Tried & Tested

The impossible-to-lose carry-on suitcase

Jess Spiring,-Deputy Editor

With its crowd-pleasing canary yellow hue and overhead-locker-fitting dimensions, this is the mini-break suitcase you’ve been waiting for

Summer 2022 should have marked our return to the glory days of travel, but it wasn’t to be. Instead, our thoughtfully packed cases took holidays of their own or were left to fester on sun-scorched tarmac, schedules collapsed as flights were cancelled with next-to-no notice, and the price of previously affordable routes skyrocketed. 

However,  the Great British public is nothing if not stoic and adaptable, and, with a bit of planning and consideration, we can still vaycay the old way. First, though, you need to accept the current luggage lore: never let your bags out of your sight, which means no more checked cases and a greater need than ever for capacious carry-ons (airline regs allowing, of course). Here’s our favourite cabin bag to restore your wanderlust and get you past the check-in desk without having to pay extra.

What is it?

Meet the Orlando range of suitcases from John Lewis’s thoughtfully designed own label. With small, medium and large sizes available, each piece is made of a tough and flexible ABS and polycarbonate-blend shell, making it super-light and unmissable on the carousel should you decide or be forced to check your bag in.

Is it better to have a hard or a soft suitcase?

The suitcase weighs a mere 2.6kg, which means its own weight will barely eat into the luggage allowance your airline permits. For carriers like TUI, which has a maximum allowance of 10kg, a lightweight suitcase like this is a must-have. Normally, you’d have to opt for a soft-shell case if you wanted something this light, but the Orlando gives you the protection of a hard case without adding unnecessary weight, so you get the best of both worlds.

Why do you need it?

1. It has four sturdy wheels, so you can zip around the airport like a pro and stack your laptop bag or handbag on top while you’re queuing.

2. There’s a combination lock built in for added security but, sensibly, it has a Travel Sentry override function, too, meaning security authorities who carry special keys can inspect your luggage without destroying it should they need to.

3. Plus it has 10-year guarantee. Now that’s serious faith in a product's robust construction.

The metrics that matter
Luggage Emoji x 5
SizeWe checked all the main airlines’ maximum carry-on restrictions and this beauty is within the dimensions allowed for all of them (although Ryanair will charge you extra for a Priority booking).
Weightlifting Emoji x 5
WeightIt is featherlight despite having a robust handle and four wheels for max manoeuvrability – critical when you need to pack light.
Padlock Emoji x 5
SecurityWith its combination lock, Travel Sentry system and unmissable yellow hue, you can rest easy if you do have to check it in.

Is it worth it?

Since you ask, yes, absolutely – and it’s not just me that thinks it’s flawless. The small Orlando case has earned 25 four- and five-star reviews from impressed John Lewis customers. Plus, with its 10-year guarantee, it’ll outlast your actual passport. Bon voyage.

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