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Well, before our latest trip to disney, I wouldn't have given this question much thought and would have said it is purely preference...well, how wrong that is. We were scheduled to fly out of MCO on Sunday, January 22. However, that didn't happen. After several delays and finally cancellations of most flights because of severe weather, hail, wind, and tornadoes, I can tell you it does matter. My mother came with us and she swears by soft sided luggage. I tend to,prefer hard sided spinners. Well, after our cancellation and we made it to the hotel to open our suitcases, my son and I had dry clothes, my mother did NOT! I had a damp spot or two with an item that was up against a zipper. But my mother's soft sided luggage was soaked. Everything inside was soaked. She had to throw some items out, like her pillow that she packs and some make up and other items. As soon as we got home, she threw out the old soft sided luggage and said she would never buy one again. We travel a lot and have never run into this problem before, but now that we have, we have learned a very valuable lesson...when it is down pouring buckets of rain your luggage WILL GET WET. Her clothes were so wet that when we checked in the first day with dry luggage, she was under the 50 pounds. The next day she wasn't, but they let it go because she kept her luggage ticket attached and they saw it was under weight the day before.
I always line my soft sided luggage with plastic kitchen garbage bags, one on top and bottom. While I'm on trip they serve as laundry bags. Seems to work for me.
I am sure they work very hard, a lot of people work very hard. But as a avid traveler, I have seen many times when it is raining out and they do not do something as basic as flip over the cover on the luggage carts to try to protect them from at least some of the rain. There is absolutely no excuse for someone's bags to be completely soaked through all the way on the inside. That is prolonged exposure to the elements.
This is very true. One trip I was waiting in Houston for my connection, sitting by the windows at my gate. Watching the luggage cart drive up to the plane, sides up and luggage falling off the cart. There was a trail of luggage behind cart and pouring rain. I mentioned all the luggage lying on the ground to the gate agent who said oh don't worry, there will be another truck in awhile picking it up.
Why wouldn't they flip down side covers and secure? Ugh.
I have used all kinds. I have not had trouble with soft sides or Vera Bradley duffles. My expensive hard sided luggage got the wheels broken off. These days my really heavy stuff goes in my carry on to avoid overages on the larger bags.