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Best carry-on to bring on board

September 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many of the major airlines are charging major fees to check your luggage. The costs can be anywhere from $15 to $50 each bag. So if you're looking to get around those fees by stuffing everything into one carry-on, consumer experts can help you save money.Airline travel is more hectic than ever. And being charged for checked luggage has travelers jamming to get their one carry-on into the overhead.

Consumer Reports tested 12 carry-on suitcases to determine which is the best to bring onboard.

First word of caution: Size up a suitcase carefully.

"We found that four of the bags we tested were over the size limit for carry-on luggage for many major airlines," said Leslie Ware, Consumer Reports.

With a lot of the bags Consumer Reports evaluated, if you stuff the outside pockets, they'll be too big to carry on and you'll have to check them and pay the fees.

To test the bags' durability, Consumer Reports loaded each carry-on into its "tumbler machine."

After about 1,000 rotations, some bags were damaged. The first Kenneth Cole bag ripped in two places. The second one had a broken zipper. Only a third Kenneth Cole came out undamaged.

To see how easily each suitcase rolls, staffers pulled them over tiled floors and carpeted floors. Staffers also took the cases up and down stairs and through a zigzag course; something similar to weaving through a crowded airport.

"If you're looking for a good value, try the Delsey Helium Fusion. It cost us only $77 and was better than several bags that cost far more," said Ware.

In addition, unlike other suitcases, the Delsey also has inline skate wheels that go in one direction, which staffers preferred.


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