The Samsonite F'lite 30" suitcase has some unique features that set it apart from just about every piece of baggage out there. The question is, do these features matter to you?
First of all, it does not have a zipper closure. This is the feature that matters most to me. I travel overseas a lot. Certain airports (and I won't say which ones) are known for having baggage broken into. A zipper is an invitation for some baggage handler to whip out a blade and cut into your bag, rendering it useless until the airline pays for your replacement. This is a problem I can do without. They aren't going to do that with this one. I can say--knock on wood--that after some 25 years of extensive international travel, I have never had a lockable, non-zippered hardshell bag broken into. Most of my friends haven't been so fortunate. The bag has a TSA-openable combination lock. Can't do anything about that--either it has to have a TSA lock, or you have to leave it unlocked.
Secondly, it is built to Samsonite quality. It's a tough bag with 3 secure closures.
Third, it's large. It's right at the size limit of 62 linear inches. So you can bring a lot of stuff. The only thing you have to worry about is the weight limit (usually 50 lbs). The bag itself is one of the lightest in this size class, weighing only 10 lbs. If that's more volume than you need, you can step down to the 28" F'light bag--slightly less expensive, and one lb less in weight. I prefer the larger size, personally, for those times when my wife wants to pack lots of--you guessed it--shoes.
And, the two roller wheels are large and sturdy. Being recessed into the body of the bag rather than sticking out the bottom as they are on spinner bags, they are less likely to get damaged.
I am finding some criticism of this bag in terms of its lack of maneuverability hard to understand. The fact is--and I know from trying it--that it has two handles for moving it around. The one on the side is pretty obvious, and is mainly useful for pulling it off of the baggage carousel. The collapsible handle on top, when collapsed, can be used to maneuver the bag as well, so you can get it on its bottom rollers without difficulty. At least, without difficulty for a bag this size.
Now, it's not a spinner--meaning that you can roll it in one direction only, and that is along its widest side. So, you can't roll it down airplane aisles or through barriers on the passenger side of airports. So what? This isn't a carry-on due to its size. This is strictly checked baggage, meaning that you will rarely if ever have the need to work it through some narrow space the other side of check-in. It's sometimes a bit of a tight fit in the car park, but this hasn't been a major issue. The bag is about as wide as my shoulders.
In sum-- large, hard to break into, of Samsonite durability with a 10-year warranty to match, and at a reasonable price. If these are the features that you are looking for, I don't think you'll find a better bag.
on August 22, 2010
I needed a piece of "hard" luggage as I was going to fly and need to transport a firearm and I wanted the maximum protection. In case you don't know it, any "zippered" luggage can be broken into with a ballpoint pen and you would never know it.
Well, this luggage arrived and let me tell you it is BIG! Lots of room. My only concern was the locks. My only past experience with hard luggage was when we got married years ago we bought the old style Samsonite luggage. That stuff had a metal frame and keyed locks on the latches. This unit has no metal frame and the latches ( all three of them) are mostly plastic. The middle latch has a combo lock and a TSA approved key slot. IMO it would be better if there was a way to attach a regular TSA padlock.
Well, this baby was loaded (no pun intended) and heavy. I was concerned but after two flights, this unit was tight! No problems.
Hard luggage is hard to find and I'm glad Samsonite is making this model. You can buy it with confidence.
on August 6, 2012
This, in my opinion, is the best luggage deal on the market. It has no frills (even though they list some features). It is tough - made of a flexible yet stout plastic resin of some sort. It is easily cleaned out and does not retain odor.
I purchased the previous model of this bag (case) 8 years ago for my first journey to Africa. Since that time, I have been back and forth NUMEROUS times to Europe (3 countries) , Africa (9 countries), Latin America (5 countries), and Asia (1 country) as well as throughout the U.S. My original bag is still going strong. FINALLY, I had to replace 4 bolts...which I easily did myself... and it has made 2 more trips to the dark continent since then.
So, on my most recent trip, when I took my oldest daughter along, it was the logical choice to purchase one more for her. They have changed the design a bit, (and I like the new handle design better... it fits deeper into the bag, protecting it further) but it is still the simple strong box it was designed to be.
* Piano hinge down one side is sturdy.
* Latches - 3 latches are strong, and now are TSA compliant for locks. ANY zippered bag is easily overcome by jabbing a ballpoint pen into the zipper, causing it to separate. I can lock semi-valuables inside my bag in my hotel room with reasonable confidence.
* Plastic exterior - If you think your soft-sided bag will really protect what is inside, you simply do not understand physics. I have brought back fragile items (wrapped in a towel) and they have survived the airlines best efforts. My old one has gouges from various airline incidences... never gave up.
