Best Pilot Luggage: Reviews and Complete Buying Guide

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woman pilot with luggage

Airtravel requires the best luggage to put your belongings in order. In addition, pilots and other airline crews carry flight essentials that need specialized bags. Luggage makers design these specialized bags for pilots and flight crews to use.

There is a lot to choose from, and it can get confusing. Therefore, we will review five of the best pilot luggage in this complete buying guide.

1. Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner with USB Port

This Samsonite carry-on is a favorite among pilots and other airline crews. It is the perfect size to fit under seats and has excellent storage capacities. The four-spinner wheel also makes mobility easy, and the ergonomic retractable handle increases comfortability. This bag tops our list as many pilots use it and consistently rank it as one of the best.

What We Like
  • It has excellent mobility with the four multi-directional spinner wheels that enable 360 rolling
  • Features a USB Port that allows you to charge electronics on the go
  • It has excellent storage capacity with several pockets helping to organize your belongings
  • It has a perfect size most pilots prefer for their flight bags
  • It can be connected to a larger spinner or hooked with a backpack
What We Don’t Like
  • It cannot carry much weight
  • The padded laptop compartment has limited space

Overall, Samsonite Underseat Carry-On consistently remains one of the best pilot bags in the world. Pilots love its size, storage capacities, and durability. 4 spinner wheels are also one of the best in the market.

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2. Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

Travelpro is one of the top luggage brands for airline travel. They make great models for regular travelers and specialized flight bags for airline crews.

The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage is one of their best products. It is an improvement from the previous model, Maxlite 4. This luggage is a favorite because it has many great features and little to dislike.

What We Like
  • It is light, making for greater packing power for long trips
  • It has a 4-wheel spinner that rotates 360 degrees
  • It has more outstanding durability than most flight bags
  • Features various compartments for easy organization of flight essentials
  • It has limited lifetime coverage, which lasts for a year
What We Don’t Like
  • The bottom may be too wide to fit some airlines’ requirements for carry-on
  • Slightly expensive

Travelpro continues to manufacture bestselling luggage for air travel. Their flight bags have become a preferred choice for flight crews worldwide. The wide bottom may not meet some airline requirements, so you have to check before buying it. Since most professional flight crews have more than one piece of luggage, you can buy this as one of your collections.

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3. Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Lightweight Underseat Rolling Tote Bag

Another Travelpro luggage on the list is the Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Lightweight Rolling Tote Bag. This product is smaller than the carry-on but equally gets the job done. This bag is better for flight crews with little to pack.
To compensate for its small size, this luggage’s material is a polyester fabric that is stain and water-resistant.

It is also easy to carry alone or stacked on other luggage items. Therefore, many airline pilots use it as a flight bag separate from their luggage containing clothes.

What We Like
  • It is ultra-lightweight, making it an ideal flight accessory
  • It has a roomy interior and built-in pockets for organization and accessibility
  • The material is water and stain repellant
  • Features an ergonomic, high tensile strength zipper that is very durable
  • It has a limited lifetime coverage that covers repair for damage from an airline for a year
What We Don’t Like
  • The ridealong strap often interferes with the telescoping handle of larger bags

This luggage is popular among airline pilots. It is smaller than most but has space to carry items. It’s great because it fits well in small spaces. However, the strap may get in the way when carrying larger bags.

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4. U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Expandable Carry-on Luggage Set

The U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Expandable Carry-on Luggage set features everything a pilot can desire in a piece of luggage. The luggage is big enough to hold flight essentials and personal accessories like a change of clothes, shower gel, deodorants, other toiletries, and some snacks.

In addition, the expandable feature offers more packing capacity than most luggage on the market.

What We Like
  • It has top and side carrying handles that make lifting easy
  • It comes with a piggy bag strap for carrying the tote bag that comes with it
  • The expandable feature offers more packing capacity for extended trips
  • It has inline skate wheels that are reinforced wheel housing
  • Great interior lining and dual adjustable tie-down straps to secure items
  • Cheaper than most top pilot luggage
What We Don’t Like
  • The two wheels are less desirable than four wheels
  • It becomes unstable when expanded

The U.S Travel Rio is one of the most durable flight bags for pilots traveling. The flight bag has a tote bag that can hold flight essentials like documents, ID, high-quality headset, etc. In addition, the tote bag is portable enough to throw behind the pilot seat while the luggage goes into the baggage compartment.

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5. InUSA Pilot 20 Inch Hardside Carry-On Spinner Luggage with Ergonomic Handles

This product has almost everything flight crews want in luggage. The qualities start from a lightweight ABS/PC engineered material with a micro-diamond finish to 4 spinner wheels with 360 degrees for multi-directional mobility. The interior has a zippered compartment that keeps clothes wrinkle-free. There are tie-down straps to hold other items down.

