Q. Can you recommend a brand of “spinner” (i.e., four-wheeled) hard-sided luggage that can take the abuse of luggage handlers?
A. You may be interested to know that airline baggage handlers typically “toss” bags down the bellies of smaller jets such as the 757, 737, and Airbus 319, but they can “roll” four-wheeled bags down to the back, so those bags tend to get less wear and tear (on larger planes, bags are loaded in containers). So it’s not a bad idea to buy a spinner, and yes, hard-sided bags, although heavier, will protect your contents better than soft-sided ones. My favorite in this category is the Salsa line from Rimowa. They’re expensive, but very durable, and the best part is that any authorized dealer can make repairs to the wheels, locks and other parts on the spot without sending the bags back to the factory (they’re made in Germany). They also come with a five-year warranty. There are several copycats out there, for much less money, such as the Traveler’s Choice line. Both are made of tough and lightweight polycarbonate.