We all want light cabin luggage since it means we can pack more things into our carry-on luggage. The Aerolite super lightweight cabin suitcase is one of the lightest suitcases in its range – almost the same weight as an iPad.
Apparently the suitcase can even be lifted with one finger but surely the build quality can’t be that good if that’s the case? Read on to find out the answer and discover just how light this cabin suitcase really is.
At A Glance
- 10 Year Warranty: Covers manufacturing faults and defects.
- Lockable Zipped Compartments: Each zipped compartment can be locked with a padlock.
- Finger Light: Allows you to pack more items into the suitcase.
- Trolley System: Features an extendable handle that can be adjusted to 2 different heights.
- Free Combination Padlock: Useful if you’ve bought the suitcase last minute!
- Excellent Value: One of the best value suitcases on the market.
- Only has two wheels which is sometimes difficult to manoeuvre
Design & Construction
Constructed from 600 denier polyester ripstop material, the suitcase should be strong and durable. There’s nothing interesting about its appearance – just a grid like pattern on the fabric and the small brand logo on the front.
Available Colours & Sizes
In the Aerolite super lightweight suitcase range, there are several sizes available – 18”, 21”, 26”, 29” and 32”. Colours offered vary for each size but these include pink, red, black, blue, aqua and maroon. Some of the sizes can be colour matched.
I have the blue 18” cabin suitcase which measures 50x40x20 cm. It’s a super light suitcase weighing at only 1.6kg so it gives me the option to pack in more things.
The weight of the suitcase is described as ‘finger light’ (I think it means when it’s empty!). I was able to lift the suitcase with one finger without much strain – not that I would be carrying it with one finger.
At the bottom of the suitcase, there are two black wheels attached to the plastic casing that’s fixed on to reinforce and protect the corners of the Aerolite case. Two thick plastic stoppers are attached opposite the wheels which help the suitcase to balance when upright.
The wheels are made of rubber so it wheels along pretty smoothly. It’s not as noisy as other suitcases I have when I’m pulling it along stone pavements.
The light suitcase can be carried by either of its two padded carry handles. There’s one on the top and another on the side. Both handles are stitched down and fairly wide which makes it easier for bigger hands to carry as well. There are two metal buttons with the Aerolite logo embedded in to hold the top handle down.
Upon opening the zipped pouch at the top of the suitcase, the aluminium telescopic handle is revealed. I like that the handle can be hidden away when not in use as it gives a neater appearance. The handle can be locked to two adjustable heights to allow you to pull the suitcase along by its two wheels.
To extend the handle to the first height – 70cm, the button is pushed once and then pulled until it clicks. Hold down the button if you want to extend to the full height – 100cm.
The Small Details
On the right side of the Aerolite suitcase, there are two plastic stoppers. These help to keep the suitcase balanced and upright when it’s put down on this side.
There’s an address label on the back of the suitcase. Another two metal buttons with the brand logo is embedded in just above the label.
Easy to Grip Zips
Each of the zips on this lightweight suitcase is large with a hollowed middle. There’s a plastic lining surrounding the inside of the hollowed middle making the zips easy to grip. The zips in the main compartment are lockable with a padlock. Conveniently, a free combination padlock comes with the suitcase.
For the zips to each external pocket, these are also lockable because of the plastic loop that has been stitched next to each pocket. Rarely any cabin suitcases have this feature which is what sets this Aerolite suitcase apart from the rest.
External Quick Stash Pockets
At the front of this cabin suitcase, there are two zipped pockets ideal for storing easily accessible items such as liquids for the airport security check or your wallet. The top pocket is slightly smaller measuring at 10×26 cm. With the bottom pocket measuring at 16×26 cm, it’s a reasonably good size.
Inside the main compartment, there are two separate adjustable straps with a clip buckle to hold my items in place. These straps are looped through the polyester fabric lining of the compartment. The cut in the fabric is quite big so it’s not fiddly to pull the straps up through it.
However, they do keep falling underneath the lining. For ease of cleaning, the fabric lining can be unzipped in the middle to be wiped clean.
For a small lightweight suitcase, it’s enough room for a short trip – perhaps for about 3 to 5 days depending on the season and destination. I’ve used mine as carry-on luggage for extra storage space on a long holiday and for short beach holidays.
For the suitcases in 26” upwards, the main compartment is expandable. Many other lightweight suitcases in these sizes are also expandable but the Aerolite suitcases weigh lighter than most of them.
Under the flap of the open compartment, there is one large zipped internal pocket made of a net fabric. It’s nearly the same size as the suitcase so it’s ideal for storing toiletries here.
Comfort & Convenience
Using It As Carry-On Luggage
Being the smallest size available in the Aerolite super lightweight suitcases range, my 18” cabin suitcase is approved for many airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and Flybe.
The size is too big for some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic – according to the hand luggage dimensions given on their website. However, some people were able to take the cabin suitcase on board.
Since the weight is so light, this gives me the option to pack more in. It’s great to use on short haul flights if you don’t want to pay for your luggage to be checked in.
How Easy Is It To Wheel?
Pulling this lightweight cabin luggage on its two wheels by the extending handle was easy enough because of the small size so it didn’t really get in my way. However, for some people, the extended height of the handle was too short. This wasn’t a problem for me – probably as I’m on the shorter end.
I found the telescopic handle to be a bit fiddly as I couldn’t get it to lock in place at each height. I had to stop a few times when I was pulling the suitcase along to correct this.
Carrying the Aerolite suitcase by the carry handles was quite easy due to the wide gap of the handle and its small size. I have another small lightweight suitcase which isn’t as comfortable to carry as the handle gap is quite narrow.
Using The Front Pockets
Having two external pockets is great for storing my smaller items but neither of the pockets is able to fit a magazine in so I had to put mine in the main compartment. It was a hassle doing this because my magazine kept getting caught onto clothing when I tried to quickly stuff it in.
Is It Hard Wearing?
The structure of the case is pretty thin as there’s only plastic casing lining the top and bottom. The sides easily bulges out when the suitcase is overfilled making it hard to zip up the main compartment. I have doubts that the suitcase will last for many years’ worth of trips which explains the generous 10 year warranty offered.
It seems the bigger Aerolite cases are not as durable because people with the big sizes have had tears, broken handles and dents – all due to rough baggage handling with checked in luggage.
Although the manufacturers offer a 10 year warranty, this unfortunately doesn’t cover damages from airport baggage handling.
If you’re worried about a suitcase’s durability, then you may want to consider getting a solid hard shell suitcase instead.
Underneath The Zipped Lining
So far, this cabin sized suitcase has lasted 6 trips and I’ve had no problems besides the extending handle. This feels quite flimsy to me as it’s loose when extended. When you unzip the lining in the main compartment, you can see the structure of the suitcase and the handle. There’s nothing to suggest sturdiness or durability.
Probably would have been a good idea for Aerolite to put a board to cover the handle structure beneath. The lining is really thin and I can imagine it will tear easily.
Final Thoughts on the Aerolite 9980 Series Lightweight Suitcase
The Aerolite super lightweight suitcases are lighter than other well-known brands. It’s ideal for when you need as much spare weight as you can get.
The cabin suitcases are worth getting as it should last a while but the bigger sizes probably won’t last due to the rigorous baggage handling. For the price this Aerolite cabin case is sold at, it’s cheaper than other more popular light suitcases.
As not everyone likes two wheeled suitcases, the super lightweight suitcases are also available in a 4 wheel and 8 wheel option.