Best carry-on luggage for luxurious departures
Jet off with our stylish selection of carry-on luggage and cabin bags, guaranteed to turn heads in an airport terminal or hotel reception. The sky is your style limit!
The opportunity to leave the house is finally looking up, and with the prospect of travel back on the horizon, be it via plane abroad, car to a country hotel, or train to a city break, covetable and practical carry-on luggage is key. Whether you’re looking for something soft or hard shell, printed or pared back, expandable or ergononmic, we have a veritable world of onboard options to choose from, by travel, sportswear and fashion brands, including Rimowa, Tumi, The North Face and Missoni.
Discover our edit of the most covetable carry-on luggage here.
The design classic
Original Cabin, by Rimowa
Luggage legend has it that Rimowa dreamt up its first aluminium suitcase in 1937, after a factory fire destroyed all its other materials, including wood and leather. The Cologne-based brand’s current aeroplane cabin-appropriate iteration has been compared by its former CEO Alexandre Arnault to a Leica camera or Porsche 911, and is imagined in grooved aluminium, first introduced to the company in 1950. Lightweight, luxurious and lustworthy, it’s an essential for brief business trips or design-led weekends away.
- Anodised aluminium alloy case
- Riveted high-gloss aluminium corners
- Telescopic handle
- TSA-approved locks
The alternative innovator
Cabin, by Floyd
Have you always seen yourself as a pro skater, mastering ollies and heelflips and hanging out on top of a half pipe? Floyd’s founders spent their teenage years skateboarding on the streets of the Bavarian villages they grew up in, and their Munich-based luggage label is born from a nostalgia for kickflips and the Californian cool cultivated by skateboarders in Venice Beach in the 1970s. The brand’s range of hard-polycarbonate-shell check-in and cabin bag roll-on suitcases are accentuated with modern versions of the bright polyurethane skateboarding wheels popularised by Cadillac Wheels in 1973.
- Polycarbonate hard shell
- TSA-approved lock
- Retractable top handle
- Multi-directional dual-wheels on base
The award winner
Spectra 2.0 Global Carry-On, by Victorinox
Keen to sport something that’s won a design gong? Victorinox’s ‘Spectra 2.0 Global Carry-On’ won the coveted 2014 Red Dot Award for Design Excellence and boasts a host of practical signatures: Swiss Tracker Bag Tracking programme, front compartments for a laptop and tablet, telescopic trolley system and four quiet spinner wheels for zipping through a train terminal. This compact creation is available in a trio of shades, including a striking red, and its front section features a range of interior pockets for those whose organisation errs on obsessive.
- Polycarbonate outer shell
- Organised front section with tablet and laptop slots
- TSA-approved lock
- Dual access
The essential for outdoors aficianados
Small Base Camp Duffel, by The North Face
Explorers around the world frequently equip themselves with The North Face’s ‘Base Camp Duffel’ bag, which, luckily for all air travellers, is also imagined in more compact cabin-friendly dimensions. This soft style is formed from practical water-resistant, recycled materials and, in a hybrid design twist, can be carried or worn as an in-transit backpack, using detachable, adjustable ergonomic shoulder straps. Not forgetting the style’s ultra-practical internal mesh pockets and side pockets, alongside expansion-allowing compression straps, should you be prone to over-packing. A must-have for a mountain adventure or simply a relaxing urban retreat.
- 50 litre capacity
- Water-resistant shell made from recycled materials
- Main compartment has a secure-zip mesh pocket and an end-cap mesh sleeve pocket
- Four compression straps
The luxury leader
Carry-On, by Aviteur
When Patricia Gucci – granddaughter of Gucci’s founder, Guccio Gucci – was developing the signature elements of her new carry-on luggage designs, ubiquitous graphics were the last thing on her mind. ‘The carry-on market is fairly polarised, with generic utilitarian bags at one end and luxury brands at the other,’ she says of the gap her label Aviteur seeks to fill. The resulting design is a sleek leather carry-on suitcase in supple black, tan or grey leather, which boasts a luxurious Paglia di Vienna weaved panel at its centre, inspired by cane luggage from the 1960s. The style is a blend of heritage and modernity, boasting a transparent Lucite handle, silent wheels and aluminium components, and nodding to the va-va-voom once associated with aviation.
