Editor’s note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.
Looking for a bag that’s distinguished, stylish, made of quality materials for maximum durability, and sets itself apart as you move from the ramp to the FBO at your next destination? Have we got a bag for you. Here, FLYING examines some of the top luxury luggage options on the market that are sure to meet your needs for form and function.
Quicklook: Best Luxury Luggage
- Louis Vuitton’s Horizon 70: Best for private and/or charter pilots or passengers who need a more spacious bag
- RIMOWA’s Original Cabin Carry-on: Best for short, weekend or business trips
- Carl Friedrik’s The Carry-on Pro: Best for commuting pilots and business travelers
- Prada’s Saffiano Leather Trolley Carry-on: Best for theft prevention; weekend/short trips
- Tumi’s Tall 4 Wheeled Duffel Packing Case: Best for extended or international travel where weight is of no concern
- Globe-Trotter’s Centenary Medium Check-In with 4 Wheels: Best for long-lasting durability and timeless style
- Samsonite’s Black Label Cosmolite 3.0 Large Plus Spinner: Best for large capacity, lightweight, and easy maneuverability
7 Luxury Luggage Options
Luggage doesn’t have to be just a vehicle for transporting your clothing and effects from one place to another. Investing in a designer suitcase says something about you, your distinctive taste and sense of style, and your appreciation for high quality and craftsmanship. Below are several examples to consider when shopping for luxury luggage. If you’re looking for a flight bag, check out these high-end flight options.
Louis Vuitton: Horizon 70
Founded in 1854 in Paris, France, fashion and practical function have always been a part of Louis Vuitton’s luxury luggage line. The company’s founder created suitcase and trunk designs and materials that coincided with developments in transportation, inventing a coated canvas that waterproofed Louis Vuitton bags as early as the 1800s, and flat trunk lids that allowed for stacking. The now famous LV monogram is a mark associated with haute couture and quality. Luxury luggage remains a signature product of Louis Vuitton. The rolling Horizon 70 designer suitcase is a prime example of why the brand continues to distinguish itself from other high end luggage makers.
Best For: Best for private and/or charter pilots and passengers who need a more spacious bag
Material: Monogram canvas; aluminum wide trolley system
Dimensions: Height: 26.8 inches; Width: 18.1 inches; Depth: 10.2 inches
TSA Approved Lock: Yes
- Flat-bottomed interior created by the bag’s large external cane
- Two interior zipped dividers, including one with a zipped pocket
- Cowhide leather corners and leather handle
- Includes a protective pouch for storage
- Zip closure with locking system
- Comes with a removable leather name tag that can be heat stamped/monogrammed with your initials.
- The spacious, flat-bottomed interior gives more room for bulky items such as shoes and grooming appliances.
- Three color options are available: Monogram Canvas with pink leather accents; Monogram Eclipse; and Damier Graphite Canvas.
- For an additional cost, the Horizon 70 can be customized with exterior stripes and/ or your initials, and the aluminum trolley can also be engraved with your initials.
- Given the cost, this bag may be inappropriate for commercial travel, where it could sustain damage and/or be stolen.
Pricing: Horizon 70: $4,150
RIMOWA: Original Cabin Carry-on
Fly like a celebrity. Designed and engineered in Germany, RIMOWA bags have a distinctive style and construction. This designer suitcase’s anodized aluminum exterior with parallel vertical grooves makes it lightweight and durable. Celebrities like basketball star Lebron James have reportedly been seen toting this luxury luggage. The brand has a long and distinguished history, as well. It was founded in 1898 in Cologne, Germany. The company name is an abbreviation of the founder’s son’s name: Richard Morszeck, who created the company’s first aluminum trunk in 1937. The Original Cabin Carry-On bag is roomy and is one you can take in the cabin with you, allowing you to personally safeguard your investment from undue scratches and dents. Never fear, however, the company’s 5-year warranty will cover most repairs.
Best For: Short, weekend, or business trips
Material: Anodized aluminum exterior; cotton lined interior
Dimensions: Height: 21.7 inches; Width: 15.8 inches; Depth: 9.1 inches
TSA Approved Lock: Yes
- Includes a leather luggage tag and sticker set
- Five-year manufacturer’s guarantee when registered online
- Interior height-adjustable flex dividers
- Ball-bearing mounted multi-wheel system with cushioned axles
- Comes in three colors: silver, titanium, and black.
