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Should I return my $150 Travelpro Flight Crew 4? Is there something better?

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Old Mar 21, 13, 10:41 pm
#1
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Question Should I return my $150 Travelpro Flight Crew 4? Is there something better?

Actually, it's the TravelPro Flight Crew 4 22 Inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter. I got it, thinking that it could be a great carry on. Online reviews praised the "Flight Crew" as the flight industry's superior version of the Travelpro's "Crew" consumer version.

But ever since I got it for $150, I can't help but think its only so so. Here's what I don't like: it's pretty heavy at over 10 pounds, its suiter is flimsy and feels cheap, and well, it looks kinda ugly.

Please help by convincing me there's a better bag out there for the money! What I'm looking for: a rolling carry on (22" or less), preferably expandable and with a suiter, with solid construction, and an appealing design. And I don't mind hard sides -- in fact I kind of like them. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Oh, Tumis are too much damn money.

Best suggestion gets a tree planted in Washington DC named after them.

Last edited by flyguyexmachina; Mar 22, 13 at 4:14 pm
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Old Mar 22, 13, 2:33 pm
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I'm also interested in the answer to this question. I'm in the market and have looked at that exact piece for those exact reasons, so I hope that someone out there can help the two of us out.
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Old Mar 22, 13, 4:23 pm
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Yes -- hoping a wiser forum member can weigh in!

Incidentally, I've lately been looking at the Delsey Helium X'pert Lite - 4 Wheel Carry-On Expandable Suiter Trolley and even Brookstone's Dash 4-Wheeled Expandable Carry-On as well. Appreciate any thoughts on these as well....
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Old Mar 23, 13, 11:03 am
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Welcome to Fly book to both of you.

It depends on your requirements and price point. I'm a big Briggs & Riley fan, as are many others here but they are more expensive. There is a thread on brands with lifetime, unconditional warranties that might be of interest to you if warranties are important (Briggs & Riley is one that has such a warranty). Others prefer cheaper, more or less disposable bags that they replace every few years. So a lot depends on preference. A little more information on what you are looking for and your preferences (price range, size requirements, wheels or no wheels) would help people offer more detailed, responsive comments.

Last edited by GadgetFreak; Mar 23, 13 at 12:42 pm
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Old Mar 24, 13, 4:45 pm
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Hey GadgetFreak, definitely appreciate the response from an experienced poster. I'm a Fly book long time reader, first time poster.

As I mentioned, I'm seeking a rolling carry-on, preferably with a suiter, and preferably expandable. The latter two are not requirements. What is mandatory though is it can't cost as much as a Briggs and Riley. (Wifey wouldn't let me get away with that nor is it a fight I'd rather have!) So $150 is my range, and not past $200 or so.

In truth, I'm hoping to get a suggestion besides the Costco rollaboard...which despite its value under its lifetime warranty, leaves something to be desired appearance-wise, IMHO. (Worse than the Travelpro, I think!) So are there any good looking carry-ons at this price segment?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 24, 13, 10:00 pm
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Not sure if there's one near you, but have you tried going to one of the Travelpro Outlet stores? They've pretty much got their entire line-up on display.
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Old Mar 24, 13, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by flyguyexmachina View Post
Hey GadgetFreak, definitely appreciate the response from an experienced poster. I'm a Fly book long time reader, first time poster.

As I mentioned, I'm seeking a rolling carry-on, preferably with a suiter, and preferably expandable. The latter two are not requirements. What is mandatory though is it can't cost as much as a Briggs and Riley. (Wifey wouldn't let me get away with that nor is it a fight I'd rather have!) So $150 is my range, and not past $200 or so.

In truth, I'm hoping to get a suggestion besides the Costco rollaboard...which despite its value under its lifetime warranty, leaves something to be desired appearance-wise, IMHO. (Worse than the Travelpro, I think!) So are there any good looking carry-ons at this price segment?

Thanks!
Originally Posted by Braindrain View Post
Not sure if there's one near you, but have you tried going to one of the Travelpro Outlet stores? They've pretty much got their entire line-up on display.

I think the outlet store is a great suggestion. In that price range I think travel pro is a pretty solid brand from what I read here. LL Bean makes some nice stuff too. I used it use them. They might be worth a look. And despite the appearence people do seem to really love Costco/Kirkland.
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Old Mar 28, 13, 12:16 am
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**Buy a carry-on that fits wheels first - the 22" models won't, get 20"**

I own and have used several times (domestic) the older FlightCrew3 20". I've seen lots of flight attendants with various FlightCrew pieces. I consider it a near perfect bag. I emailed the website that sold me the FC3 about differences between it and the current FC4. They said it's nearly identical - the stitching on the FC4 I was told is more "efficient" and "less poofy." More on this later.