- Finest calf-skin leather with components made of materials used in modern aircraft
- Transparent, buttonless solid Lucite handle
- Silent wheels
- Two inner compartments
The sustainable stalwart
Circle One suitcase, by Horizn Studios
Horizn Studios already makes some of the best and lightest luggage out there, with helpful extras like removable battery packs and dedicated laptop sections. The company’s latest range, ‘Circle One’, marks a number of innovations; a hard-shell case formed from biodegradable, 100 per cent plant-based material that is also lighter than aluminium and more eco-friendly and long-lasting than polycarbonate. The company not only sells this as luggage that can be ‘repaired – never replaced’, but it’s also offering a 30 per cent discount to thosed aged under 30, helping make sustainability more accessible. Writer: Jonathan Bell
- Biodegradable, ultra-durable hard shell
- Lightweight magnesium telescopic tubes
- Recycled zippers and bio-filled handles
- Designed to be repaired, and never replaced
The bright idea
Blue medium Sea Bag, by Connolly
Leaders of the wondrous weekend-away look, British label Connolly excels when it comes to luxurious luggage. The brand has a range of soft travel styles, suited for stowing in the trunk of a vintage car while zipping into the countryside, or cushioning inside a plush, long-haul cabin. Enter Connolly’s ‘Sea Bag’, a sumptuous style in deep oceanic blue, crafted in supple leather, and featuring vintage palladium silver hardware for a well-worn effect. Its detachable shoulder strap make it ultra-practical too.
- Supple leather
- Palladium silver hardware
- Detachable shoulder strap
- Top handle strap
The must-have for maximalists
International Expandable 4-Wheeled Carry-On, by Tumi x Missoni
In a transatlantic team up, New York luggage and lifestyle brand Tumi and Italian luxury label Missoni have collaborated on a prismatic travel collection, which abounds in the latter’s famous kaleidoscopic prints. For the parternship, Tumi looked to Missoni’s archival iconic zig-zag, festooning its signature ‘Voyageur’ luggage designs, from the ‘International Expandable 4-Wheeled Carry-On’ to the ‘Ruma Crossbody’, with rich rusty tones that are sure to draw envious glances in the departure lounge.
- Strong Tegris case
- Gold tone accents
- 2in expansion
- Printed compression straps
The standout of jet set style
Centenary Carry On, by Globe-Trotter
The designs of English luggage maker Globe-Trotter are synonymous with the Golden Age of travel, and have a touch of jet-set style that should be sought after today. Its designs have even been carried by Queen Elizabeth and Edmund Hillary. For your own elegant adventures, we recommend the brand’s ‘Centenary Carry On’, a cabin-ready hard-case style designed in the brand’s signature Vulcanised Fibreboard, and available in a variety of delectable shades. Its interior is equally refined, and is lined in a tactile pinstripe. With this travel piece, you’ll feel supremely sophisticated, whether on a work trip or weekend away.
- Vulcanised Fibreboard exterior
- Pinstripe lining
- Leather corners and handles
- Two or four wheel specifications
The covetable style for kids
The Kids’ Carry-On, by Away
Travelling with tiny tots? May we present to you ‘The Kids’ Carry-On’ suitcase by Away, a scaled-down version of the cult American travel brand’s signature cabin silhouette. The style boasts many of Away’s luggage signatures, including a sturdy polycarbonate hard shell, smooth 360-degree spinner wheels, leather detailing, an interior compression system for expansion and an interior hidden laundry bag for separating grubby clothing. The mini carry-on even features an ejectable battery pack for charging electronic devices when your kids need distraction in the departure lounge.
- Polycarbonate hard shell
- Smooth 360-degree spinner wheels
- Interior compression system
- Ejectable battery pack