You’re about to discover the insider secrets of pilots when it comes to their choice of luggage. In this article, we’ll reveal the top tips and recommendations from those who know best – the pilots themselves. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or just curious about what the professionals use, get ready to upgrade your travel gear with the preferred luggage of pilots.

What Luggage Do Pilots Use: Insider Tips And Recommendations

Factors to Consider When Choosing Luggage

When it comes to choosing luggage, there are several important factors that pilots should consider. The nature of their profession requires them to be constantly on the move, so having reliable and convenient luggage is crucial. Here are some factors to keep in mind when selecting luggage for pilots:


Durability is perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing luggage for pilots. Frequent travel and handling can put a strain on even the toughest of suitcases, so opting for a durable option is key. Look for luggage made from strong materials, such as polycarbonate or ballistic nylon, that can endure the rigors of travel without easily getting damaged.

Size and Weight Restrictions

Pilots are often subject to strict size and weight restrictions imposed by airlines. It is essential to choose luggage that complies with these regulations to avoid any hassle or additional fees. Most airlines have specific dimensions and weight limits for both checked-in and carry-on luggage, so make sure to check these guidelines before making a purchase.

Organization and Accessibility

Efficient organization and easy accessibility are vital for pilots who need to quickly find and access their belongings while on the go. Look for luggage with multiple compartments, pockets, and dividers that allow for organized packing and easy access to essential items. Features such as expandable sections and external pockets can also be beneficial in maximizing storage space.


Pilots often navigate through busy airports and crowded aircraft cabins, so having luggage that is easy to maneuver is a must. Opt for suitcases with strong, smooth-rolling wheels and a telescopic handle that can be extended to the appropriate height. Spinner suitcases, which have four multi-directional wheels, offer excellent maneuverability and are ideal for easily gliding through tight spaces.

Security Measures

Since pilots carry important and valuable equipment, security is a top priority. Choose luggage that incorporates robust security features, such as TSA-approved locks or reinforced zippers. This will help ensure the safety of your belongings while providing peace of mind during your travels.

Recommended Types of Luggage for Pilots

With the factors mentioned above in mind, there are several types of luggage that are highly recommended for pilots:

Rolling Suitcases

Rolling suitcases are a popular choice among pilots due to their convenience and ease of use. They come in various sizes, allowing you to choose one that suits your travel needs. Look for lightweight options with durable wheels and a sturdy handle for smooth mobility. Hardshell rolling suitcases offer superior protection, while soft-sided versions are more flexible and can expand to accommodate extra items.

Wheeled Duffel Bags

Wheeled duffel bags are another excellent option for pilots. These bags offer the best of both worlds, combining the spaciousness of a duffel bag with the convenience of wheels for easy transportation. They are particularly suitable for pilots who need to carry additional equipment or uniforms. Look for duffel bags with sturdy wheels and reinforced handles for added durability.

Pilot Bags

Pilot bags are specially designed for the needs of pilots, with compartments and pockets tailored to hold aviation-related items. These bags often feature sections for organizing headsets, logbooks, charts, and other essential tools of the trade. Look for bags made from durable materials that can withstand frequent use and come with adjustable straps for comfortable carrying.


Backpacks are a versatile option for pilots, offering excellent mobility and easy storage. Look for backpacks with multiple compartments and padded sleeves to protect electronic devices such as laptops and tablets. Opt for backpacks made from durable and water-resistant materials to withstand various weather conditions.

Specific Brands and Models

While there are many brands and models available in the market, some particular options have gained popularity among pilots:

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner

The Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner is a reliable and durable option for pilots. It features a scratch-resistant exterior, a spacious main compartment, and four multi-directional spinner wheels for easy maneuvering. Additionally, it has a TSA-approved lock for enhanced security.

Travelpro Crew 11 Expandable Spinner

The Travelpro Crew 11 Expandable Spinner is another highly recommended choice for pilots. It combines durability with functionality and offers a variety of features tailored to the needs of frequent travelers. With its zippered expansion capability, internal organization pockets, and patented MagnaTrac self-aligning wheels, it is designed to withstand the rigors of travel.

Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner

The Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner is a versatile and high-quality option suitable for pilots. It is designed with durability in mind and features a compression system to maximize packing space. Additionally, it comes with a lifetime warranty, providing peace of mind for any potential damages.

