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Cabin weight-saver
November 9th, 2010 by jason

Astonishingly, nine out of every ten Brits holidaying in Spain this year will have got there on a no-frills airline like easyjet or Ryanair. The percentage for most other European destinations isn’t far behind. And with the budget airlines’ charge for checking in a suitcase ever rising, an increasing number of holidaymakers are taking just what will fit into a cabin bag with maximum dimensions of 55x40x20cm. Ryanair also imposes a 10kg weight limit whereas easyJet allows any weight ‘within reason’.

Ryanair has been especially tough on slightly oversize bags, sometimes creating lengthy departure gate queues as passengers with a cabin bag bulging beyond the max argue with staff then desperately extract enough to slim the bag.

If no-one has yet coined the phrase cabin bag anxiety, it’s time they did. But what the extortionate bag check-in charges do mean is that it’s worth investing in a cabin bag that makes the most of what you’re allowed. Luggage specialist Antler has come up a bag specifically designed for that purpose. It claims the Duolite is the lightest, most durable case it has ever produced. Combining a hybrid ABS and nylon material with a frameless construction, the Duolite is super lightweight, with the cabin case weighing in at just 2.1kg. With dimensions of 55x35x20, it meets most airlines’ cabin bag size limits (but always check before flying).

A weight of 2.1kg probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but we’ve been trying one out and the first thing everyone says is, “Isn’t it light?” The second is that  it nevertheless feels well made and strong in a high-tech sort of way, and the third is that it wheels along very easily. So although it has a recommended retail price of £89 (the lowest discounted price we saw online was £84), that could be a worthwhile investment. Our only reservation is that its width of 35cm is actually 5cm, or a couple of inches, less than most airlines allow, so you aren’t quite maximising the allowance. Having said that, the structure of the case intrudes very little into the internal space, which can also be expanded slightly by undoing a zip-fastened gusset extension to give a depth of 23cm if the airline isn’t being too strict. The bag has one zipped external pocket, and comes complete with a TSA padlock (which can be opened by security staff without having to break into the case).

For those trips where a cabin bag just isn’t enough, Antler does two matching suitcases of similar construction. The medium case (67x44x30/33cm) weighs 2.5kg, with a rrp of £105 and the large (74x49x33/36cm) weighs 2.9kg with a rrp of £109. With excess baggage charges of up to £40 per kilo, the two kilos or so saved compared with a typical case could almost pay for these cases, which all come with a 10-year warranty. Further details and stockists at www.antler.co.uk


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