The rolling carry-on bag is an essential piece of luggage, even if you don’t travel often. For short trips, having a good, sturdy, carry-on can save you lots of time and checked luggage fees. And they’re great for road trips and other kinds of travel as well.
So what kind of carry-on should you get? Let’s look at the American Tourister Splash 21″ Upright Suitcase or the Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 20″.
First, the similarities. Both bags are roughly the same size, and will work as carry-ons on the vast majority of flight. Most airlines in the United States limit carry-on bags to 22 inches long, 14 inches wide, and nine inches high. Both of these bags come in under that length limit, but are pushing the width limit. That won’t be a big deal on most trips, but if you’re planning to fly on airlines with particularly strictly enforced luggage size limits (think EasyJet, for example) you might want to double check. And if you’re flying internationally, there can be different luggage size limits in different countries.
Both bags have also garnered generally positive reviews for the quality of construction, capacity, and ease of use. They both are expandable, with extra zippered compartments that can be opened to make more room.
The major differences in the bags are in the in the wheels and the exterior. The American Tourister has inline wheels. That means they only roll in one direction. This is how most rolling carry-on bags are made. They roll, which is nice, but they can’t be rolled upright or spun in place and they’re generally harder to turn. They’re also more likely to capsize if you’re moving quickly and they hit a bump. The Samsonite, on the other hand, has four spinning wheels. You can roll it upright without bearing any of the weight of the bag and can easily turn it in place.
The exteriors of the two bags are markedly different as well. The American Tourist is a canvas bag, whereas the Samsonite is a plastic hard shell bag. It has a polycarbonite shell with a diamond texture that is extremely strong and scratch resistant. That means it’s less likely to get damaged, stained, or scratched. Oh, and it also has a TSA lock, which means you can lock your bag and if the TSA needs to check it they can open it without breaking your lock.
Unless you just prefer polyester canvas to a hard shell bag, the Samsonite wins this matchup. The only downside? It’s about twice as expensive. The American Tourister will run you just under $60. The Samsonite? About $120.
Still having trouble deciding? View our comparison page: American Tourister Luggage Splash 21″ Upright Suitcase vs. Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 20