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on February 19, 2013
I researched, on the internet, what to look for when buying carry on luggage. Good wheels and proper size (21 inches which is one inch under the airlines standard) were two things that were stressed. I read the reviews on Amazon and choose this one because of the reviews and price point. We just came back from a trip and can rate this luggage as 5 stars--the wheels were smooth, 21 inch size was accurate, very roomy with a lot of pockets, and a bonus--a handle that was long enough for my 2 sons and husband who are all 6' 3". Don't look at any other carry on luggage. This is the one!
581 people found this helpful
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on July 20, 2013
I needed a new carry on bag and did a lot of research before purchasing this AT Splash 21. My #1 priority was a bag that would be accepted by airlines as a carry on and would truly fit in the overhead compartment. I usually fly USAir or United and their accepted carry on size (14" wide) is smaller than some airlines. My #2 priority was it had to hold a lot of stuff. I'm very happy with my purchase.

- Holds a lot of stuff for a carry on bag. More packable space than my last carry on.
- Fits well in overhead compartments and is only 14" wide (unlike some other 21" carry ons).
- Well balanced - does not tip over, even when fully packed
- Expands (although, will probably not fit in overhead when this zipper option is used)
- The price - under $50 - was great.
- The turquoise color is easy to spot
- The cover cleaned up well after my flights. After 4 flights and a spot cleaning, it still looks new.

The most important thing I learned researching carry ons is: all 21" bags are not the same size and not all airlines have the same requirements! I recently bought a Samsonite HiLite 21"carry on for my guy because he wanted a spinner (4 wheels) bag. It's nice and moves well but is too big for some overhead compartments and, technically, doesn't meet USAir & United carry on requirements because of the 15" width and the overall measurements. The height of the Samsonite HiLite 21" (as well as many other 21" bags) is really 23" - 23 1/2". The advertised measurements of most luggage are of the bag itself, not considering the handle and wheels. When you take into account spinner wheels, it often adds 2"+ to a piece of luggage. Although spinner wheels are great for larger bags, I found that I have no problem managing a small carry on with just two wheels. I'd rather have that extra space in my bag, not my wheels.

On our recent USAir/United flights, I was able to store my AT 21" in the overhead of all flights except on one small commuter plane where I valet checked it (no charge). My guy had to valet check his on all flights. The good news is (even though it technically was slightly larger than the USAir/United carry on limits) he was never required to check it and, therefore, didn't pay baggage fees.

Color of carry ons: My guy's gray Samsonite bag still looked great even after 4 valet checked flights. After one valet checked flight (and 3 overhead stowed flights), my AT turquoise bag had several black marks on the front cover and the bottom. However, a spray of an oxygen cleaner (from DollarTree) and a wipe with a cloth on each spot, cleaned the bagged perfectly. It looks new again. Neither bag shows any sign of wear.

How I would improve it, if I could:
- I would add compression straps like the Mother Lode TLS Mini Duffle to compress the whole bag, especially because of the several outside pockets. Since this didn't have those straps, I bought a good luggage belt and strapped it on tight. It held the pockets close to the bag and also helped in identification.
- I would have a smaller outer pocket to hold small things. The pockets on this are fine but I like having a short pocket so that I don't have to reach deep and hunt around for small things.

The other bag I strongly considered buying was ebags Mother Lode TLA Mini 21" wheeled duffle (~$170). It appears to be a great bag. Because I'm generally not a frequent traveler, I choose the AT 21 (~$49) bag based on price.
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on March 21, 2013
Every year my husband complains about me buying a new bag, and now that I have found this one he won't have to complain anymore. I've been searching for the perfect piece of luggage for years, and I believe I've finally found it.

I am an overweight woman, and as an overweight woman, my clothes need more material therefore taking up more space in a bag than a thin person. I mention this because I was able to fit one week's worth of clothing in this bag wearing something different everyday. I didn't have to enlist my children to sit on the bag so that I could zip it up.

I purchased a flat cosmetic case (B001AVEIY2) to place on top of my clothes. I also packed my nook, camera, phone, and the necessary cords and chargers. All fit inside. I didn't use the roomy, outside pockets on the trip up as I didn't need them. However, on the return home, I used the outside pockets to pack souvenirs. This caused the bag to topple over, so I leaned it against the wall when needed. I don't think I'd place my laptop in one of these outer pockets for fear of it getting damaged should the bag get knocked over.