- External two-latch/lock system eliminates zippers
- Two hand grips and a telescopic handle allow for vertical or horizontal-oriented carrying and pulling
- Excellent customer service, according to online reviews
- Five-year guarantee includes most repairs
- The aluminum exterior is susceptible to scratches and dents; colored bags show scratches more readily, according to online reviews.
Pricing: Original Cabin Carry-on: $1,200
Carl Friedrik: The Carry-on Pro
Launched by two Swedish brothers in 2012, the Carl Friedrik company creates luxury luggage, briefcases, and wallets, and is known for its premium Italian leather. In addition to designer suitcases, it sells luggage accessories, including packing cubes that allow you to compartmentalize clothing and effects, and compression pads, which help maximize packing space. Leather, monogrammed luggage tags, and leather passport covers are optional accessories. The best part about this designer suitcase is its external hard-shell pocket, which includes a laptop compartment, two pen slots, and a smaller pocket. This feature allows commuting pilots and other business travelers easy access to their laptop computer, remote office-related items, and travel documents.
Best For: Commuting pilots and business travelers.
Material: Polycarbonate with leather trim/accents and an aluminum lock frame
Dimensions: Height: 21.7 inches; Width: 15 inches; Depth: 9.6 inches; Laptop pocket: 16 by 10 inches
TSA Approved Lock: Yes
- Silent Japanese spinner wheels made by Hinomoto
- Combination lock latches seal the case instead of zippers
- Includes an interior compression pad with a zipper pocket that works in concert with straps to secure and compartmentalize items
- Natural Italian leather details come in three color options: cognac, chocolate, and black)
- 100-day trial allows you to try the bag and return it for a full refund
- Lifetime warranty covers repairs or replacements for functional damages
- Optional removable battery to keep your devices charged
- Optional monogram of the handle
- 360-degree maneuverability
- Zipperless aluminum frame and custom combination latches eliminate zipper issues
- More affordable than many other luxury luggage brands
- Exterior hard-shell pocket is ideal for business travelers
- As a relatively new brand, a Carl Friedrik bag may lack the prestige and name brand recognition of other luxury luggage designers
Prada: Saffiano Leather Trolley Carry-on
The Saffiano Leather Trolley carry-on lets you travel light and in style. This designer suitcase has a zipper and locking closure system to keep your items secure. Additionally, its built-in Bluetooth technology gives you an edge toward retrieving your luxury luggage before it slips away. The bag is trackable within a 40-meter range. Founded in 1913 as a luxury leather-goods firm in Milan, Italy, the Prada name and brand is synonymous with classic and refined style. If you’re flying your turboprop or light jet to a fly-in resort for a relaxing weekend getaway, for example, this is the bag for you.
Best For: Theft prevention; weekend/short trips
Material: Leather with Prada logo nylon interior lining
Dimensions: Height: 22 inches; Width: 14.5 inches; Depth: 9 inches
TSA Approved Lock: Yes
- Includes Bluetooth technology that allows you to track the bag within a 40-meter range
- Outside zipper pocket
- Removable leather name tag
- Includes a protective cover
- Free shipping and returns
- Comes in two colors: black or baltic blue
- Stain-resistant and water-repellent leather
- The prestige and reputation of the Prada brand
- Built-in trackable Bluetooth technology safeguards against theft and loss
- High cost
Pricing: Saffiano Leather Trolley: $6,200
Tumi: Tall 4 Wheeled Duffel Packing Case
For extended travel, this luxury travel bag is not only stylish but also practical. A bestseller for Tumi, a company founded in 1975 in New Jersey and known for its innovative designs, the Tall 4 Wheeled Duffel Packing Case is a “heavy packer’s” dream. This roomy designer suitcase includes a main compartment that can be separated into two sections and a back compartment that includes five dividers, which are ideal for packing shoes, small accessories and/or grooming appliances. The designer suitcase’s easy glide in-line wheels mounted on solid steel axles make it a breeze to maneuver, despite its ample size.
