Customer Reviews: Samsonite Lift Spinner 21 Inch Expandable Wheeled Luggage
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on March 14, 2013
I bought this luggage in the charcoal color after doing extensive research on different models, and after using it for over a year, I'm convinced I chose well. Here are 6 reasons why this luggage is awesome:

1. Lightweight - It seems like airlines just keep reducing their carry-on weight limits. Hence the need for the lightest carry-on luggage possible so I can pack more stuff without exceeding the weight limit. This piece is around 7 lbs when it’s empty, so it’s not the absolute lightest luggage on the market (the International Traveler IT-O-2 is about 3 lbs lighter), but it was the lightest one that met all my other criteria.

2. Easily maneuvered - I was initially skeptical of the spinner wheels, because they looked like they would break off easily, jutting out like that. I had only ever used luggage with recessed in-line wheels before, which I thought would always be more durable. But after a year of using this luggage, the wheels are still perfectly intact and I don’t think I could go back to using non-spinner luggage. Since it spins 360 degrees, it is just so easy to get the luggage to go where you want it to go, which is crucial when you have to swiftly squeeze into a crowded rush-hour train on the way to the airport and the only floor space left for your luggage is at a really awkward angle. It’s also much easier to get this through the center aisles of airplanes since you can roll it sideways.

3. Durable - I generally trust Samsonite to make good quality luggage that doesn’t fall apart. It may not have a Tumi warranty, but this one has held up for over a year of use and looks like it could go for at least 10 more. Zippers have never caught and have always moved smoothly. I particularly love the side grip handles which are built into the luggage itself, sewn into the corners. These handles aren’t coming off anytime soon! The luggage has a handle on the bottom end, too (3 handles in total: top, right, and bottom), so if you’re lifting the luggage to face up you can hold the luggage with both hands, which leads to less wear and tear on the top handle.

4. Color - I decided that I was never going to buy black luggage because it’s just too hard for me to spot it on a luggage carousel among all the millions of other black luggage at 2am, when my eyes are still bleary from jetlag. And even if I could, there’s no telling how many other jetlagged travelers might mistake it for their bag and bring it home with them. My dad used to tie these brightly colored ribbons on the handles of our old black luggage to make it easier to spot on the carousel...a good workaround if you have no other option but black luggage, but I find it so much easier to just not buy black luggage in the first place. I picked the charcoal color because I wanted it to look classy and not too girly, so my husband doesn’t mind being seen with it. I think this backfired on me though because now he likes to use my luggage more than his black one! Oh, and for those of you concerned about non-black luggage looking dirty, fear not---after much traveling I’ve only ever gotten a few small black smudges on it, and they were really easy to wipe off.

5. Beauty - This luggage definitely looks prettier than the IT-O-2 made by International Traveler, mainly because the exterior material of the IT-O-2 was wrinkly (like duffel bag material stretched over a luggage frame). I also didn’t like that the telescoping handle of the IT-O-2 was so wide (basically as wide as the luggage itself). I like securing some bags on top of my luggage by looping the strap (or the built-in luggage pass-through) around the telescoping handle, and I won’t be able to do that if the telescoping handle is too wide. The handle on this Samsonite is perfect.

6. Nesting Design - I have the matching 25" version of this luggage. This 21” nests inside the 25" one if you slip it in upside down (with the wheels of the 21" facing in the opposite direction of the wheels of the 25"). I like to wrap the 21" in a large plastic bag before nesting it so that any dirt on its wheels won't get inside my 25". This nesting feature is great when you have VERY limited storage space!

A quirk of this luggage is that the telescoping handle tends to stop midway while pulling it out or sliding it back in. It actually seems to lock into that position until you press the button and pull again to extend the handle farther. The handle has never gotten permanently stuck in that midway position, so I think the handle may have actually been designed that way. It’s a convenient level for your hand to be at when you’re pulling the luggage along on your side (using all four spinner wheels), since you don’t want your hand too high while doing so. This was surprising to me at first and I even thought it was a defect, because my old Delsey always slid out smoothly. But I’ve grown to like it.

I do have to say though that with regards to size, this luggage is on the larger end for a carry-on. As some other reviewers have pointed out, it can be difficult to fit this into an overhead cabin in a small plane if you’re putting it in wheels first--you may have to put the luggage in sideways (if there’s room), or have the flight attendant put it in the special closet up front if there really is no overhead space left. I’ve only encountered this once or twice, though, so it’s never really bothered me too much.

Other reviewers have complained that this bag tips over all the time. I personally have never had that problem. Perhaps Samsonite has fixed whatever was the issue.

Final word: BUY IT! You won’t be sorry. Buy the 25”, too.
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on February 16, 2012
I purchased the 21" Lift Spinner suitcase a few months ago & have used it on several trips. There is a manufacturing design defect that causes the suitcase to fall forward whenever it is packed. Clearly, the wheelbase on the 21" suitcase is too narrow to be functional.

When purchasing the item, this defect was not apparent as the suitcase was empty. So I chose this suitcase instead of another comparably priced 21" Samsonite (which my partner has and loves) that I initially planned on purchasing.

I have tried packing the suitcase w/ all of the heavy items at the bottom to no avail. It still tips over. Regardless, requiring such action on my part indicates that the suitcase design was either not tested properly (as the Samsonite warranty promises) or was not manufactured according to the tested specifications. I believe that this defect poses some danger as it may fall and injure a person (especially if the metal handle is extended).

Initially I was excited to have such a lightweight suitcase, but my excitement has transformed into utter frustration. Other reviews from Amazon indicate that I am not alone. I am requesting that Samsonite either replace the bag with one that does not fall or provide a refund.

