I have used 5 different carry-on bags this year and have settled on the Tumi Alpha 2 Business Ballistic Carryon. Here is a rundown of what I like about it:
- It fits in any airplane overhead storage bin – USA and International – so long as it is not expanded (more on this, below). NOTE: to fit international overheads you must buy the international version (click the link at end of article).
- You can separate laptop/tablet (basically, anything that requires separate security check) by putting them in the front zippered pocket(s), as opposed to inside the bag.
- The second front, zippered pocket has two small bungee holders, which are great for passport and portable 2.5″ hard drive.
- Separate zippered compartment includes a divider system to protect suits and shirts from getting crumpled when folded inside bag.
- Expandable, if you need to put in more stuff than you set out with.
- Wheels swivel in all directions, so bag can be pushed in front of you, as well as being dragged behind (if necessary).
- More durable handle than previous versions and separate metal channel inside bag prevents handle from getting ‘stuck’ when bag is packed tightly.
The Tumi is close to perfect but I have a few niggles:
- When the bag is expanded, it won’t fit in the overhead compartment of certain planes. For example, it will only fit on a Southwest airplane if it isn’t expanded and you haven’t overstuffed the front pocket(s).
- When you put a full-sized laptop into the first front pocket, the remaining sleeve for tablets, etc, is shorter, so you will have trouble accommodating a large tablet, such as the big iPad Pro. You may end up having to use the second front pocket (although, it will only accommodate a small tablet).
- The front pockets share space with the inside zippered compartment of the bag, so if you overstuff either, you will have a bag-fight on your hands, trying to squeeze everything in. Ultimately, this will make it very difficult to take your electronics in and out of the front pocket for security.
These look similar BUT do not have the three zippered sections in the front, like mine does (in the video above). If you look closely, they only have two.