Product Type: Aerolite Suitcase
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Sturdy Cabin Suitcase
Aerolite Small 19.5" Expandable Trolley Suitcase
Member Name: rosebud2001
Aerolite Small 19.5" Expandable Trolley Suitcase
Advantages: Inexpensive, push-pull wheels, easy to operate telescopic handle, expandable
Disadvantages: Only available in black, zip pullers fall off the rear external pocket
Last year I found myself in need of a small cabin size case. I decided not to get Samsonite on this occasion as this was a bag which wasn't going to be checked in at the airport often and as a result didn't have to endure the rigours that involves.
I went to my local Watt Brothers Store in search of a case. Watt Brothers is a Scottish department store and they usually have a decent selection of competitively priced luggage in stock. I was drawn towards the Aerolite 19.5" cabin trolley case by the price tag of just £35 and the fact the case is expandable.
The case is black and made from what Aerolite describe as "pebble suede" material which is soft and durable. The case has four wheels on the bottom and a telescopic handle for pulling the trolley at the top. There is also a traditional case handle at the top of the case in conjunction with another handle on the side of the case. On the opposite side of the case are four feet to protect the case if you place it on the ground.
The dimensions of the case are 49.5 x 21 x 34.5cm which is within the accepted dimensions for cabin baggage with airlines and has a capacity of 35 litres. It weighs 3.9kg when empty.
The case comes with a padlock and has two external pockets on the front of the case - one is very small but the larger one can accommodate a book or magazine. There's also one pocket on the back of the case and this also houses a name and address tag. Inside there's a small mesh zip fastening pocket and two open elasticated top pockets. There are fasteners inside the case to keep your luggage in place too.
In the 18 months or so I have owned this case I have been very pleased with it and while I would stop short of describing it as the ultimate cabin bag it's certainly been a good buy for me.
The case has travelled with me on most of my trips away in that time and it's been perfect for short weekend trips on the plane or by train as it can carry enough clothes for a 4 day break and the attendant toiletries I always pack with ease.
I always use the external pockets to pack small toiletry items and the large pocket is useful for books - although I use it for all liquid toiletries if I am flying and not checking my Aerolite case in as it's ideal for quickly getting the Ziploc bag which you have to carry them in out of for going through Security at the airport.
The internal elasticated pockets are good - I tend to use them for hairbrushes and for larger bottles of toiletries if I am checking the bag in or travelling by train. As I've recently discovered some hotels can be stingy with plug points I also carry a small 3 plug adaptor with me when I travel within the UK now and the zip mesh pocket is perfect for this and they can also hold a pair of shoes.
The case comes with a 3 dial combination lock which I must admit I have never used. I travel to the US a couple of times a year and you aren't allowed to lock your case when you travel there so it's not a habit I've ever got into. It's a nice touch however if security is an issue for you when you travel.
I really like how the case can be expanded, and have used this function a couple of times when I've been down in London and hit the shops. The case only expands by 7 cm but the extra space around almost the entire width of the case is really useful. It's very easy to expand the case - there's a zip located under the fastening zip which you just unfasten to increase the capacity of your case. To return the case to the standard size you just pull the zip back round again. Even expanded the case still fits within the cabin luggage size rules.
Because the case has internal fasteners there's no real excuse for the contents of your case going flying although I must admit they are quite fiddly, comprising of two separate fasteners on each side which can be extended as required and fasten via plastic slots similar to those you find on baby strollers. They can be rather temperamental when it comes to adjusting and I must admit I do prefer elasticated crossover style fasteners in a suitcase.
The wheels on this case are sturdy and because there are four of them and because of the way they are positioned you can pull the case as well as push it when using it in trolley mode. The case has made many journeys now and been pulled over many streets and around many airports and railway stations without suffering any ill effects. I must admit I was worried about the wheels on this case as in my experience they are usually the first thing to go on cheaper luggage so I am delighted to have been proved wrong. The handle is very easy to operate - you just push the button on the top and pull the handle out. It's silver stainless steel and telescopic, stretching to a maximum height of 50 cm. It's just as easy to replace - once again push the button at the top of the handle and it will slip back into place.
My only real complaint with this case is with the external pocket on the rear of the case. All the zips on my case have been robust and functional but for some reason the pullers on the zip around this pocket have both fallen off, rendering the pocket redundant. It's a real shame because I really cannot fault the design of the case and the pocket is home to the name and address tag, which sits in the middle of it. The tag is concealed and pulls out of a slot on the pocket. None of the other zips on the case - which I have to stress are used far more often than the zip on the rear pocket - have been affected this way so I can only conclude there's a design flaw with the zip pullers on this pocket.
That's a small gripe however. For £35 I think this case has been a bargain and it's served me very well on short trips and longer breaks alike. It's sturdy and durable and I have had no problems stowing it in overhead lockers on flights or on luggage racks in trains. I particularly like how there are two handles on the case which makes it easy to lift, and of course the four wheels which make manoeuvring the case a piece of cake. It is worth noting that although the case is pretty light when empty if you fill it to capacity lifting it up to place in an overhead locker could be tricky.
I only wish I had been able to get the case in a colour other than black because so many people have cases which are similar and it means I have to regularly place brightly coloured tags on my case to ensure someone doesn't take it off the baggage carousel in error. Having seen someone make off with my case at Ibiza Airport in the past and having to run after him to get it, there's a lot to be said for easily identifiable luggage. There's also a lot to be said for travellers checking the tag on their bag with their luggage receipt or for their name but that's another story.
If you need a small case for weekend breaks however this is a great buy and I highly recommend it.
Summary: Good cabin sized trolley suitcase from Aerolite
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