What Luggage Do Pilots Use? - Know Here

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Our Guide To Pilots & Crew Luggage

Have you ever got to the luggage belt only to find your case has been damaged, or maybe you are travelling on your first long-haul flight and you want a durable case, you might be curious as to what luggage pilots use? 

What Luggage Do Pilots Use?

Pilots use very durable lines of luggage which need to withstand more use than the typical suitcase since airline pilots travel long distances every day. They typically use carry-on luggage and overnight bag, sticking to brands such as TravelPro.

We've put together a good guide below which will discuss what features pilot luggage has, brands, items they store inside plus some popular suitcases pilots swear by.

What To Look For In A Pilots Luggage 

An airline pilot will only choose a suitcase which has a lifetime guarantee, they avoid the biggest luggage size and will choose a high-quality luggage type, falling between the £200-£600 range. 

We've listed some features which are considered by pilots in their normal crew luggage below.

  • Size - Pilots have to choose professional luggage which fits within cabin crew luggage requirements, typically this is 10 x 8 x 6 inches or 18 x 14 x 12 inches. Compact luggage is key for fast and easy travel.
  • Weight - You will often find most average pilot luggage is under 7 pounds, pilots and crew can walk long distances in airports, so luggage for flight crews shouldn't be too heavy.
  • Price - Flight attendant luggage and general pilot luggage is always more expensive due to the durable luggage fabric, for a decent, high-quality luggage you can expect to budget between £200 - £500.
  • Compartments - Airline pilot luggage has a lot of compartments for storing flight items and general luggage, many crews need easy access to their luggage and room for overnight items if travelling on a long-haul flight.
  • Two spinner wheels - Premium luggage can often be associated with four wheels, not two wheels. However, four-wheel luggage does take up more space, so pilots tend to stick with two-wheel luggage instead.

Which Brands Of Luggage Do Pilots Use?

Flight attendants' luggage brands are often very expensive due to being made by high-quality luggage designers.

We've listed some popular brands of pilot luggage manufacturers below to give you an idea of what luggage to get. 

Travel Pro 

Travel pro are often advertised as being used for pilots, however, these lightweight suitcases are often not very durable. The plus side to these makers of suitcases is that they are very cheap and lightweight making them an ideal overnight suitcase. 

These suitcases are also ideal for airline crews because they are available in carry-on and normal luggage sizes as well as in two wheels and four-wheel options.


Samsonite is well known for being durable and a popular suitcase among airline crewmembers because of their high durability and hardshell options, they are the suitcase to choose if you travel often. 

Which Brands Of Luggage Do Pilots Use?

The main drawback to these suitcases are that their carry on options doesn't have a lot of compartment options, so we would suggest using them for your biggest luggage.


Luggage works are one of the most durable luggage brands out there, they are the luggage brand to choose if you're carrying fragile items from abroad. Some downfalls to the luggage professional brand are that they are very heavy, with not many lightweight options on offer.

Most luggage work suitcases also don't come with 4 wheel options which is a downside but keep the luggage more compact.

Briggs & Riley  

Briggs & Riley is a tough reliable brand used by airline crew, their suitcases come with a lifetime guarantee to show this. These suitcases are lightweight too and come in two wheel and four-wheel options. 

Negatives to this Briggs & Riley brand are that they are very expensive, with some costing up to £600 for a large suitcase.

What Items Do Pilots & Crew Store Inside Their Luggage? 

Have you ever wondered what the airline crew or a pilot packs in their suitcase? How can the crew fit everything they need in a small suitcase? 

We've listed what common items crew pack in their luggage down below.

  • Toiletries - Standard toiletries like shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and deodorant.
  • Documents - Not only do pilots and airline crew need their passports, but they will also need the following documents such as; airport ID, pilot's license, employer ID and medical documents.
  • EFB - An electronic flight bag will need to be packed with important information.
  • Safety vest - Every crew member will need to have a safety vest in case of flight problems.
  • Pen and clipboard - Most crew members carry around a flight board for recording important matters such as flight debriefing, plan and crew briefings.
  • Chargers - Portable chargers with a USB port are a must for airline crew and pilots in case of power back up when travelling.
  • A watch - It is required that the pilot and airline crew wear a watch, having a spare one is important so that they can keep track of time.
  • Snacks - After a while, plane food can become very boring, so having snacks on hand is key if you get hungry while on the job.
  • Coffee sachets - You never know when someone on board might ask for coffee, if the crew has already passed with the coffee then individual sachets can come in handy.
  • Hand sanitizer - As an airline crew, you touch a lot of people's cups and plates, with all this assistance it's important to have a sanitiser nearby.
  • Beachwear - You never know where you might end up as an airline crew, so having beachwear just in case is very important in case you end up in a warm destination.
  • Space for shopping - Airline crew get to go to beautiful destinations, so having space for shopping in their luggage is key as they can bring back goods.
  • Log book - In case of a SAFA inspection a log book is carried.
  • Flash light.