What We Like
  • Lightweight and durable material
  • Ample space with separate compartments for different items
  • Top and side ergonomic GEL carry handles for easy lifting
  • The trolley system takes maneuverability to another level
  • One of the cheapest flight bags with standout features
What We Don’t Like
  • The wheels seem to be too weak for frequent travelers

This product is one of the cheapest pilot bags you can buy. It has 20 inches of space to hold all essential flight items and many compartments for easy access. The material is also easy to maintain, but there are a few complaints of the wheels breaking after a few uses. However, if you experience no problem with the wheels, you can hardly have any complaints about the luggage.

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Things to Know Before You Buy Pilot Luggage

Makers of suitcases are always creating more designs to improve existing ones. Unfortunately, this perpetual development leaves pilots with a hard decision when buying luggage. This section will educate you on what you need to know before you purchase pilot luggage.


The size is always a deciding factor with pilot luggage. A flight bag must be small enough to toss behind the pilot’s chair during a flight. However, it must also be big enough to fit all flight essentials, so pilots don’t have to fuss with more bags.

Another factor you need to consider closely with the size is the weight. Airlines have specifications for the weight of luggage, including for pilots and other flight crews. Because of this, pilots love lightweight luggage that has large packing capacities.


Pilots use their luggage more often than average travelers. For this reason, they need luggage that can last a long time without breaking. Therefore, pilot bags must be of high-quality materials that can last long.

Check if the luggage you are about to buy is made of suitable materials. You should also read reviews on how long it lasts before making your purchase. Some luggage brands offer a lifetime warranty for purchasing their products.


Another factor that pilots consider when buying luggage is storage capacity. Pilots usually must remove and return items from their bags during a flight. They need to be able to reach these items even when the plane is not on autopilot. Therefore, they need a bag that they can organize for easy accessibility.

A good pilot bag will have multiple compartments and plenty of pockets to hold each object. For example, a regular pilot bag will have an exterior pocket, a slip pocket, a zip pocket, a headset pocket, and other zippered pockets.


Pilots have a lot to worry about, and the last thing they want to add to that list of worries is their luggage. Therefore, a good pilot suitcase should have a comfortable strap that you can maneuver easily. Some feature removable shoulder straps, while others have ergonomic grab handles with push buttons.

Some pilots prefer luggage with adjustable shoulder straps, so you need to consider your luggage’s options.

Another factor to consider under convenience is the wheels. Many pilot luggage now comes with four spinner wheels for easy mobility, but there are still many two-wheel luggage on the market. Consider which one will be most convenient for you before making your purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

What luggage do pilots use?

Pilots use durable luggage with unique features not found in regular luggage brands. Pilot bags are designed for holding cockpit essentials like headsets, plotters, pens, flight documents, other important documents, and snacks.

Pilot luggage is not always available for non-Airline employees. They are sold primarily in specialized stores that cater to only flight crews. Buying one of these bags may require you to show your employee ID or use your airline’s code.

How many bags do pilots carry?

Pilots carry at least one bag when flying. That main bag is called the flight bag or pilot’s bag. It contains flight essentials like headsets and other items the pilot needs while flying. Apart from this main bag, pilots often carry pieces of luggage to hold their clothes and personal belongings.

Best Pilot Luggage

airplane pilots at the airport with suitcases

Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner

Samsonite Underseat Carry-on is the top choice for pilots and other airline crews. The luggage has features designed specifically for this group.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

This product is one of Travelpro’s best pilot luggage. This model has all crucial features like four spinner wheels, expandable compartments, 29 inches of space, and limited lifetime coverage. It is the most expensive luggage on this list, but the value is worth the cost.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Lightweight Underseat Rolling Tote Bag

The second Travelpro product on our list is the Maxlite 5 Underseat Rolling Tote Bag. It has a small size that makes it easily distinguishable and easy to fit in small spaces. Its best features, though, are the polyester materials that are water and stain-repellant. Pilots often pair this bag with larger bags, but it serves its purpose better than average.

U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Expandable Carry-on Luggage Set

The U.S. Traveler Rio luggage has durability as one of its best features. Apart from this, it comes with a tote bag that enables pilots to save on buying a separate carry-on suitcase. We rank this product as one of the best pilot luggage because of how easy it is for pilots to use. Its major downside is that it has two wheels, which limit mobility.

InUSA Pilot 20 Inch Hardside Carry-On Spinner Luggage

The InUSA Pilot luggage is simple for pilots who do not want to carry many bags. It has 20 inches of space to hold flight essentials and some personal items. It also has a trolley system that can be retracted when not in use. All the features are designed especially for pilots who want to carry only one bag on a trip.

Final Thoughts

The best pilot luggage all have some similar features. They are usually small enough to fit in the cockpit but big enough to hold all flight essentials. For example, the Samsonite Underseat carry-on has excellent mobility and organization. However, what makes it a great choice is the USB port that enables pilots to charge their electronics on the way.

The Travelpro products have a limited lifetime guarantee, which sways many decisions. Despite being an old product, the U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged luggage is still a best seller due to its unique features. Of course, it does not hurt that it comes with a sizable tote bag.

Finally, we included the InUSA Pilot luggage that prioritizes simplicity while possessing all the necessary features.

No matter which of these pilot luggage bags you choose, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

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