The inside has two large pockets; both zippered, one mesh. I placed three pairs of shoes in the lower pocket, and various odds and ends in the top pocket.

The wheels are smooth which make the bag easy to push. There are two handles, one on top and one on the side for easy handling when picking it up. The bag got a bit dirty from its plane ride, but the dirt wiped right off.

I am so happy with this bag, that I'm going to purchase a second one and store it. That way, when this one gives out, I'll have its replacement ready to go.

Edit: this bag works fine for a summer vacation, however, for a winter vacation, I can not pack a week's worth of clothes in it. (boots, down jacket, bulky sweaters, sweatshirts etc. vs shorts, tanks) so, I have to take two when going to Alaska. :)
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on April 12, 2014
I purchased three of these suitcases for my family to go on an extended Italian holiday. We wanted something that is technically a carry on size b/c we would be travelling some by train and in cars and needed to be sure everyone could handle their own luggage and that it would be easy to transport. These were super priced. Packing was great b/c they are deep and have extendable pockets, which I liked better than the Ricardo suitcase my husband has of the same size (I would have bought three of those but they were not available when I purchased). 3 weeks, 3 train rides, 3 walks across cobblestones and bridges (of Venice), 2 plane rides, and 1 car ride in a hatchback and the they look worse for the wear. The wheels held up, which is great b/c they do take quite a beating on cobblestone, BUT ALL three bags are worn down to the frame on the corners. My husband's Ricardo 2 year old bag, which he travels 60% of the year all over the world, including walking across dusty road borders in Africa, shows no wear. I am bummed b/c these bags are great in their dimensions--and I am a big girl, and even 10 days worth of clothes, a pair of shoes, fleece jacket, and toiletries fit in the bag for me, but I doubt they will last another trip like this one without failing. At the price I purchased them for, I am ok with it but when it's time to buy another bag, I will not buy this brand.
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I was unfortunately lead by the numerous excellent reviews to believe that this product was a great buy. I purchased two of these carry on bags. After only one use, the zipper on the bag split open on one of them, and both bags were pretty severely stained after only being checked once each. They are an absolute mess.

There are actually too many zippered compartments if you believe that, especially on the front of the bag, making it bulge out to well beyond a typical carry-on size and also tip over constantly and wobble when wheeled. There are so many zippers on the front of this bag that it's easy to forget which one actually gets you to the interior of the bag!

The zipper pulls are infuriating. The zipper has a round eyelet, but it is fixed on a rectangular opening on the pull. The zipper pull is always getting stuck in the corner and never stays straight. You have to fiddle with it and straighten it 100% of every time. Very poor design with these zipper pulls, seemed easily avoided by matching round openings with other round openings instead of round with rectangular.

I'm stuck with mine because I waited too long to return it, but luckily we were able to return the one with the zipper that burst open after one use. I will now just see if I can get my $50 worth out of the thing before I get a new bag.

If you ever want to check this bag, I do NOT recommend it. If you ever want to use it more than a handful of times, I also do not recommend it. It might be good for road trips but not too much else. Also Scotch-gaurd it if you bought one and it's still fairly new. The staining is the worst and I only checked it ONE way on ONE flight.
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on December 12, 2017
After owning this piece of luggage for almost four years now, I figured it was time to write a review haha! I wish there were half stars, because I really feel like it's 2.5 stars. Overall, it is a decent value, but has some glaring faults that made my wife and I need to find a new piece of luggage.

- You can fit a lot into this thing, especially with all the pockets expanded
- It's pretty sturdy. It's held up fairly well over the past four years, especially for the price-point

- It tips over. A lot. No matter if it's heavy or light, full or fairly empty, it just doesn't stay upright, which is a huge pain.
- While the fact that you can fit a lot into it is a positive, it's also a negative because even when it's not full at all, it just *looks* large, and so it gets flagged for gate check pretty much every time we fly.

