Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage? Which One is the Best According to the Airlines Regulations?

Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage? Which One is the Best According to the Airlines Regulations?
Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage? Which One is the Best According to the Airlines Regulations?

Do airlines prefer hard or soft luggage? Most travelers think about it. Which one is the best according to airline restrictions? The answer is that "Airlines do not prefer the brands and types of the luggage, but they consider their size and weight to adjust on flights and cargo for convenience."

Travelers must consider the best luggage size for international travel and the crucial aspects of luggage quality, durability, baggage size, weight, and movability during the journey. Usually, travelers prefer soft-side luggage for short and domestic travel and hard-side luggage for short or long international trips. However, the choice may vary from the brand and its quality, reliability, prices, and requirements. So, it all depends upon your interests and preferences for hard or soft luggage, which should be the best for airline regulations and the trip.

Airlines have distinctive rules for the size and weight of luggage, and you must get the exact size and weight of bags according to your airline to avoid extra charges on oversized or overweight luggage at the airport.

Travelers prefer hard-side luggage for international travel due to its durability and reliability, and soft-side bags are picked for lighter luggage and simple packing items. If you need more complex things like electronic gadgets, laptops, sportswear, outdoor and heavy gear, or more complex clothing like winter jackets, coats, formal outfits, and boots. You may choose hard-side bags for indestructible surfaces from damage on rough handling.

Are hard-shell suitcases heavier than soft-side suitcases? Soft-side travel bags are usually lighter than hard cases, but now, modern hard cases are made of premium and lighter material that gives you sturdy and lighter luggage.

Travelers prefer soft-side bags for usually the best lightweight luggage, but nowadays, the latest stylish, modern design of hard surface bags comes with lighter and comfy handling with spin wheels to move on quickly while on the go. However, hard-side luggage is often more expensive than soft fabricated suitcases and bags, so it may be the better choice for a budget trip.

Durability of the Luggage for Airlines

Regarding the airline preferences for luggage, they prefer durable and solid material bags that can be undamaged and indestructible during rough handling at the customs counters and for the luggage handlers on the flight or cargo. Travelers choose hard-side bags to prevent damaged bags and the items inside the baggage during rough handling.

The most exciting part is that if you have some precious valuables or fragile accessories on your packing list, you never need to pack them with extra precautions within hard shell suitcases whether, during the rough handling, you will get the exact items in mint conditions as you packed them before check-in.

Airlines will never be responsible for any damaged or lost item during check-in. However, pack your valuables and essentials in carry-on or personal item bags to avoid mishandling or loss.

Security of the Luggage for Airlines

The other crucial aspect to consider while purchasing luggage is checking the security options and standards. The hard or soft luggage for international travel must be secured from damage and theft, and your belongings must be safe. You will find several luggage brands for hard-side and soft-side luggage with solid and interlocking zippers and TSA combination locks for high-security purposes. You must check for solid zippers to avoid hassles on the trip and learn how to get a zipper back on track if you have any stuck zippers in your luggage. You can check for the latest luggage on Amazon for the most affordable and the best quality luggage online.

Peculiarity of the Luggage for Airlines

Usually, distinctive colors and peculiar luggage designs are easily recognizable and prevent loss. Airlines prefer various colors and designs of luggage at arrival to avoid failure, but not necessarily. If you have a simple black suitcase, whatever its style or design, you may put a colorful tag on the luggage to make it peculiar and more prominent to find out quickly.

Choosing a prominent luggage color is an excellent idea to make it more distinctive than others and to be identified easily. Let’s check here for the best luggage brands and hard or soft-side travel bags.

Appropriate Fit Luggage for Airlines

The luggage size must be the appropriate fit for the airline's requirements. You must check for the accurate size of travel baggage to avoid inconvenience. If you want to put all your packing items smoothly in your luggage, check for the largest luggage size for check-in allowance from your airline. But do follow the airline luggage policies and restrictions for the size requirements, whether for a large, checked luggage or small carry-on.

The luggage size depends on the duration of the trip and your requirements, but you prefer to choose small and medium-sized luggage instead of large suitcases. It’s recommended to measure the luggage size before buying the new piece and check it according to your required dimensions. Hand carry is the ideal to carry it on board the plane. It can be easily adjustable in overhead compartments or under-seat spaces.

Well-Organized Luggage

Luggage must be well-organized, so everything must be set in place safely and accessible quickly when required. The luggage compartments and pockets are the critical factor. Your luggage must have roomy compartments and extra pockets or packing cubes to keep essentials and tiny items safe. Putting your laptop in the front room and your documents in a separate pocket would be better.

