sturdy though, and will endure more torture than fancy spinner wheels would.
In other aspects, the bag is very similar to the other softshell we saw - it is made of Polyester, it has two external pockets for any items you would like to have handy, as well as a single, fully lined packing compartment and a pair of sturdy top and side grab handles. Oh, and a double-barrel wheel handle with a push button that locks it into extended position.
Overall, it is a good choice - if you're looking for the lightest Aerolite suitcase, you've found it!
There are two such Aerolite bags, and they are very similar. But, since there are a couple of glaring differences, I will divide this section into two parts. Let’s start with the quilted bag, simply because it would be my first choice:
First, this bag is available in only three colors – as opposed to twice as much variety that the other one comes in. But, I think this one is the better choice because it has more pockets – three on the front and two on the sides. And that is in addition to a spacious main packing compartment of the bag, which is top loading and features a plastic pocket for your wet clothes or toiletries.
This Aerolite under-seater has a retractable single-barrel handle, for maneuvering the in-line skate wheels. The handle stores neatly inside its own pocket, which is aesthetically pleasing. And it means that it stays out of the way when you want to carry the bag like to tote – which you can do with the top grab handle. Overall, this bag would be my top choice because I prefer to travel organized.
The other wheeled under the seat bag is also pretty interesting - just slightly less functional:
You can see that this bag is slightly larger than the first one, but they both have the same capacity. So, in terms how much stuff you can fit in them, they are both exactly the same. Just not in terms of organization, since this particular bag has only one front pocket. There are two more pockets on the sides though, which are perfect for your snacks, water or any items you just need to have handy.
The packing compartment of this bag is front loading, so it's not that convenient for grabbing something quickly on the go. Another big difference is the wheel handle - this bag has a double-barrel handle, as opposed to the single barrel handle of the first one. But it also has its own little compartment where it stores neatly, for when you want to carry it on the go. And there is one thing I actually prefer on this under-seater: the grab handles are the same ones you see on traditional duffel bags. I find these to be more comfortable for carrying heavier loads.
Aerolite has designed this bag specifically for its customers who most frequently fly with Southwest Airlines, and are looking for the maximum possible carry on the airline allows. But, for other American and European airlines this is a bag you must checked, since it is pretty bag. And that’s the main thing you need to keep in mind.
In terms of the features of the bag, it is very similar to the two softshells we already talked about. It is made of ripstop Polyester and equipped with four spinner wheels, which will give you great maneuverability of your suitcase. And that roll really smoothly. Its wheel handle is a double barrel retractable handle, and it has its own pocket in which you can store when you’re not using it. Pretty neat.
In terms of organizational ability, the bag has two pretty spacious external pockets, as well as several pockets in the lined main compartment. Overall, it’s a pretty good choice for anyone looking for a larger bag – the 45-liter capacity allows enough clothes for trips that several weeks long, as long as you are able to pack efficiently. Plus it is so lightweight that it will be pretty impossible to go over the airlines’ weight limits for luggage!
First thing to note is that most of these value sets include suitcases that I’ve already talked about in the previous sections. So, if you jumped to this section of the review and want to find out a bit more about a particular piece of luggage, you can just scroll up until you find the bag that you’re looking for.
First, let’s check out the sets which include two same suitcases. These sets are perfect for couples who are both in need of a new suitcase, or if you’re looking to get something for yourself, but also a present for a loved one:
The second type of Aerolite value sets you can get are sets that include two suitcases of different sizes. The larger suitcase is a 21” carry on, while the smaller suitcase is only 17” tall. Both are softshell suitcases, with double spinner wheels and a double barrel retractable handle. I would say that this type of set is perfect for a parent travelling with a child, or if you are simply a sucker for a great deal – two suitcases for less than $80? Sign me up - that blue set looks too good to pass up!
The third type of Aerolite value sets is where we see the most variety. These include a carry-on suitcase and an under-seat duffel bag. These are great for you – if you’re looking to pack for a vacation and you’ve realized that everything isn’t going to fit in a single suitcase. The duffel bag is great to have next to you during your trip, because it can hold all your travel necessities – laptop, book, magazine, snacks and whatnot. And it’s also a really multi-functional item; you can use it for daily commute, for gym or just as an overnighter.
And there just two more Aerolite sets to see. They didn’t really fit in anywhere else but they are definitely worth your attention so I saved them for the end. The one on the left includes a 24” suitcase and a pretty large (21”) duffel bag. It’s perfect for the traveler who is loyal to Southwest Airlines! The set on the right includes a smaller, 22” suitcase, along with a 16” wheeled under-seat bag. If you wanted to get one of each anyway, then definitely go for this value set.
You will have plenty of choices. The Aerolite luggage collection includes both softshell and hardshell carry ons, as well as a few different wheel luggage bags. Basically, carry ons are their primary focus, and thy have the most variety when it comes to this type of luggage.
You will be disappointed. Unless you’re looking for a 24” softshell, because that’s the only larger suitcases they offer. And the size of this suitcase is actually the largest size for carry-on luggage for Southwest Airlines! But if you need a bigger bag, then I’m sorry to have to tell you that you’re not going to find it here. I suggest you check out AmazonBasics luggage – it is another good affordable alternative, and they have more larger bags in their range.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of value sets in the Aerolite range, with a lot of variety – sets of carry ons, sets of checked bags, and the ultimate suitcase and travel bag combo. These sets are great for couples, families, or if you’re looking to get something for yourself and a gift for someone.
Phew, with so much different choices it can be hard to pick out the best ones. But that’s what you have me for, so let’s get on with the Aerolite luggage money can buy.
Overall, these are all good suitcases. They’re not amazing, but you can’t expect amazing for $60, right? And the first one I’m going to suggest you get is the ABS Hardshell Spinner. I generally prefer hardsides for air travel, and if that’s what you need a suitcase for then I definitely suggest you get this one. It has a full panel divider with pockets inside, and four spinner wheels on the outside. The top two features you need.
The second suitcase I really liked was the only one without spinner wheels, the Lightweight Upright Suitcase. If you can get over that, then it’s the best softshell you can buy. Why? Because it is still a 22” carry-on, but with the largest capacity. Oh and it’s the lightest out of the bunch, with several internal and external pockets. Do you really need anything else?
If you’re more interested in value sets then individual suitcases, then you’re in for a treat. By far the best one you can get is the set of two carry-ons, which includes 21” and 17” suitcases. These are my favorite because the set is so incredibly affordable, especially when you consider the quality of the suitcases. They have double-barrel retractable handles, double spinner wheels and an abundance of pockets. Perfect for a week-long trip!
But value-wise, I think you will get the most use out of a carry-on and duffel set. Simply because you will get to use the duffel much more often than you think – pretty much for everything that you would normally use a backpack for. You can get a set which includes a 21” duffel and a 24” suitcase – that would be enough luggage for a month-long trip! Or if that’s a little over the top for you, then stick with the set with a duffel and a 22” suitcase.
That would be my top choices. I have to admit, there are still a few other sets and bags I like, but these are definitely the best ones. I suggest you go check out their prices on Amazon, if you haven’t by now. You will be surprised at just how much luggage you are getting for your money!
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!