Posted by: Jerry Garrett | December 20, 2009

Get “Up in the Air” with George Clooney’s Rolling Suitcase

[Editor’s Note: George Clooney fans may also want to read my September 2010 column on his movie “The American”.]

For the seasoned traveler, it is all about being organized. (Courtesy Paramount)

After seeing the movie, “Up in the Air“, recently I wanted to run right out and buy the same rolling suitcase that lead character Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) uses and extols. For the record, it’s a Travelpro Crew 7.

But wait a minute, despite Travelpro’s high-flying reputation, the Crew 7 has some issues. Research before you buy.

Customer reviews on are spotty. Common complaints are broken handles and zippers that won’t zip.

Many loyal Travelpro owners, who have upgraded from version 3 to the current iteration report they are looking for used Crew 6 models, to return to. The few that turn up on eBay seem to sell quickly, and for relatively high prices. The Crew 6 22-inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter is out of stock on Amazon, and the company notes, “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.”

Check Travelpro’s website for its full line of products, including some Crew 6 models. It is still very good luggage, and worth recommending in my Top Five Rolling Suitcases.

If you don’t aspire to look as cool as Mr. Clooney, wheeling your bag through airports in your quest of frequent flier glory, here are four more carry-on suitcases that come in for rave reviews:

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Tarmac 22 Carry On ($225-$285) is cleverly shaped like a Boeing 737 luggage bin – so it makes the most of the space available to it. It weighs a full pound less than most competitors’ wheeled luggage, and the company believes it is well enough made to be backed by a “lifetime warranty” (yours or its?) including protection against damage by the airlines.

The Delsey Helium Fusion Carry On Expandable Suiter Trolley is popular for its relatively low price ($53-$180), light weight (less than 9 pounds), lots of compartments, and easy expandability. Consumer Reports rates it a best buy. But it is made with polyester instead of better Cordura nylon, and the warranty doesn’t cover accidental damage. See also Delsey’s Breeze line.

The Tumi Alpha Frequent Traveler 22-inch Framed Expandable Carry-on usually smokes the competition in any comparison test. It earns top ratings in roominess, convenience and durability. Tumi constructs its entire Alpha line out of tough ballistic nylon, with thoughtful features like removable garment sleeves to reduce wrinkles. The turn-offs: It is very expensive ($595 – yikes!). It is heavy (11.6 pounds) and therefore harder to hoist into the overhead bin. And its one-year damage/five-year defect warranty pales next to Eagle Creek’s lifetime backing.

Want something nearly indestructible? Got fragile stuff to transport? Don’t want to check it? Try Pelican‘s 1510-004-111 Medium Carry-On Case ($159-$289). Waterproof, crush-proof and dust-proof! At 22″ x 14″ x 9″ it is the maximum size the airlines will let you get away with for a carry-on. Buy the case empty, and fill it with what-have-you. Padded dividers are available, as are organizers and special compartments. It’s a brick: 16 pounds!

Or you can keep buying crappy close-out luggage at Ross or TJMaxx and throwing it away every six months. Been there. Done that. No more.

Jerry Garrett

December 19, 2009


  1. For the record it’s a Travelpro Crew 5…

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