Why Do Airlines Crew Travel With Soft Side Bags?

You might have noticed that pilots and airline crew often travel with soft side bags, this is typical because they are more compact. 

However, this doesn't mean that a soft side bag is automatically better since you can find compact hardshell luggage too. 

Hardshell luggage has the advantage over soft side bags in that they can store fragile options, they also stop you from overpacking since the material doesn't stretch. The biggest downfall of them is that they scuff up easily.

Softside luggages are better for squeezing more clothes in and are often much lighter in weight, they are more vulnerable to ripping, however.

Four Wheels Vs Two Wheels - Which Is Better For Luggage?

Since most airline crew and pilots fly with two wheels, you might assume this would be better too, but four wheels can come in handy for easy transport.

Two wheel luggage type are often recessed which makes them less likely to snap off, while four-wheel options are easier to transport.

Tips For Choosing The Right Pilot Suitcase 

If you are on the hunt for a durable suitcase, we've listed some essential tips for choosing the right type below. 

  • Check the interior measurements - Before buying a suitcase, get the tape measure out and check the interior capacity it can take. Try to choose squared edges as well as outer compartments to utilise space.
  • Make sure it has warranty - Warranty is super important to have on a suitcase, not only does it mean you can get your money back, but it also indicates that the luggage comes from a reliable brand.
  • Look for compartments - It's ideal for your suitcase to have lots of compartments for different storage purposes, helping separate and organise items to ensure nothing gets lost.
  • Think security - Zip bags are convenient, but aren't as secure as suitcases which latch together, some suitcases also have integrated locks for better security.
  • Make sure it stands out - Carry-on luggage and checked luggage can all look the same, getting a case which stands out stops incidents from happening when someone takes your luggage because they think it's theirs.
  • Invest money - Good durable suitcases do not come cheap, you might have to invest a lot of money to get a decent quality case from durable luggage brands. The more you pay the quality will likely be better.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pilots Luggage 

How much luggage are pilots allowed to bring? 

This depends on the airline, most have different rules for the crew, some airlines allow the crew to bring unlimited on board, within obvious moderation, but it is not weight checked like passengers.

Do pilots get their luggage checked?

Pilots and crew members do have a special and quicker TSA screening, but their luggage is still checked, they also have to pass through a metal detector.

Can flight attendants help with luggage?

Yes, flight attendants can help with luggage but it is not a requirement, most will help you lift luggage into an overhead compartment if needed.

Do pilots check in?

Pilots do have a special checking in lounge where they can see which crew members will board with them, how many passengers there are, and details of the destination they are flying to.

Is a two wheeled suitcase good?

Yes, two wheeled suitcases are good since they are more compact, however, four wheeled suitcases can be easier to maneuver.

Is Briggs & Riley a good brand?

Briggs & Riley are a very good brand of luggage but are expensive too, Samsonite or luggage store are a cheaper version.

How much does a Luggage Store carry-on suitcase cost?

This depends, they can be anything between £80 - £200 depending on the material, quality and compartments.

Should a suitcase have lifetime warranty?

Lifetime warranty is handy on suitcases for backup in case the suitcase gets ripped or damaged.

What are airline-size backpacks for carry on luggage?

For carry on backpacks, most airlines will have a standard size rule of 56 x 45 x 25 cm.

Last Words

Overall, pilots tend to use soft side carry on luggage, with a small duffle bag too to carry important documents, most brands are; Samsonite, Luggage store and Briggs & Riley.

What Luggage Do Pilots Use?

Crew luggage is often more expensive because they need to be made to be more durable due to consistent travel.

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On November 13, 2022
Reading Time 
9 minutes
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