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Flying for the holidays? You'll need a good carry-on bag

Posted September 29, 2014

Size matters, especially when it comes to carry-on bags.

The key is that it must fit in the overhead bin. A bag that’s 22 inches high by 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep is fine for most carriers, but some airlines will give a few more inches, said Nikhil Hutheesing with Consumer Reports.

Exterior pouches can push a bag past the size limit and could throw your bag off balance.

Another factor to consider – the wheels.

"Spinner" bags have four wheels and maneuver easily in crowded airports and plane aisles. They can be pushed, which takes the stress off the shoulders and elbows.

"Spinner wheels are vulnerable to breaking off, so make sure they're attached with screws instead of rivets," Huthessing said.

Those who prefer dual wheels should make sure they’re set far apart, otherwise the user could lose control of their bag.

Before purchasing a bag, open the handle all the way and shake it. It should be firmly attached with no wiggling or rattling while pulled.

Many bags come with a lifetime warranty, but check the fine print - there are often exclusions for airline damage and wear and tear.

One more thing – the zipper. A cheap one will render a bag useless.

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  • Ted DeBord Sep 30, 2014
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    Disappointed there are no best buys mentioned. I assume Consumer Reports did ample testing on several products. Otherwise, good purchasing tips. Thanks.