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Do Airlines Prefer Hard or Soft Luggage for Domestic/International Flights?

Do Airlines Prefer Both Soft and Hard Luggage

Different kinds of luggage, including soft and hard, can be carried by travelers for their air travel. At airports’ check-in counters, both types of bags are accepted. Air carriers allow travelers to bring these bags, depending on the weight/size, route taken, travel type, and other considerations. In relation to the same, it is crucial to be aware that carriers may have preferences for certain kinds of luggage and that their terms can change when transporting it. Also, some other factors can determine whether airlines prefer hard or soft luggage while traveling. For this, speaking with or knowing about the particular air operator is important in order to receive precise terms. 

Do Airlines Prefer Both Soft and Hard Luggage?

Generally, both soft and hard luggage types are preferable by airlines, based on different criteria. Whether the length of the flight is short or long is an important factor for the same. Also, the trip type plays a crucial role. On a lengthy or international flight, airlines may prefer hard baggage. Carrying soft bags is advised for domestic or short-haul flights. 

Why Do Some Airlines Prefer Soft Luggage for Domestic Travel?

For domestic travel, some airlines prefer soft luggage since it can collapse. As such, it can easily fit in the aircraft storage section. In relation to the same, airlines can accommodate a greater number of soft suitcases in the cargo/luggage hold. When space is available, they will eventually enable passengers to bring as much additional luggage as they need.

  • Due to the fabrication, soft luggage is lightweight, which is why airlines prefer it. 
  • Such bags are adjustable as well. 
  • They are suitable for overhead bins and space-constrained regions aboard planes. 
  • Additionally, soft luggage is readily moved around in a crowded environment. 
  • These bags have a strong layered shell that is water resistant too. 
  • In the case of soft luggage, the chances of scratches/damages are low. 

Why Don’t Some Airlines Allow Soft Luggage?

Not always may airlines prefer soft luggage for the journey. This is because of some drawbacks observed. For soft luggage, less security is observed, as locks are rarely included. 

  • Also, the soft sides of these bags make them less water resistant. 
  • The bags are not the best options for trips abroad because they are not very sturdy. 
  • It may be more difficult to clean such a bag, particularly when it is soiled during a trip by:
    • Liquids
    • Mud 
    • Or, other substances 

Why do Airlines Prefer Hard Luggage for International Travel?

Hard luggage is made of substantial materials, hence, most airlines prefer it for international and long-haul travel. Even when officials do not delicately handle these bags, usually, they do not break. 

  • Certain airlines prefer hard luggage for international travel as it is more durable and tough. 
  • It usually provides protection from specific weather conditions for fliers’ goods. 
  • These bags are more resilient as well. 
  • They are easy to clean, waterproof, and water-repellent too. 
  • Mostly, the luggage has a combination lock, certified by the TSA, for security. 

Why Don’t Some Airlines Allow Hard Luggage?

Though a few airlines permit fliers to bring hard bags, there may be certain carriers who impose some restrictions. A flier needs to be aware of these restrictions when he/she chooses to bring bags as this can have varying effects during check-in at an airport.

  • For these kinds of bags, less space is available in the luggage hold due to:
    • Inflexibility 
    • Rigid, firm, or hard surface
  • Hard luggage has a fixed frame, which makes it difficult to fit through narrow spaces. 
  • Due to its structure and the materials used, the luggage is frequently heavier. 
  • Hard-sided luggage may readily be scratched and scuffed during travel or when handled at the airport. 

In Essence, 

Airlines prefer both hard and soft luggage carried by travelers. While hard luggage is preferable for long-haul/international travel, soft bags are better for shorter/domestic trips. Moreover, an airline’s baggage policy terms may differ with regard to weight/size, travel type, and other factors.

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