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After investing in classic luggage brands and taking gambles on midrange Instagram fan favorites, it was time to fly test the sensible choice: an affordable suitcase with a slick exterior and noteworthy features that did not match its price tag — or as some may say, a luggage ‘deal’. At first glance, iFLY’s Admiral collection ticks the right boxes, but how does it stack up on a 14-day vacation with multiple plane rides?

IFLY Admiral Luggage Review
The iFLY X Series Admiral can be found at Walmart, and no one can argue with the price point: $139 for a 28″ hard shell case (prices start at $99 for a carry-on) with the standout features we have come to expect from mid-to-high-range luggage, like a scratch resistant exterior, integrated TSA lock, laundry bag, USB port (on carry-ons) and removable garment suiter (on medium and large sizes).

The Specs

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Scratch resistant
  • Removable garment suiter
  • Integrated TSA accepted lock
  • Removable laundry bag
  • Three full-zip main interior compartments
  • Wet pocket
  • Rubber grip trolley handle
  • Soft gel carry handles
  • Expansion zipper adds 2” depth
  • Four electroplated 360° double wheels
  • Three sets of tie-down straps to keep all your clothes in place
Interior compartments.
Interior compartments.

The Fly Test

The iFLY 28″ is a good looking bag. Black, stylish and sophisticated, you wouldn’t price it at $139. The rubber grip trolley handle feels sturdy and the wheels ride across uneven New York roads smoothly. Packing lightly, and neatly, is not my forte; the general rule is three outfit changes per day, right? Luckily, the spacious interior is generous and I could fit in more than enough clothes for my two-week Hawaiian adventure, plus Christmas presents. But I certainly had to use the extra 2″ depth expansion zipper.

IFLY Admiral Luggage Review
Handy extra 2″ expansion.

The weight of the bag is the first major problem for me. With dimensions of 28” x 18.25” x 13” + 2” expansion, it weighs 13.4 lbs/6.0 kg without clothes, which feels excessively heavy for a bag. As I confessed earlier, I am not the best packer, so the extra bag weight combined with maybe one too many sandals meant that I had to take out some extra weight at the airport before checking in. But I soon realized it was not just the extra sandals or toiletries: the bag was only three-quarters full and way too heavy for a standard US airline’s 50 lb/23 kg weight limit. At every airport stop I was dumping shoes and shoving jackets in my sister’s luggage. If anyone wants a great bottle of grappa or two children’s coloring books, head to the trash cans at the Honolulu airport.

Smooth wheels, but sticky zippers.
Smooth wheels, but sticky zippers.
So with all this opening and closing and recalibrating my luggage at every airport stop, the second major issue presented itself — the sticky zippers. If you are moving around a lot, already frustrated from having to pack and repack your underwear in front of a line of impatient travelers, these are not the zippers you want on your luggage. They are tough, slippery and would not move smoothly unless I was sitting on the bag just right, not with all my weight, just the perfect amount to make the zippers align completely.
Irritated and cursing this cumbersome bag, I arrived at my destination. I was relieved to find my clothes were neatly intact in the zip-interior compartments, but the exterior had a few scuff marks, and strings of fabric from the lining were coming out around the zip — a little disappointing after only a couple of flights. I did wonder what it would look like after a few more journeys, but knew I was not planning on finding out anytime soon.
After one plane ride there were scratch marks and loose threads around the zipper.
After one plane ride there were scratch marks and loose threads around the zipper.

The Take Away

The price tag and capacity is on point. With multiple compartments and removable laundry bag and garment suiter, your clothes will stay put and feel well organized. However, the price tag also reflects the quality of the materials. If a smooth zipper, scuff-free exterior and overall weight are important to you, it might be wise to look around. This bag is going to make great storage for my winter clothes — under my bed. I doubt I will not be bringing it on any other trips unless I’m driving, and only unpacking once.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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