At the end of the day, it's a decent piece of luggage if you don't mind getting gate checked, but if you're looking for something that you can guarantee will be allowed as a carry-on, look elsewhere.
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on August 4, 2014
I am a frequent flyer, no doubt. I bought this bag in a pinch because of the good reviews and good price. I don't expect this to perform like a $200 bag, but I did expect the zippers to stay on. Well, I guess I expected too much because all but 2 of the zippers fell off on my last trip. It is terribly difficult to open this suitcase without zippers. You have to drag the nub slowly. And as you do that, it stabs underneath your fingernail. Not a fun experience. So, after I got home last time, as I unpacked, I had to find a pair of pliers and clamp down the remaining zippers. I considered putting zip ties on the nubs, but I am too embarrassed to be seen by my colleagues with zip tie luggage. I chose this bright turquoise color to match some existing luggage. That too was a mistake. After the first trip, it came back all black and marked with lines of grease and dirt. I don't want black or blue luggage because everyone else has that. So beware of your color choice. I should have tried scotch guard, but didn't and now it's too late. The one great thing about this bag is that the handle works like a charm every single time. It slides and retracts so easily. I also had no problem with the gripping handles or interior. The bag itself has a lot of room. I manage to pack 50 pounds in it every time. So, capacity gets a 5 star, but durability gets the 1 star.
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on March 29, 2018
I'll start this review by saying that in my experience airlines destroy anything they come in contact with. The luggage itself is fairly decent, though made in China and delivered in the box it came in on. As carry on grade stuff goes, it has about the largest capacity that still fits in an overhead compartment.
It also has a couple weak spots, major and minor. The minor issue is that if you do have to check it, the zippers are big and prone to catch and be torn off if baggage handlers get their hands on it. The major issue in my experience is that the wheels are fragile and tend to have their outer layer break down and jam the wheel housing, if you've got a good bit of weight in the thing and use it on the streets a lot. If that happens, best bet is to cut the split outer layer off and run on the inner wheel, though at that point you are living on borrowed time because the inner wheel will self destruct even sooner than the outer wheel.

So - winner for capacity, the zippers are a potential issue, and if you carry a good deal of weight, when mileage accumulates the wheels come apart on you. Still, I keep replacing it because it's about the best I've found so far...
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on September 5, 2015
I purchased this with intents on it fitting in the overhead storage bin on the plane, and on the way TO my destination it fit! (SouthWest) However, on the way back (still SouthWest) I got put onto a smaller plane, I guess? The top part was definitely too bulgy to fit. I think part of it was how stuffed the bag itself was, but even if it was less filled I'm not too sure it'd fit.

Otherwise, the bag itself is great. Luggage tag container is on the back of the bag, many pockets allowed for great organization and it's amazingly DEEP in the main storage section of the bag. I was amazed when I opened it up at how much space it had. There are straps inside to keep your luggage in place, and even more pockets inside the main one. Love the color, it's every bit as vibrant as it is on the screen (I got mine in blue!) and the handle/wheels worked fantastically. My only wish is that the handle on the bag itself was a liiiiittle longer when extended. I'm 5'9'' and it felt just the tiniest bit short.
2 people found this helpful
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on August 17, 2014
I wanted to give this a 5 star review, but after using it on a recent trip, I realize there's a design element I don't like. The zipper pulls are squared where they attach to the slider, probably to give them a more modern look. Unfortunately the square design means that when the pulls fall to the side, as they're wont to do, they don't always line back up with the slides. If the pulls end up perpendicular to the slides, the square bottom edges of the pulls get caught and it takes a two-part movement to get them to line up with the slides again. It sounds picky, but it becomes annoying when packing and unpacking and having to manipulate the pulls to open and close the zippers properly.

Other than that little complaint, the bag is good. I had no problem carrying it onto an AA flight, although technically they could have made me check it since it's .5" wider than their current size limit. I was able to pack for a week's vacation in the bag without stuffing or straining it. It definitely stands on its own, even when it's expanded and completely full. I'm 6'0" and the telescoping handle was a good length for me. The top and side carry handles are easy on the hands.

I can't yet speak to the quality after only one trip, but so far I'm happy with the bag, other than the annoying zipper pulls.
4 people found this helpful
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