LowePro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack

For pilots who need to carry cameras or other photography equipment, the LowePro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack is an excellent choice. This rugged backpack is designed to protect and organize camera gear while offering comfort and durability. It features adjustable dividers, multiple access points, and an all-weather cover for protection against the elements.

North Face Recon Laptop Backpack

The North Face Recon Laptop Backpack is a top-notch option for pilots who prioritize functionality and comfort. It is designed to carry both electronics and personal items, with a padded laptop sleeve and multiple compartments for organization. The backpack also offers a comfortable suspension system and a water-resistant exterior, making it suitable for various environments.

Tips for Packing Efficiently

Efficient packing is crucial for pilots, as it allows for easy access to essential items and maximizes storage space. Here are some tips to help you pack efficiently:

Follow the 3-1-1 Rule

The 3-1-1 rule refers to the Transportation Security Administration’s guidelines for carrying liquids, gels, and aerosols in your carry-on luggage. Each passenger is allowed to bring a quart-sized bag filled with travel-sized containers (3.4 ounces or less) of liquids. By adhering to this rule, you can ensure a hassle-free security screening process.

Utilize Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a game-changer when it comes to organizing your luggage. These small, lightweight fabric containers allow you to group similar items together and keep your belongings neat and compressed. Additionally, they make it easier to find specific items without having to rummage through your entire suitcase.

Pack Efficient Clothing

Selecting versatile and wrinkle-resistant clothing items is key to efficient packing. Choose clothing that can be mixed and matched, making it easier to create different outfits with fewer items. Additionally, opt for lightweight and quick-drying fabrics that are suitable for various weather conditions and activities.

Carry Essential Documents and Electronics

Make sure to keep essential documents, such as your pilot’s license, passport, and any necessary flight-related paperwork, easily accessible. It is also important to pack your electronic devices, such as laptops and tablets, in a dedicated, padded sleeve or compartment to protect them from damage.

What Luggage Do Pilots Use: Insider Tips And Recommendations

Additional Equipment Pilots Carry

In addition to luggage, pilots often require specific equipment to perform their duties effectively. Some common items include:

Flight Bags

Flight bags are specially designed to carry pilot essentials, including charts, flight plans, headsets, and navigation tools. These bags often have numerous compartments and pockets to keep everything organized and easily accessible during flights.

Logbook Binders

Logbook binders are used to store and protect pilots’ logbooks, which document their flight hours and training. These binders typically feature pockets and dividers for efficient organization and easy reference.


Headsets are essential for Clear communication between pilots and air traffic control. They help reduce ambient noise, allowing pilots to focus on their tasks and communicate effectively.

Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs)

Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) have become increasingly popular among pilots as a digital alternative to traditional paper charts and manuals. These electronic devices store all the necessary flight information, making it easier and more efficient to access critical data during flights.

Charts and Navigation Tools

Pilots must carry up-to-date navigation charts, approach plates, and other visual aids for accurate flight planning and navigation. These tools provide valuable information on airspace, airports, and routes, helping pilots make informed decisions during their flights.

Luggage Regulations for Pilots

Pilots, like any other travelers, must adhere to specific luggage regulations imposed by airlines and aviation authorities:

Airlines’ Personal Item Allowance

Most airlines allow passengers to carry a personal item in addition to their carry-on luggage. This personal item can be a small bag or a backpack that fits under the seat in front of you. Pilots should make sure their personal items comply with the airline’s size and weight restrictions to avoid any issues during boarding.

FAA Regulations on Carry-On Luggage

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established regulations regarding carry-on luggage for all passengers, including pilots. These regulations state that carry-on bags must fit in the overhead compartments or approved storage areas, and they must not exceed the maximum weight and size limits set by the airline.

International Luggage Restrictions

When traveling internationally, pilots must also be aware of the specific luggage restrictions imposed by the countries they are visiting. These restrictions may vary depending on the destination and the airline, so it is important to check the guidelines provided by the airline or consult the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting.