Soft-side travel bags have the benefit that they come with various extra pockets and front compartments to keep things more organized properly. Accessing tiny things or laptops from the front rooms and outer pockets is easier. Like your smartphone USB charging port, it may be available in an extra exterior pocket to keep your phone quickly accessible whenever you need it and not mixed with your clothes in the carry-on.

Luggage Weight and Capacity

You must pack your clothes, shoes, documents, and other essentials in your luggage, although you must consider the luggage's weight. Getting lightweight luggage and putting your requirements in a handbag is crucial to reduce your luggage weight. Do not include unnecessary items in your travel packing list; choose the most essential things in your luggage.

The lightest luggage is quick to move effortlessly and easy to handle at the airport terminal while in a rush at the customs counter. If you consider hard-side vs soft-side luggage weight, usually soft-side travel bags are lighter than hard-shell bags, but the latest hard-shell suitcases are also available for the lightest weight. 

The soft-side travel bags have more luggage capacity than hard cases. Soft-side luggage has extra pockets and front compartments and tends to adjust easily anywhere than hard cases. The hard cases usually don’t have any exterior compartments or extra pockets. It’s the most crucial aspect and one of the few disadvantages of hard-shell luggage.

Movability of the Luggage

Wheeled luggage is available for quickly moving travel bags wherever you want. Rollaboard and Spinner travel bags are great options with remarkable speed and smooth movement anywhere.

Soft-sides often come as 2-wheel luggage called rollaboard, and hard-sides usually come with four spin wheels called spinners. The hard-shell spinners are flexible, with solid wheels moving in all directions on rotation at 360 degrees. Soft-shell luggage can be pulled over from the backside, and it's complicated to pull over the bags from the back when heavy or overweight. Some brands have soft-side luggage with four spin wheels, but it's a rare and costly design.

The Advantages of Hard-shell Luggage 

The hard cases have various advantages and a few of them are: 

  • The hard cases provide enhanced protection from dents and damages, impact resistance, and rough handling at the airport.
  • Hard cases are usually water-resistant and waterproof.
  • Hard cases don’t need to be washed and you can clean simply with a soft cloth.
  • Hard cases are more durable and sturdier than soft-side luggage.
  • Hard cases have maximum security features like TSA combination lock security, interlocking telescopic handles, and brakes or locks to prevent auto-rolling the luggage.
  • Hard cases often come with smart features like USB recharging ports while on the go.
  • Hard cases come in trendy and stylish appearance with modern design and stunning colors collection.                                                                       

The Advantages of Soft-shell Luggage  

These are a few advantages of soft-shell luggage: 

  • The soft-shell luggage is lightweight for its polyester, nylon, or fabric material surface.
  • Soft-side luggage has an expandable capacity with several extra pockets and front compartments.
  • Soft-side luggage is flexible, adjustable easily, compressible, and fit in small spaces and overhead compartments on the flight.
  • Soft-side luggage is best for moving in busy locations or crowded areas with quicker moves.
  • Soft-side luggage has corner guards for damage protection and a durable layered shell for water resistance, wear and tear, and abrasion resistance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Pros and Cons of Hard-side and Soft-side Luggage

Here are some critical benefits and disadvantages of using hard-side and soft-side luggage on the flight. It will help you choose the right option for the trip regarding your airline rules and preferences.

Pros for the Hard-side Luggage

Hard-side luggage has several benefits, specifically for international traveling. But it has a few disadvantages, although it may vary on the travel duration and conditions of the trip.

1. Extended Security of the Hard-Shell Luggage:

Hard-side luggage has the most significant benefit; it gives extended security to the belongings and accessories in the baggage from any damage during rough handling. The hard-shell surface, made from premium polycarbonate ABS material, is dents, scratch, damage-resistant, and shock-resistant during rough handling on check-in. It ensures the security of the valuables, electronic gadgets, and essentials throughout the trip.

2. Water Resistance of the Hard-side Luggage

Hard-side luggage is water-resistant and safer than soft-side luggage on a rainy day. It's better to have a hard-shell suitcase for the rainy season to get the maximum protection from water splashes.

3. Simple Cleaning Surface of Hard-side Luggage

Cleaning the hard-side surface with a wet cloth from the mud, dirt, and stains is effortless and quick. It doesn't require washing over the luggage like fabricated bags, which take longer. It's the time-saving aspect, making it the most reliable luggage for business and frequent travelers.

4. Hard-side Luggage Durability

Hard-side luggage is more long-lasting and durable than soft-side suitcases. It's crucial to tear or break off the surface, and it's not easy to damage the rigid texture of these suitcases while on the go. It's the most secure and durable luggage for long and international trips.