Best For: Best for extended or international trip sequences where weight is of no concern
Material: Ultra-durable FXT Ballistic nylon
Dimensions: Height: 34 inches; Width: 16 inches; Depth: 13 to 15 inches
TSA Approved Lock: Yes
- Aircraft grade aluminum extension handle (lightweight and extremely sturdy)
- The bag includes Tumi Tracer, a complimentary service designed to prevent loss and theft based on a unique, permanently affixed 20-digit serial number
- Includes classic monogram
- Multiple interior and exterior zippered pockets
- Optional accent kits, which include a luggage tag, monogram patch, handle wrap, and zipper pull ties, are available for an additional cost
- Packing versatility and large volume/capacity for long trips and/or bulky items
- The Ballistic nylon exterior is ultra tough and resistant to abrasion
- Five-year warranty, which includes a worry-free first 12-months, whereby Tumi will cover all repair expenses, including damage caused by normal wear and tear and airline handling (excluding cosmetic damage).
- Tumi regularly tests its luxury luggage (30 different trials) to ensure each product’s quality and durability.
- The bag weighs 16.2 pounds empty, which will cut into the standard 50-pound airline allowance for (no fee) checked bags—if you need to check a bag.
- Soft/duffel exterior and style may not be ideal for all travelers.
Globe-Trotter: Centenary Medium Check-In with 4 Wheels
Another luxury luggage brand with a long and distinctive history, Globe-Trotter has been “defining the art of travel,” according to its website, since 1897. The designer luggage is handmade in England using Vulcanized Fibreboard, a patented technology that is reportedly 30 percent lighter than aluminum and ultra durable, and is reported to be the luxury luggage of choice for Her Majesty The Queen. The brand offers a variety of sizes and up to 10 color options. Its Centenary Medium Check-In with 4 Wheels is ideal for longer trips. If you have business or leisure commitments after you’ve flown to your destination, you can easily pack 15 outfits for a 14-day trip in this designer suitcase.
Best For: Durability, timeless style; and longer trips or holidays
Material: Vulcanized Fibreboard with handmade leather accents (corners, straps, and handles)
Dimensions: Height: 26.37 inches; Width: 16.53 inches; Depth: 10.43 inches
TSA Approved Lock: Yes
- Free international shipping
- Unique patented material: Vulcanized Fibreboard
- Personalization is optional at an additional cost
- Optional leather luggage tag
- 10 color options
- 30 percent lighter than aluminum bags and resistant to wear
- Classic trunk style is fashionable, practical, spacious, and ages well
- No zippers to mess with
- Internal webbing straps keep items from jostling
- Five-year warranty for defects in materials or workmanship
- Due to its size, shape, and construction, it may require more space to store and transport than other medium-size soft-case luggage—keep this in mind if the baggage compartments on your airplane are limited in volume or total weight allowed.
Samsonite: Black Label Cosmolite 3.0 Large Plus Spinner
An ultra light luxury travel bag for its size, the Cosmolite 3.0 sports Samsonite’s reinvented CURV design. Made of layered thermoplastics, this luxury luggage is lightweight and resistant to impact. Samsonite, which was founded in 1910 in Denver, Colorado, has patented the bag’s shell form and its woven thermoplastics layering process. A zipper divider and flexible straps inside keep your items from shifting. This designer suitcase comes in three colors: black, red, and pearl, and is perfect for extended travel/stays. Although originally made in America, today, Samsonite’s luxury luggage is made in Europe and Asia.
Best For: Large capacity, lightweight, and easy maneuverability
Material: Patented CURV thermoplastic (woven layers of polypropylene) and anthracite wheel brackets
Dimensions: Height: 31.9 inches; Width: 21.7 inches; Depth: 13.4 inches
TSA Approved Lock: Yes
- Limited lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects
- Integrated ID tag
- Fishbone/shell pattern
- Comes in three colors: black, red, and pearl
- Lightweight (6.44 pounds), durable exterior
- Vintage, classic style
- Spacious interior
- Silent smooth-rolling wheels
- Lower price compared to similar-sized luxury luggage
- The exterior surface is prone to scratching, according to some reviews
What Is Considered “Luxury Luggage”?