* Plastic interior - Plastic does not absorb scent or moisture. If anything spills in your bag, OR, if you are stuck with wet clothes just before you depart on your last leg of your journey, you will be grateful for this. Soft linings absorb both scent and moisture - and they are a pain to wash. This case is SIMPLE to wash out with soap and water, should the need ever arise.
* Dust seal - While, it does not seal out water completely, I have never had dust or water get inside my case. Let me be clear - on my last trip, my bag spent a total of over 50 hours exposed to the elements (in the back of a pickup or on top of a local bus) on dusty dirt and rough roads, etc.
* Overlapping closure - The case actually has a sort of tongue & groove closure to make sure it does not come open due to pressure from the inside.
* Wheels are STRONG - I have the 2-wheel version and these wheels have been drug through dust, over gravel, down stairs, etc., etc., etc. No problems. When I received the bag, I was concerned since they seemed a bit loose and didn't have the feel of a sealed-bearing rollerblade-type wheel. I was wrong in my initial estimate. They have held up very nicely.
* Handle on top is strong - The handle slides down into the back of the case. It is safe and holds up well.
* Handle on side - The handle on the side is strong enough to carry the bag, even when it is completely full and well-loaded. It is spring-loaded to fold onto the side of the bag.
* It is rigid... therefore, it will not collapse to become smaller (but I store other stuff in it to make space at home).
If you want a bag that is impressive to your rich friends with a name-brand something or other, then choose a different bag [and what in the world are you doing shopping on Amazon?!?! If you want to look like a high-roller... then roll high - shop at some store known for its prestige and maybe valet parking!]
If you want a bag that protects the contents, stays looking reasonably presentable, is easily cleaned in the event of a problem, and is amazingly durable - then GET THIS BAG! It will take almost anything you dish out and show up for work the next day.
I don't know of another one on the market that competes with it. If you find one, please put a comment on this as I will probably need to buy my wife one in the next 12 months for another adventure!
on May 16, 2011
As a Flight Attendant and an avid supporter of Samsonite hardcases for the last 20 years, this is not their best thought out design. I bought it with considerations for terrain outside of airports (bigger wheels so they don't get gnarled up in the snow and grit) and just assumed the rest was tried and tested by Samsonite. The rest being..ability to get to the airport, by train or bus. This (31") is not designed to be manouvered in any way other than its upright pulling position, it does not fit down the aisles of buses, cannot be manouvered easily through restricting barrier entrances to trains/airports, it's back breaking and not condusive to manual handling due to twisting and lifting at the same time. There is only one handle to do any lifting of the luggage, putting all weight on one side of the body.
So, Samsonite, it could do with another handle on the side for lifting, and the ability to swivel so it can fit through slimmer spaces than its full width, the rest of the case is just as I would expect of Samsonite's high standards, hard wearing, durable, light as can be and no frills.
on March 22, 2013
I have always been a Samsonite hardside luggage fan, and this product fulfill my expectations. It is very good, not perfect, but very good and very good value for the money.
First of all, you must understand that this is full hard luggage. Most travellers seem to prefer soft luggage now, so variety is not big in this product line. As a matter of fact, this is the only full hardside line among all Samsonite models. In my case, I strongly believe that hardside is much more less prone to break in, a frequent problem in many airports. Zippers are very easy to open.
Among the hardside luggage, this model is a winner. It is big, just slighty smaller than the maximum allows by most airlines, which is 62 inches. If you fully pack it, you will almost surely exceed the maximum weight, so this model is more to carry large items with not so much weight. If you don't carry large items, it has a smaller sibling that is much more easy to manouver.
The construction is good. I would like the handles to be a bit more sturdy. I have not had any problem with them but it is just a wish. The interior is very plain, clear. With the maximum weight getting lower and lower, manufacturers have to sacrify luxury for lightness. Be advise that is large, and due to the limitations hardside luggage always has, it is not the most easy to maneuver. For small women, elderly and similar, it may be too big o too difficult to carry. I don't recommend it in these cases.
Also, it has a TSA lock. Being a flyer also outside US, it would have been great if, as optional, it also had commom security locks, making break in more difficult.
Overall, if you like hardside luggage, really you don't have too many options. This one is one of the best for long trips. If you are not carrying large items, though, have a look also to the smaller model, which is the same design but easier to carry.
on December 18, 2013
The Samsonite hard-plastic suitcases are the best in the world. I now own three. If you fly international and don't want your contents smushed, you need this rugged hard-plastic suitcase.
