Any time you see a pilot or flight attendant rolling a suitcase through the airport, there’s a really good chance that bag was made by Travelpro.
And while the company makes a lot of consumer luggage as well, including some of our favorite bags around these parts, their highest-end offerings have been exclusively sold to flight crews, until now.
The limited edition Travelpro Crew Expert, while not quite the same bag that’s sold to pilots, is made from the exact same, high-quality materials. The difference is durability. Its corner guards are noticeably thicker than my own Crew 11 spinner, its extension handle has a lot less wobble, and its frame has no give to it at all. I even sat on it while it was empty, and it felt as sturdy as a church pew.
I honestly think I would trust this softsided Travelpro over my hardsided Away bag to transport something fragile, which is the highest possible praise I can give to a soft carry-on such as this.
Inside, you get one massive storage compartment (an advantage over the two smaller compartments inherent to hardsided suitcases), plus a thinner one on the inside of the lid, and a bunch of interior and exterior pockets. Most notably, it apes the eBags Fortis’ interior “butterfly” packing cube feature, which was our favorite part of that suitcase. Travelpro even included a translucent bag for your toiletries which you can either snap on the inside wall of the bag, or slide into a front pocket for easy TSA access.
Available in two sizes for a bit over $200 each, the Crew Expert is expensive by Travelpro standards, but reasonably priced compared to trendy brands that specialize in durable luggage. Sadly, the Crew Expert is rollaboard only, likely for durability reasons, so four-wheel spinner bag devotees will need to look elsewhere. It’s overkill for casual travelers (the ~$150 Crew 11 is still really great!), but for frequent business travelers who transport fragile equipment, this is the softside bag to beat.