Luxury luggage is made for travelers with distinguished taste and style. More expensive than your average luggage, designer suitcases are manufactured with durable, long-lasting materials, including leather and/or patented fibers, canvas, or other composite materials. Luxury luggage is known for combining functionality and fashion. Frequently, high-end luggage boasts a label/logo of an historic brand or fashion house known for its quality, hand-made, designer products.
How To Choose the Best Luxury Luggage
The best way to shop for luxury luggage is to first determine what kind of pilot you are and the size of the bag(s) that will best suit your needs. Do you frequently travel internationally for extended trips, vacations, or other business, or are short weekend trips more in line with your requirements? Once you determine the average duration and packing capacity that you need, review the FLYING luxury luggage recommendations above and/or compare and contrast the various features of other high-end luggage brands that appeal to you. All of the brands listed here offer smaller and/or larger luxury luggage items as well. Determine the brand and price point that appeals most to you and visit their website to see the variety of designer suitcases that are available.
Designer suitcases are known for having a distinctive style. When shopping for luxury luggage, consider the brand’s reputation for marrying fashion with practicality. If a European designer label is important to you, there are several options available, including Prada and Louis Vuitton, mentioned here.
Material and Durability
When investing in luxury luggage, it’s important to look for products that are durable, long-lasting, resistant to damage, and ideally, made of scratch resistant materials. Not all luxury luggage pieces have all of these qualities. In some cases, you will have to weigh the importance of style and fashion against durability. If you mostly fly yourself or take shorter trips that only require a carry-on bag, it’s more likely that you can protect your designer suitcase from damage like scratches and dents.
TSA Approved Lock
A TSA-approved lock is a lock that Transportation Security Administration agents can easily open for the purpose of inspecting the contents of your luxury luggage should you need to check a bag, but that keeps your items secure from would-be thieves. International treaties require that all baggage be security screened prior to allowing anyone to board a flight. TSA locks give you the peace of mind that your clothing and effects are protected, while also complying with these laws.
Finding the right size luxury luggage is important. From totes to carry-ons, to small, medium, and large, luxury luggage comes in all sizes and many different shapes and styles to accommodate your packing and traveling needs. Additionally, there’s the option to purchase a matching set of luxury luggage. If you’re making a move, packing for the entire family, or enjoying an extended stay away from home, consider purchasing multiple pieces of luxury luggage including one or more bags of varying sizes to fit in baggage compartments or in the cabin for access during the flight. Most high-end luggage includes the option of monogramming or personalizing your designer suitcases, in addition to providing leather name tags. In this way, you and your family members will be able to easily keep track of your bags along your journey. When making an investment in luxury luggage, remember to consider whether you will be traveling via a private aircraft or if you are piloting a commercial flight. If you want to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your designer suitcases, fly yourself or take a charter flight; or fly with a carry-on size designer suitcase only. This way, you control how your high-end luggage is handled.
Some luxury luggage comes with accessories that help you organize your packing, like packing cubes and bag dividers. If this is your need, look for these features when shopping for your designer suitcase.
It’s Your Investment; Make It Worth It
Some may say luxury luggage isn’t a necessity; but if fashion, quality, and durability are what you’re looking for in your next travel bag, it may be a necessity for you. It’s important to review the various brands, models, and features against your needs to determine which luxury luggage is right for you. Yes, there’s a higher upfront cost for high-end luggage, but if you protect your investment, luxury luggage can give you a decade or two (or more) of enjoyable use. To stay atop all the latest travel trends and all things aviation, subscribe to FLYING magazine.
There are a number of high quality luxury luggage brands. All of the brands selected above by FLYING are noted for their quality.
Samsonite is known for its durability; however, so is Globe-Trotter, Tumi (now owned by Samsonite), and RIMOWA. Reviews for all of these brands cited their durability—if you don’t mind some exterior scratches.
Tumi is a high-end luxury luggage brand that was founded in Edison, New Jersey, in 1975. In 2016, Samsonite acquired Tumi for $1.8 billion; however, the brands continue to manufacture and market separate product lines.