This is my first review on Amazon. Thank you Samsonite!


UPDATE: Shortly after writing this review, I contacted Samsonite and requested that they replace the bag because of the manufacturing defect. The customer service rep responded in less than 24 hours, confirmed the defect, and offered to replace the bag with the redesigned Lift when it becomes available (She couldn't say when this would happen). Since I am not keen to wait indeterminately to resolve this matter, I requested that they just replace my faulty bag with one that I knew would not fall over all the time. Samsonite obliged and I await the arrival of my new bag.

"Thank you Samsonite!"

P.S. I'm keeping the one-star rating however, as the 21" Lift still sucks.
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on January 19, 2013
I bought this product in a rush and did not read reviews first. I'm glad because I probably would not have gotten it based on all of the complaints of it tipping over. I was surprised to find these reviews as this just wasn't an issue for me, and I had it packed to the brim with Christmas gifts. I suspect Samsonite has fixed whatever issue it had - I can't get it to be tippy no matter what I try.

This luggage is very light and very easy to handle. It steers with ease and generally makes travelling easier. I don't think the problems it had before are relevant anymore.
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on September 21, 2011
I went with Samsonite when purchasing a new piece of luggage because I wanted a product that would be stable and last years, I was very disappointed. I hassled with the luggage on my recent 17 day trip to France. I can't even begin to count the times I had to pick it up off the floor. If I had anything fragile it would have been broken considering how many times it fell over. The only time it would stand upright was if I was holding onto the handle. As soon as I let go of it to stop it would fall over. A couple times I had it fall into people or onto their luggage which was not what I was looking for when I purchased this product. What I thought was the perfect product is far from it.
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on September 12, 2011
I don't know why my new luggage is so easy to fall over.It can move smoothly,but if i want to let it stand on the ground ,it is so easy to fall over. I must move it backwards and forwards to adjust the position of four wheels,so it can stand with great reluctance.Maybe the distance between wheels is small,or the installation of the wheels is not correct.I don't know.
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on September 13, 2012
We have bought both the 25" and 21" models and we are very pleased with them. The purple color is attractive and stands out well on the baggage carousel. The luggage expands easily (it even has a red zipper for the expansion zipper, so that you aren't confused with the ones that open the luggage). We have not had a problem with luggage tipping over, as reported elsewhere in these reviews. All it seems to take to achieve this is to pack the bag with heavier items (shoes, toilet kits, etc.) on the bottom. We will be buying an extra 21" bag because that gives each my wife and I our own carry-on. The one complaint I have is the 21" bag has to stored sideways in an overhead compartment in most aircraft, it's too long by about an inch to slide it in with handle facing outwards and therefore takes up more space.
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on October 25, 2013
I bought this for our trip to Europe and boy, is it sturdy! This bag handled 3 weeks of being dragged over miles of cobblestone streets, multiple flights, being pulled into trains, and repeatedly being stuffed full. I was amazed that the spinner wheels handled so much abuse on very rough streets and sidewalks without any damage at all. Like another reviewer said, we packed our heaviest items in the bottom closest to the wheels and didn't put anything heavy in the outer pockets. This way it didn't fall forward.

I also love that there's one 2/3 sized pocket plus a full sized outer pocket for our documents and folders. The telescope handle held up well at multiple heights, also being used to pull up on the suitcase and being pushed along. Back at home, all this suitcase needed was a wiping off and it looks nearly new still. The charcoal is a beautiful, classy-looking color. I recommend you spray Scotchguard all over the outside because it rained on and off during our trip and everything stayed dry this way. I will recommend this bag to anyone looking for a new suitcase.

This 21 inch spinner suitcase can be brought on U.S. flights as a carry-on, but be careful because some budget airlines in Europe might consider it a check-in only because the wheels add another couple inches.
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on October 25, 2011
This carry on is the worst piece of luggage I have ever seen. It will NOT stand on its own unless you maneuver the wheels into a very specific position. That's even when its empty. DO NOT BUY THIS ITEM. It falls over without even touching it. I purchased this and used it for one trip, and I almost tossed it in the airport. If I would have found another spinner in the airport to purchased this one would have ended up in the trash bin at Newark Airport!
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on March 2, 2014
We purchased this specifically because the measurements were within the hand carry-on limits of domestic and international airlines. We used a few times with no issues, but recently have been asked to confirm measurements (and then pay to check the bag). It ends out the measurements provided on the site does not include the wheels. Once those are added it the suitcase becomes 1 inch to tall to fit in the 'boxes" provided at the TSA and airport check-in lines. Now it is pretty much useless as a carry on as all the airlines start to crack down on any bags even close to the limit. Otherwise it is a fine bag. A bit unstable as others mention, but light.
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on January 24, 2014
I'll start by saying I returned it. I returned it because despite the 21 in listed, by the time you added wheels and measured carefully it was almost 24.5. There was no way this would pass the stringent standards of international cabin bags & I wanted a roller that can work in the US and abroad. Hence the biggish part of my comment. If you fly the larger jets within continental US only or don't mind using this as a very small piece of checked bag then this is a beautiful piece, very sturdy and well made, solid construction and delightfully lightweight that can hold a lot. Just watch out for its propensity to tip over when full. Easily countered by putting your heavy objects (like bulky boots, camera equipment, dumbbells) at the bottom and packing lighter things towards the top to solve the issue. I'd give it 3 & 1/2 stars if I could because of the size issue most of all and the slight annoyance of having to remember to pack heavier things at the bottom.
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