I have luggage OCD so I carry a tape measure whenever I go to luggage stores (engineer nerd here) - the 20" FC3 is approximately 21.5" from the top end to the edge of the wheels (not counting the top handle which usually doesn't impede the closure of the overhead bin's lid).

I think a "true" length of 21.5" is a golden number - my FC3 fits in wheels first perfectly on every Southwest 737 I've been on. On older 737-300's that last statement only holds true from row 5 (port side for sure, barely fits wheels first) and further back; the front bins are small. If the seller of the FC3 is correct about the FC4 20" model being nearly identical, then that's good for new FlightCrew purchasers.

I noticed from the photos that the FC4 has silver trimmings - the FC3's trimmings (emblem, handle accents, etc) are all black. IMO, all black looks sweet on the FC3.

Also, the wheels are AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. Rollerblade wheels - so smooth you can BARELY hear and feel them as you carry it through the airport. It's even quieter than my very recently purchased Briggs and Riley Baseline U421XP (which has an effective length nearly identical to FC3, but the front kickstands limit it's ability to fit wheels first when expanded).

The fact that the 20" FC3 is not expandable has not been a big deal to me. The bag can be safely stuffed with enough stuff as to feel like you are packing an "expanded" piece. The key features that help the 20" FC3 is the small amount of extra nylon material between the main compartment zipper and the piping that defines the main dimension of the 20"x14"x9" case in combination with the large, gusseted main front pocket that sits under the two front pockets seen in the product photo. I'm in the habit of using an EagleCreek 18" Folder that can fit a lot of clothing and still fit in the large front pocket - fits so well you think the two companies planned it out. When it's super stuffed like this (and you are not sitting on it to close), it brings the overall depth of the bag close to 12" and it still fits in the 737 overheads. 12" is the absolutel limit for 737 bin fitting based on the FC3 as a measuring tool but I think the curvature of the bag when fully stuffed helps it fit in the bin w/o slamming it (have you noticed how the tops of those bins are curved?).

You can also just randomly stuff a handful of clothing in the main front pocket in lieu of using the aforementioned folder, or maybe utilize it as your outdoor jacket pocket (granted you aren't stuffing an XXL jacket in there).

Full disclosure, I've never checked the bag, only gate checked it (but several times gate checked). But I wouldn't use any carry-on capable bag if I knew I had to check it, why wait for you luggage? I haven't avoided checking because I think it's weak - I think it's quite well built.

I could comment more but I've already given an earful - happy to share more if requested.

-Ackflyer

PS: I don't work for TravelPro, scouts honor.
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Old Mar 28, 13, 12:29 am
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Originally Posted by flyguyexmachina View Post
What is mandatory though is it can't cost as much as a Briggs and Riley. (Wifey wouldn't let me get away with that nor is it a fight I'd rather have!) So $150 is my range, and not past $200 or so.

Thanks!
FWIW

I own two B&R's. 20" Widebody and 21" - I paid less than $150 for each of them.
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Old Mar 28, 13, 10:56 am
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I got a $350 B&R Transcend carryon from Nordstrom Rack for $96. Registered it on the B&R site and anticipate no problems.

I bought a Travelpro from Tuesday Morning for $56 but returned it for the Briggs and Riley.
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Old Mar 31, 13, 11:32 pm
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Some really incredible suggestions. Thanks. I think I will heed warnings and return the 22" for a slightly shorter bag. Unfortunately, I'd be amazed if I could find any B&R new for anything close to $150....
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Old Apr 1, 13, 8:15 am
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Watch for sales. I got my B&R 20" roller for $105, new, from Sierra Trading Post.
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Old Apr 1, 13, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by flyguyexmachina View Post
Some really incredible suggestions. Thanks. I think I will heed warnings and return the 22" for a slightly shorter bag. Unfortunately, I'd be amazed if I could find any B&R new for anything close to $150....
I agree that the slightly shorter length is important. I have a BRX19 roller and a Baseline that is 18 or 20 inches and both are much easier to deal with than a full size roller. I was putting the short Baseline in an overhead on an AA 777 in business class a couple years ago and putting it in wheels first rather than sideways and an FA was walking by and told me to turn it sideways while there was still room because the overhead wouldn't close with it that way. I closed the overhead and smiled at her. She laughed and walked away. The slightly shorter length opens up a lot of room in several plane types.
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