This is not as light as the frail thin-skinned (allegedly) hardside luggage. But it isn't heavy either. Let's say that it's reasonably light.
The quality of the fittings is questionable. The side handle (the retracting spring on one of mine broke almost immediately), and the integral TSA lock has a very cheap feel to it. For the price, Samsonite could certainly do better.
The 2-wheeled GT30 upright is just under the 62 linear inch limit. But beware the 4-wheeled GT31 spinner, because it is over the 62 linear inch limit and airlines may charge you an oversize baggage fee.
I don't mind that this product is made in India. The real problem I have with Samsonite is that the company does not sell their full range of hard plastic luggage in the US market. Everywhere else in the world - but not the United States. I recently told Samsonite that I also needed their hard-plastic luggage in medium and carry-on sizes, and was blown off.
In the global market, the F-Lite is known as the Samsonite "Aeris Comfort", and is available as a 2-wheeled "Upright" and a 4-wheeled "Spinner". They are available in a FULL range of sizes, and the are impressive. But, Samsonite doesn't want to sell it to US customers. I suppose they have all the luggage business they can handle and don't want to sell more (sarcasm, on my part).
I often max out weight wise before my GT30s are full, so I wanted to buy a 25", 26" or 29" Aeris Upright (F'Lite), or a 26" or 28" Aeris Spinner. But Samsonite won't sell these medium sizes (or carry-on sizes) of their hard-plastic luggage range to US customers.
on November 10, 2012
Bought this luggage because I was searching for a substantial/secure Hardside suitcase. ( one without a zipper center) well, this was the only 1 I could find, so in that respect it was what I wanted. HOWEVER- beware- the wheels are in-line: only move backward & forward- makes maneuvering this large piece very difficult/cumbersome! As well, it is rather odd shaped- not rectangular like most- but wider at one end than the other with only one handle to lift it (vs two on most pieces of large luggage - no handle on top side) It was EXTREMELY difficult to handle (only weighed 38 lbs) Awkward , bulky. I would not recommend this item, nor would I purchase it again. That said- on the 1 trip I've used it- it survived air transport w/no problems- just a few minor scrapes.
on January 24, 2014
I was looking for a quality suitcase with no zippers and not a spinner. This Suitcase fit the bill. I have traveled all over the world and had soft sided zippered luggage and I wish I would of had this instead of what I had. I did not know any better when I did all of that traveling before with my job. Now I am going to travel again as I am retired. I am going to be putting valuable items inside because you are limited to what you van carry on and I do not want to mess with a large carry on bag. Just my computer and a change of clothes in case my luggage gets lost. I like that it has a built in lock even though it has the TSA key so it can be opened and inspected. It is safer than a zipper. It is a large bag so you need to be careful when packing.,I think the weight limit is 50 pounds and the suitcase weigh 10 pounds so 40 pounds ads up quickly. The other great thing about this item is the saving you get by purchasing it from Amazon. You save over $100.00 . I would recommend this item to anyone looking for a solid piece of luggage.
on January 13, 2014
I ordered an F'Lite 30" hard-shell suitcase.
When it arrived I followed the instructions for
setting my own personal 3-digit number on the
built-in combination locking latch.
After moving the setting lever as directed I
entered my own 3-digits and closed the lock.
Now it will not open using the new combination
I set into it.
I returned the F"Lite to Amazon as defective and
ordered a replacement. It just arrived, and, based
on my bad experience with the first lock, I decided
that I would not attempt to set my own personal 3-digit
combination but just leave the original factory set
combination of 0-0-0 as received.
After opening the lock to look inside the suitcase
I closed the lid and latched the lock. Now it will
not open with the un-touched / un-changed factory
combination of 0-0-0. I tried setting each digit in turn
to one number higher or lower thinking that maybe
one of the the numbers had drifted off by one, but
this did not help. So-- I will have to return this
2nd Samsonite F'Lite back as well. I am thinking
that it looks as if Samsonite needs to make a few
improvements in the design quality of their little
all plastic parts combination locks.
I am not very happy about my Samsonite combination
on February 17, 2012
If you want a no-frills roller with lots of capacity, this is the puppy for you. I had a fancier $500 Samsonite Graviton roller, but the airlines broke the wheel and there was no easy replacement. Click, click, this suitcase arrived in a couple days before my return trip home. I do not miss the high-tech shell or the satin lining of my other one. The only thing I wish this F'Lite had is a carry handle on TOP. The pull handle on top just does not work well for that, as it is not balanced on the center of gravity.