With every different airline setting their own limits to the dimensions of carry on luggage finding a “one size fits” all bag is well nigh impossible. Flylite claim they have the solution and offered me a bag to review. The package that arrived was much smaller than expected. The soft bag was wrapped up in itself. At least it would be easier to store than the three other cabin baggage sized bags I already possessed.
The first thing I noticed was the zips that appeared every where. I was sent a flight bag that could adapt to the many different dimensions set by different airlines for their carry on luggage. This was achieved by zipping or unzipping the different zips. Most suitcases can be expanded upwards to create more capacity but flylite takes this one step further by allowing you to unzip and expand the sides as well as the top – hence all the zips.
Some bags can take up as much as 60% of your baggage allowance so Flylite have also focused on keeping the weight of the bag down. The bag is made of a durable, lightweight material. My bag, before packing, weighed in at a shade under 2.3kg. They do have in their range a smaller bag that is only 1.6kg
On my last trip when I flew to Thessaloniki by British Airways and returned from Athens with Aegean Airlines both of which have different baggage dimensions I decided to road test the Flylite.
With the handy chart that comes with the bag I was able to determine which sections needed to remain zipped for the BA flight to Thessaloniki and begin my packing. My first mistake was to assume the zip round the outer edge was for access to the bag all it did was extend the depth dimensions. There was a further zip on the top which looked like it was a top-of-bag pocket. Instead it provided access to the inside of the bag. The opening was large and adequate for anything I needed to pack. I usually pack electronic equipment such as ipad or laptop and cameras in my carry-on along with a book or magazine and often a change or two of clothes. The bag was so spacious I was looking for a something else to pack inside to prevent it all rattling around. A little bit of movable compartmentalisation would be a great addition to the bag.
The bag comes with two straps that attach to clips that convert the bag into a backpack. This can be done in seconds. This made it ideal when carting a suitcase and dealing with coffee and passports all at the same time. Once checked in and suitcase free I converted back to a wheeled bag.
There is a zipped pocket on the front of the bag that looks just about large enough to take an ipad. Unfortunately the zipped opening is not quite wide enough for it to fit the ipad. It would take an ipad mini or a Samsung Galaxy but unfortunately I have an ipad. It would be a good idea to enlarge the pocket and zip a fraction to take the ipad as well. As it was my ipad was put inside the bag and passports and boarding cards in the outside pocket.
At the airport it easily passed the bag check. The wheels worked smoothly despite being dragged up curbs outside the terminal. Being well balanced it was stable on all surfaces encountered. Also when not pulling it along it stood without over balancing. The handles were easily extended and just as easily retracted minimising delays when boarding the aircraft. There is a handle on three sides which I found quite useful as the suitcase handle is invariably on the wrong side at the moment when I need to grab it in a hurry.
The return flight was with Aegean Airlines from Athens. Their restrictions on hand baggage are different dimensions to British Airways. It was a matter of 5cm in one direction. This was no problem with Flylite. All it required was zipping up one side to reduce the dimensions and a slight readjustment in packing. It too passed checks at Athens.
Despite a couple of niggles this is a bag I will continue to use. It is versatile and easy to use and very convenient when travelling with different airlines on one trip. No need to clutter up my storage at home with bags of different sizes; Flylite will do for all my trips.
My next adventure is a multi-airline trip to and around Australia. Flylite is coming with me.
For more details see: www.flylite.uk.com