This Is the Absolute Best Carry-on Suitcase for Frequent Fliers (Video)
At a preview event Travelpro hosted last fall, I test-wheeled what I thought was a totally empty suitcase. After slaloming it effortlessly around a few cones, I lifted it by the handle and was shocked to find it was packed full with no less than 20 pounds of weight. That’s how easy the Platinum Magna 2 21-inch Expandable Spinner Suiter is to navigate.
Perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised, though. Travelpro — the brand that developed the OG rollaboard suitcase in 1987 — knows luggage. It’s the choice brand of hundreds of airline crew members and a version of the suitcase I tested even earned a top spot in the carry-on category of our Ultimate Travel Essentials.
So what makes this suitcase's movement so seamless? To begin with, it’s already pretty lightweight for a soft-sided bag at just under eight pounds. But the real secret is in the wheels. As you’ll see demonstrated in the video, the four spinner wheels are each aligned with magnets — Travelpro calls this “MagnaTrac” — so that you don’t have to do any of the Jillian Michaels–level core work that's sometimes required to stabilize a bag while rolling it.
Though it looks a little bulky, the handle top is actually super comfortable to grip, both when you’re pulling it behind you and when it's rolling along at your side. It’s ergonomically contoured to the palm and intended to reduce strain on the wrist and arm. The handle itself has three height settings and is designed to withstand impact if it happens to be a little roughed up after a gate check, so it won’t get wobbly over time.
Tapered expansion is another feature that I would typically think nothing of but is actually super helpful in real-life application. With the majority of expandable suitcases I’ve owned, I know that opting to use that extra two inches of packing room dooms me to either constantly holding my luggage upright or leaning the front against something. Otherwise, it’s inevitably going to be toppling over and hitting small children on the subway (I’m still so, so sorry!).
A tapered design ensures the widest part of the expansion is at the bottom. This distributes the weight of your three extra just-in-case-I-need-these outfits toward the bottom of the bag, lowering the center of gravity to prevent it from tipping.
Inside, the packing system is just as helpful. It comes with a garment bag attachment to keep suits and dresses wrinkle-free. There’s a tie-down system and plenty of accessory pockets built in.
The bag generally retails for $300, and it's currently available at eBags, Zappos, and for as little as $210 on Amazon. It comes in four colors — black, olive green, gray, and marsala red — each with a coordinated leather trim. And if it already wasn't worth the investment, the Travelpro lifetime warranty even covers airline damage.