5. Maximum Security Features of Hard-side Luggage

The hard-shell luggage often comes with corner guards to prevent broken corners, push button locks for wheel handles to avoid auto-moving the spin wheels, and TSA-approved combination locks for maximum protection from theft or robbery. Hence, travelers can travel peacefully, and their luggage is highly secured.

6. Remarkable Professional Appearance of Hard-side Luggage

Hard-side travel bags come with various classy designs, vibrant color collections, and an outstanding professional look that complements your business or professional trip.

It's perfect for a formal event, conference, business, or professional trip.

Cons for the Hard-side Luggage

Hard-side luggage has a few drawbacks, but choosing carefully may not complicate your journey. Let’s see what are the disadvantages of hard-shell luggage?

1. Hard-side Luggage Weight

Hard-side luggage is usually heavier than a soft fabricated travel bag. But nowadays, hard-side bags also come with lighter weight and ultra-light designs to reduce excess weight of the rich material of the luggage. Still, hard shells are slightly heavier than soft-side luggage. You may need to pack carefully and confirm the luggage weight before check-in to avoid trouble on the flight.

2. Inflexibility and Uncompressed Hard-side Luggage

Hard-side luggage is inflexible and uncompressed due to its solid and rigid surface. This luggage is not expendable to keep more things in the luggage and is uncompressed to adjust in small spaces like soft fabricated bags. So, you may need to buy another hand carry to keep extra souvenirs if you shop more during the trip.

3. No More Extra Compartments or Front Pockets in Hard-side Luggage

Hard-shell suitcases have limited capacity and are not expandable to add more items to your luggage. These bags have no extra inner or outer pockets to keep tiny things or valuables. Some hard shells have a front compartment for laptops, but it will reduce the storage capacity from the inner case. The main room holds everything in the luggage, so you must be concerned about getting what's on your packing list to keep in this luggage.

4. The Hard Side is Highly Expensive Luggage:

Hard-side suitcases are expensive because of the advanced features for maximum security and movability. Travelers on a budget may consider soft-side luggage for lower price options, but the durability, safety, and premium features are worth the high cost of the bags.

5. Scratches and Dent Affect the Hard-side Luggage

Scratches and dents can affect the hard-side luggage over a specific usage time. However, these bags are dent and scratch-resistant, but after a period, their outer surface may be prone to minor scratches and marks from rough handling.

Pros for the Soft-side Luggage

Soft-side luggage is made of fabricated materials like polyester and nylon. Some are high-end blended materials and low-quality fabrics, but this luggage has benefits and disadvantages, like hard shells. Let's check out;

1. The Soft Side is Lightweight Luggage

Soft-side luggage has the ultimate benefit in that it's lightweight luggage due to its fabricated material. It's beneficial when you're getting the weight limits off or you need to minimize the overall luggage weight for the trip.

2. Flexibility and Expandability of Soft-side Luggage

Soft-side luggage usually has extra outer and inner pockets and large front compartments. If you get more shopping on the trip, you can smoothly add new items to your luggage into additional space. This luggage is usually expandable up to two to three inches more due to its fabricated material and the essential benefit not available in hard-side suitcases.

3. Soft-side Luggage Compression

Soft-side suitcases are compressible and foldable. These bags can adjust in small spaces easily and store smoothly in limited space when not in use compared to hard-side luggage.

4. Soft-side Bags are the Best Carry-on

The soft side is the best carry-on due to its smooth fabricated surface, adjustable into tight compartments, small spaces, and under-seat areas on the flight. Moving this luggage into a rush space or busy airport terminal is quicker and easier.

5. Durable and Resistant Soft-side Luggage

It's not comparable to hard shells for durability and sturdiness, but soft sides are durable for their high-quality material, tear-resistant, water and stain-resistant. The latest soft-side luggage is designed to be compatible with various travel impacts while on the go.

Cons of the Soft-side Luggage

Here are a few disadvantages of soft-side fabricated luggage. Let's check out;

1. Lower Security Options of Soft-side Luggage

Soft-side Luggage provides lower security than hard-side bags. The valuables, fragile items, and electronic items can be at risk in soft fabricated luggage in case of a rough swing or throwing back the suitcase, and the items can be damaged inside the baggage.

2. Soft-side luggage is Less Water-Resistant

This type of luggage has a layer or coating on the fabric for water protection, but it is prone to damage from rain or water splashes. It's more likely to occur in the rainy season, and the items inside the luggage can be damaged during travel.

3. Soft-side Shape Distortion

Soft-side luggage has the worst disadvantage in losing its original shape throughout usage or in case of overpacking. It can affect the storage efficiency of the baggage.

