“ Brand: Antler / Type: Cabin cases „
My husband travels to America a lot for work and if there is one thing he hates more than the airline food and the jetlag it is the interminable wait for his luggage to come off the carousel when he could already be on his way home. Our previous small suitcase was too large to be counted as BA cabin luggage and the only other bag we had that was suitable wasn't big enough to hold everything he needed to take. Thus we found ourselves in the luggage department of John Lewis contemplating all of the cases on offer.
We looked at lots of cases but we were really searching for the largest case we could buy that would still fit within the BA hand luggage allowance. Since he usually travels at least Traveller Plus there is no problem with there being enough room in the overhead lockers so he wanted to maximise the space he would have for packing.
We have had other Antler suitcases in the past and we have been happy with their performance so we looked at their ranges first. The idea of a lightweight case was appealing, particularly for me when travelling alone or with the children as I find heavy cases hard to manage. The assistant showed us a very lightweight range but they looked a bit strange and didn't feel particularly substantial and so he then showed us the new Size Zero range.
My first impression of the suitcase was that it was very dull, I really dislike plain black cases but as a business traveller my husband finds them appropriate and since the case would be primarily for his use the choice was his. I picked the case up and was immediately struck by how light it felt, I have now found out that it is less than 2.5g. We then checked the dimensions to make sure that they were suitable; I have seen cases on sale before that state "Cabin baggage" but when you check the dimensions against those stated by the major airlines they are too large.
This case measures 56cm x 35cm x23cm. This is incorporating the wheels, the front pocket and the handle so it fitted comfortably within the size range that we were looking for.
This is a 2-wheeled case with the retractable handle stored inside the case and there is a zipped flap to keep the handle encased when not needed. The handle extends easily with the quick flick of a button. It has a slightly soft, moulded under grip and it fits comfortably in the hand. Once the button has been depressed to extend the handle it stays securely up, not like one of our old cases that had a habit of collapsing as you were wheeling it through a busy airport. A quick press of the button and it folds down quickly after use. The main carrying handle at the top of the case is made of thick fabric and is well padded for extra comfort when lifting; it is attached to the case with strong metal fixings which seem very secure. There is no handle on the side of the case but I don't think that is need on a small case.
The case itself is made from a thick, synthetic fabric. It appears very durable and after several trips it is hardly showing any signs of wear. The base of the case has thick corner protectors which prevent damage in use and also make the case stand solidly when upright.
The case opens with a smooth running double ended zip. The flap that opens is large and folds right back out of the way to make packing a simple process. The case is lined with pale grey fabric. Inside there are the normal elasticated straps to keep the packing flat and they are fastened by a hook and loop system which is easy to use and looks nice. Along the one side of the case is a large, zipped mesh pocket which is useful for storing headphones, adapter wires, SD cards etc. that otherwise get lost amongst your other possessions. The whole lid of the case contains another zipped mesh compartment which is useful for storing paperwork or anything else that you particularly want to keep flat. This pocket also has an integrated clear plastic label which is useful for popping in a business card in case your luggage goes astray.
On the outside of the case there is another pocket at the front. This also has a double zip so it can be locked; it covers about two thirds of the length of the case. Unlike some cases this is actually quite a useable pocket, sometimes they are so flat and difficult to get into you can barely store a piece of paper in them! On the outside there are a couple of attractive labels and tags that give the case a quality, understated look.
This case came with two TSA approved combination locks that fit through the zips. These are useful when travelling to America if you do have to put your luggage in the hold.
My husband has now been using this case regularly for about a year. It has probably gone on about 9 trips to the States and a few to Singapore in the cabin, it has also done a few journeys in the hold as well when we have been travelling as a family and just needed a little extra luggage as well as numerous trips using the car. The case still looks pretty immaculate, there are a few scuffs to the rubber stands and the wheels have obviously been used but otherwise it is very impressive. I have wheeled it through a few airports and I must say that I have been very impressed with the smooth running of the wheels, even when the case is full they glide really well and have not developed any grating or squeaking noises.
The very best thing about this suitcase however is its TARDIS like interior. The sides are straight and there are no deep rounded corners which makes it extremely easy to pack but it also seems to take an exceptionally large amount of clothes. My husband easily travels for 5 days with this case, it swallows up a pair of shoes, 4 formal shirts, a couple of casual shirts, several T-shirts, a pair of jeans and ordinary trousers, a jumper, PJs, toiletries and undies and then his work stuff with room to spare.
Whether the case is being used as hand luggage for business or in the hold for family holidays this case has been a good buy. It cost £119 which is a lot of money but it looks like it is extremely durable and hopefully will still be travelling with us for many, many years to come.