Consumer Reports rates popular luggage brands

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Shirleen Allicot has more. (WABC)

With vacation season in full swing, many people could be thinking about buying new luggage. Consumer Reports surveyed thousands of its subscribers to identify common luggage problems and the best luggage brands.

Checked bags can get tossed around a lot during travel, so it's no surprise that Consumer Reports found durability is a top concern for 62 percent of those surveyed. Store manager Sal Carino says his 30 years selling luggage confirms that.

"Nothing is worse than getting a piece of luggage either you carry it on or check it in and it falls apart," Carino said.

Broken zippers and damaged fabric are problems for about 10 percent of the survey respondents.

People also want luggage that's easy to handle. Consumer Reports found people with four wheel suitcases are much happier than those who used one with just two wheels.

Which brand is the best? Based on a survey of more than 3,400 subscribers, Consumer Reports rated 10 brands.

"People were not as happy with some of the biggest names in luggage," Consumer Reports' Nikhil Hutheesing said. "American Tourister and Samsonite fell near the bottom of the list."

Among the best brands were Eagle Creek and Briggs and Riley. Costco's Kirkland brand and Tumi are also good. All got high marks in every category ranging from durability to appearance.

"No matter what bag you ultimately buy, check the size and weight limits on the airline you'll fly," Hutheesing said.

To make sure your carry-on bag isn't too big, be sure to measure it in the store. You can't always go by the tag. For example, one Victorinox was labeled as being 22 inches high, but it's actually 23 and a half. On several popular airlines, that extra inch and a half could mean you can't carry it on and might have to pay a fee to check the bag.

"There's no such thing as a standard size for carry-ons," said Inara de Leon, a consultant at Consumer Reports.

Every U.S. airline has its own rules. However, American, Delta and United/U.S. Airways have settled on a uniform size for now. It's 22 inches high by 9 inches deep and 14 inches wide.

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