What Luggage Do Pilots Use: Insider Tips And Recommendations

Pros and Cons of Different Luggage Options

Each type of luggage has its own pros and cons that pilots should consider before making their final decision:

Rolling Suitcases

  • Pros: Easy to maneuver, provides excellent protection for belongings, offers different size options, and often comes with security features such as built-in locks.
  • Cons: Can become heavy when packed with equipment, may not fit in small overhead compartments.

Wheeled Duffel Bags

  • Pros: Offers spaciousness and versatility, combines the convenience of wheels with the flexibility of a duffel bag, and can often accommodate additional equipment or uniforms.
  • Cons: May not offer the same level of protection as hardshell suitcases, may not fit in small overhead compartments.

Pilot Bags

  • Pros: Specifically designed for pilots’ needs, often have compartments and pockets tailored for aviation-related items, and come in various sizes and styles.
  • Cons: May be too specialized for non-aviation purposes, may not offer as much storage space compared to other options.


  • Pros: Versatile and easy to carry, often have multiple compartments and padded sleeves for electronics, and suitable for various activities and environments.
  • Cons: May not offer as much packing space as other options, may become heavy when carrying a large number of items.

Influential Factors in Pilot Luggage Choice

When choosing luggage, pilots should take the following influential factors into consideration:

Preferential Airlines Policies

Different airlines have varying policies and regulations regarding luggage. A pilot’s choice of luggage may be influenced by their preferred airline’s allowances, such as carry-on size restrictions or personal item policies. It is essential to select luggage that aligns with these policies to ensure a smooth travel experience.

Frequency and Type of Travel

The frequency and nature of a pilot’s travel can greatly impact their luggage choice. Pilots who frequently fly long-haul international routes may prioritize luggage that offers maximum durability and storage capacity. On the other hand, pilots who primarily fly regional routes with shorter layovers may focus more on lightweight and easy-to-carry options.

Personal Preferences

Personal preferences play a significant role in the luggage selection process. Some pilots may prefer the convenience of rolling suitcases, while others may opt for backpacks to keep their hands free. It is important to choose luggage that suits individual preferences and comfort levels during travel.

Budget Constraints

Budget considerations can also influence the choice of luggage. There is a wide range of options available at various price points, so pilots should identify their budget and find a balance between cost and quality. Investing in durable and high-quality luggage can help avoid frequent replacements and ultimately save money in the long run.

What Luggage Do Pilots Use: Insider Tips And Recommendations

Tips for Maintaining and Taking Care of Luggage

To ensure the longevity of your luggage and keep it in optimal condition, here are some tips for maintenance and care:

Clean Regularly

Regularly clean your luggage to remove dirt, stains, and odors. Use mild soap or specialized luggage cleaners to clean the exterior, and wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. Allow your luggage to dry completely before storing or packing it for your next trip.

Check for Damage

Before each trip, inspect your luggage for any signs of damage, such as loose threads, broken zippers, or damaged wheels. Promptly address any issues to prevent further damage during travel. If necessary, consult a professional repair service or contact the manufacturer for assistance.

Store Properly

When not in use, store your luggage in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing it in damp or humid areas, as this can lead to mold or mildew growth. If possible, use a protective cover or bag to prevent dust or scratches.

Use Luggage Tags

Attach a durable luggage tag to your bags, both inside and outside, to ensure easy identification and minimize the risk of loss. Include your name, contact information, and any other relevant details. In case your luggage gets misplaced, having proper identification can facilitate its return to you.


Choosing the right luggage for pilots involves considering various factors such as durability, size and weight restrictions, organization, maneuverability, and security measures. Recommended types of luggage for pilots include rolling suitcases, wheeled duffel bags, pilot bags, and backpacks. Specific brands and models that are popular among pilots include Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner, Travelpro Crew 11 Expandable Spinner, Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner, LowePro ProTactic 450 AW Camera Backpack, and North Face Recon Laptop Backpack. Efficient packing, following luggage regulations, and considering personal preferences are essential when selecting luggage. Pilots should also take into account additional equipment such as flight bags, logbook binders, headsets, electronic flight bags, and charts in their luggage choice. Regular maintenance and care should be practiced to ensure the longevity of the luggage. By considering specific needs and finding the right balance between quality and cost, pilots can choose luggage that will serve them well throughout their travels. Additionally, taking advantage of pilot discounts can help save money.

What Luggage Do Pilots Use: Insider Tips And Recommendations

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