Airline proof luggage — 3 ways to beat airline damage

We know the feeling.

Despite stats showing airline damage and lost bags are getting steadily better over the last decade, there is still the inevitable occasion when your bag comes back looking rather battered.

And that’s all before you start watching baggage handler compilations on YouTube!

Did you know that June is the worst month for lost bags, and you shouldn’t fly Envoy Air if you want your bags to arrive in one piece? Now you do!

At thrillofthecase I make no secret of my love for carry-on bags.

But even if you don’t check your bag in you can still end up with damaged luggage!

With everyone trying to avoid extra baggage fees on low-cost carriers and avoid the risk of lost or damaged checked luggage this has created a problem.

  • There’s now a lack of space in the cabin due to the volume of savvy carry-on only travellers
  • Travellers thinking they would avoid checked bags are being forced to check them in — albeit for free.
  • Consumer group Which estimates this happens to 1 in 4 people travelling on Ryanair!

With delicate holiday gifts, duty free and the wealth of smart tech that people travel with — people are searching for the toughest carry on bags.

Here’s three airline proof luggage ideas to keep your belongings safe!

airline proof luggage zero halliburton carry-on

Buy unbreakable luggage

Here’s a simple (but pretty expensive!) solution to airline-proofing your bags.

Zero Halliburton have been making luggage since 1938, and the USA brand have always been famous for their heavy-duty but lightweight aluminium travel cases.

With a major rebrand in 2018, Zero Halliburton have a huge range of travel luggage in all sizes in their featured aluminium design.

While all Zero Halliburtons aluminium luggage is likely to outlive you, Let me introduce arguably the toughest carry on luggage in the world.

The Carbon Fibre Frameless Carry-On. Not only does it look like something out of a 007 movie, the sleek black carry on is handmade in Japan.

Crafted from carbon fibre composite produced by a well-known artisan in Japan, each piece is individually made in a painstaking, time-consuming production process similar to that used in the creation of high-performance motorcycles and race cars.

Zero Halliburton

Unlike polycarbonate or even aluminium luggage, the high-performance carbon fibre composite is so strong it doesn’t need any frame. The case provides the strength and a combination of TSA approved locks and deadbolts secure it together. It is the same composite structure — stronger than steel and lighter than aluminium — that makes carbon fibre the material of choice for the latest aircraft.

An interesting feature of all the Zero Halliburton luggage is a patented design for corner damage. Often a weak point — the corners are actually concave rather than convex. These deep channels are the result of a brand overhaul with industrial designers and are claimed to mitigate severe damage far more effectively than traditional suitcase corners.

You can travel safe in the knowledge that the aircraft will break before your suitcase!

An airline-proof return warranty

airline proof luggage briggs riley domestic

High-end luggage brand Briggs and Riley have opted for a slightly different way of airline-proofing their luggage.

While their cases are exceptionally hardwearing — becoming the luggage of choice of many airline crew — rather than take Zero Halliburton’s method of making their cases indestructible they’ve instead focused on the inevitable.

When your case does get damaged by an airline, broken through years of use or simply lost — they’ll replace it. For free. No questions asked.

airline proof luggage warranty industry comparison
Briggs and Riley Guarantee Comparison

It’s been described as the best luggage warranty in the world, and it’s easy to see why. You don’t have to worry about the retailer you bought your case from, if you bought directly from Briggs and Riley. There are no questions asked and your case will get repaired or replaced for free at any time. Forever.

For the best carry on cases, two favourites from Briggs and Riley are the Domestic Carry-On Expandable for two-wheeled fans and the Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner for those that need a spinner. Both cases come with a patented compression technology — a great system and well worth it. These cases fit comfortably in virtually all airlines carry on limits, but for those longer trips can be expanded by over 20%.

The tech uses a ratchet system, which actually acts as a compression packing system too.

  1. First you expand the case
  2. You fit significantly more luggage in
  3. Then compress the case to its original size
  4. The mechanical ratchet system clips down to hand-baggage compliance.

Unlike cheaper brands, this system is well-made and in no way gimmicky — it genuinely allows you to pack more in.

And you don’t have to worry about what case you pick, the warranty is the same for every case.


crash baggage icon yellow airline proof luggage

Already broken luggage — Crash Baggage

If unbreakable luggage, or luggage with lifetime guarantee to fix it isn’t airline proof enough for you, here’s an alternative.

Why not travel with luggage that already looks broken?

Proving that the line between genius and madness is wafer thin — and I’m still not sure what side Crash Baggage sits on — Francesco Pavia has designed a range of high-end pre-broken luggage!

airline proof luggage gif

Trendsetting brand Crash Baggage have created a set of luggage exactly like this. With their famous stand out yellow colouring, you won’t need a brightly coloured luggage tag to stop your bag at the carousel either.

crash baggage airline proof luggage in street

It was the idea that there was no point worrying about a suitcase that was destined, inevitably, to get ruined.

CEO — Francesco Pavia

I’ll be honest — it’s a slightly ridiculous idea — but you’ll certainly stand out from the crowd and definitely get a few laughs. On a more serious note, the pre-broken luggage is actually expertly deformed in the manufacturing process. So Crash Baggage’s suitcase are both completely useable and surprisingly high quality.

The flamboyant Italian brand makes all their suitcases out of hardwearing polycarbonate — not the cheaper ABS often found — and it also has an aluminium case range.

The statistics surrounding damaged luggage don’t lie. If you travel enough, eventually your luggage will get damage. So if you truly want baggage that’s airline proof, why not try Crash Baggage’s pre-damaged carry on?

Our pick of the bunch is the carry-on sized ICON — in garish yellow, obviously.