4. Low Durability of Soft-side Luggage Surface

The soft-side luggage is best for routine and domestic use, but its fabricated surface is less durable. After some time, it shows a damaged shell, wear, and tear manufactured layer, and a rough appearance.

5. Soft-side luggage is for a Limited Time

Hard-side luggage can be used for a lifetime, but soft-side luggage is only recommended for a limited period. It will not be long-lasting, durable for rough handling, long and extensive trips.

Exclusive Hard-side and Soft-side Luggage on Amazon

Here are the best hard-side and soft-side luggage options on Amazon. Let's check it.

Samsonite Centric Hard Side Luggage:

Check Latest Price

Samsonite Centric Hardside Luggage is an expandable spinner, and It's available for twenty-inch carry-on size, checked medium and large size luggage. It's dented and scratch-resistant with a ten-year warranty. It has four spin wheels, a push button lock for wheel handles, and 1.5 expansion to add fragile items to the luggage. It has different color variations like Black, Blue Slate, Caribbean Blue, Burnt Orange, Silver, Navy, and Teal colors. It has TSA combination locks for maximum security options.

Why do we like it? 

It’s a sturdy hard case with a spacious design and stunning color variety. It has durable spinner wheels, solid handles, and an adjustable telescopic handle. It has an expandable capacity to pack all accessories and enough storage space in the inner compartment. The luggage has a TSA-approved digital lock for security and a ten-year warranty for manufacturing defects and damages.

Samsonite Ascella X Soft-side Luggage:

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Samsonite Ascella X soft-side luggage is available for twenty-inch carry-on, twenty-five-inch medium-size checked, and twenty-nine-inch large-size checked baggage. It has a vast front compartment, expandable luggage with four spinner wheels, and a ten-year warranty. It has color variations like Black, Teal, and Plum shades of luggage.

Why do we like it? 

It’s lightweight soft-side luggage with maximum storage capacity. It’s a wide expandable compartment with a mesh zipper divider and a front compartment for additional accessories or laptops. It has double spinner wheels for quick movements with a telescopic handle and a ten-year warranty for built-in defects. Its teal and plum shade is fantastic and looks prominent. 

What you should know about hard or soft side luggage? 

Hard-side luggage is recommended for durability, sturdiness, and lifetime traveling experience. Frequent travelers use hard cases for international traveling. Travelers need extra durable hard cases due to rough handling at the customs and check-in counters, loading on the transportation hubs, or tough swings while loading at the overhead compartments on the flight. 

Hard cases are sturdy and durable enough to resist rough handling and impacts on international traveling. However, it has less storage capacity than soft-side luggage.

Soft-side luggage is lightweight and wear and tear, abrasion-resistant, and water-repellent, giving you massive storage expandable capacity with various interior and exterior pockets and front compartments. It can easily be adjustable anywhere and fit into smaller spaces than hard cases. Soft-side luggage is durable but not recommended for international traveling. It can’t resist due to tough swings and rough handling and may tear off during the trip.


Airlines are not concerned with the hard-side or soft-side types of luggage. However, it considers the accurate size and weight of the travel bag. The hard-side and soft-side suitcases are slightly different in design, luggage size, weight, quality, material, and durability, significantly impacting the luggage size and weight. Travelers must confirm the actual size and weight of the luggage, whether a hard or soft luggage for international travel, choose the best lightest luggage, and follow the guidelines for their airline regulations for the baggage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you know about soft-side suitcases?

The soft-side suitcases have high-quality fabric, nylon, and polyester material surfaces with a secured fabricated layer for wear and tear and water resistance. Soft-shell suitcases have extended storage capacity and enough flexibility, but they are not durable enough to resist tough swings and rough handling at the custom counters or check-in at the airport.

What do you know about hard-side suitcases?

The hard-side suitcases have high-quality polycarbonate, good-quality ABS, or premium polypropylene material surfaces for lightweight, enhanced durability and sturdiness. The hard-shell cases are durable enough for rough swings, tough handling, and irresistible at the customs on airport for international travel.

Do Hard-side luggage easily bend?

Hard-side luggage has a reliable and sturdy surface that is enough for dealing with rough handling, but these hard cases are not easily bent enough to adjust easily anywhere or in small places like soft-side luggage. However, the modern hard cases have sturdy, lighter, and flexible surfaces, than traditional hard cases but still can’t compare to the soft shell luggage.

Can you pack more in soft-side or hard-side luggage?

Hard-side and soft-side luggage both have expandable capacity, but soft-side luggage has more space, like extra pockets and front compartments, to pack more accessories easily than hard cases.

Which material is best for hard-side luggage?

Hard-side luggage has Aluminum material, ABS, and Polycarbonate materials, but the best ultra-light and durable material is Polypropylene material.

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