Not too long ago, I would have laughed at the idea of me traveling anywhere with wheeled luggage.
Why? Because for the longest time, I was a backpack travel kind of girl. While I practiced and preached carry-on only travel, I really only ever did it with a backpack.
I tended to avoid anything that had wheels and had to be dragged alongside me–anything that would slow me down in any way! Cobblestoned streets wouldn’t be able to slow me down either.
However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to see the value of wheeled luggage. While I still don’t like checking bags if I can help it, I do appreciate not having to lug all my luggage’s weight on my body.
I’ve recently discovered for myself (finally) that a wheeled carry-on is ideal for a city break or beach holiday because even though I’m not packing much, I’d rather not force myself to deal with shoulder/back pain while traveling.
So after scouring the internet to find the perfect piece of carry-on luggage, looking for a suitcase that would last me years to come, I pulled the trigger and shelled out a few hundred bucks on the Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus.
And if you’re on this post, you’re probably wondering if this could be the right bag for you too.
I mean I get it. With so many brands and options out there marketing to you on social media, how do you pick the perfect suitcase?
This article is about my personal experience with the Paravel Aviator Carry-on, and I hope that it’ll give you some clarity on whether the sleek, beautiful Aviator Carry-On from Paravel Travel is the right choice for you.
I was not paid to write this review (you’ll be getting nothing but honest opinions from me), but this post may still contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!
PARAVEL: AN OVERVIEW OF THE BRAND
There are plenty of options for luggage these days, so what exactly makes Paravel stand out from the crowd?
This sentence says it all: “Paravel is the sustainable travel brand dedicated to exploring the world while minimizing our impact on it.”
Let’s start with their origin story. Since 2016, the Paravel brand has been paving the way for sustainable travel. When its founder Indré Rockefeller took a trip to Antarctica and witnessed the detrimental effects of climate change, he and co-founder Andy Krantz began dedicating their time to creating sustainable, eco-friendly, and functional pieces that would then become Paravel’s defining feature.
Because of all that hard work and workshopping, what we get today are sustainable suitcases that make a statement. All of Paravel’s travel gear is not only made of sustainable recycled materials but also has durable construction and standout design. I mean, have you seen the suitcases? Classic and sophisticated, to say the least!
The First Ever Carbon-Neutral Suitcase
The biggest standout of this brand has been its carbon-neutral suitcase. The Aviator suitcase offsets emissions throughout the entire process (from it being created to it being shipped) to ensure the brand’s sustainability standards. Such a noble cause–this is by far one of the biggest reasons why I love the Paravel brand.
Today, Paravel offers everything from suitcases to weekender bags, fashionable totes to packing cubes, foldable backpacks to handbags, and more! Among the vast collection, all are made from recycled and upcycled materials. It’s truly amazing how everything from the zippers to the telescopic handles, vegan leather trims to interior linings are all made from recycled materials.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, you can read more about Paravel’s sustainability efforts here.
By far their most popular suitcase is the Aviator Carry-On, which is the line that I will be reviewing for you today!
PARAVEL SUITCASES: STAPLE FEATURES
Some of Paravel’s standout features include the following:
- Lightweight and durable recycled polycarbonate shell
- 360-degree frictionless wheels with carbon steel bearings
- 3-tier aircraft-grade recycled aluminum handle
- Built-in TSA-approved combination lock
- Vegan leather trim
- Interior compression board
- Removable compression board
- A divider inside the main compartment
- Water-resistant interior made from upcycled plastic bottles
- Reinforced metal corners
All of Paravel’s suitcases are flight regulation-friendly. There are 3 different sizes fit to fly in different ways.
- Aviator Carry-On | designed to fit in the overhead bin of almost any flight, anywhere in the world.
- Aviator Carry-On Plus | provides more room and fits nicely in the overhead compartment of major US airlines, but may need to be checked on smaller planes.
- Aviator Grand | perfect as a roomy checked bag.
PARAVEL’S CARRY-ON MODELS
If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for a carry-on, so that’s where we’ll focus in this post. Paravel has two carry-on options. There’s the Aviator Carry-On and the Aviator Carry-On Plus.
AVIATOR CARRY-ON FEATURES
The Aviator Carry-On is the smaller of the two options and also the most affordable option offered by the brand. It comes equipped with all the staple features listed above (unbreakable polycarbonate shell, sturdy aircraft-grade telescopic handle, TSA-approved lock, whisper-quiet wheels, and all-recycled materials.
It’s currently available in five different colors. All of the color combos are classy and stylish. In my opinion, the Safari Green and Scout Tan options are the easiest on the eyes!
The great thing about the standard Carry-On size is that it was designed to fit in the overhead bin of almost any flight, anywhere in the world.
- Dimensions (L x H x W): 13.7″ x 21.7″ x 9″
- Weight: 8.2 lbs
- Capacity: 43.7 liters
- Trip Length: 2-5 days worth of clothes and 1-2 pairs of shoes
AVIATOR CARRY-ON PLUS FEATURES
Now moving on to the Aviator Carry-On Plus. The main difference between the standard carry-on and the Carry-On Plus is its size; the Plus is a bit bigger and offers 3 more liters of storage than the standard. This extra space is better for travelers who tend to take longer trips or who tend to pack more for their trips.
In terms of colors, you’ll find the same colors for both sizes.
Carry-On Plus Specifications
- Dimensions (L x H x W): 14.7″ x 22.7″ x 9.6″
- Weight: 8.5 lb
- Capacity: 46.6 L
- Trip Length: 4-7 days worth of clothes and 2-4 pairs of shoes.
PARAVEL AVIATOR CARRY-ON: PROS AND CONS
- has an incredibly sophisticated and classic design.
- made with high-quality materials and is designed to withstand the rigors of travel.
- hardside shell helps to protect your belongings from damage
- has a sturdy handle and smooth-rolling wheels for easy maneuverability.
- meets most airlines’ carry-on size requirements, so you won’t have to worry about checking it.
- designed to be lightweight, makes it easier to carry and less cumbersome to travel with.
- purchase includes a sleek anti-microbial bag
- Limited capacity: it’s designed for shorter trips, so it may not have enough space to hold all of your belongings for a longer trip.
- Would have liked to see more internal pockets. To get around this, invest in a set of packing cubes.
- Paravel suitcases are just slightly pricier than other luggage brands like Monos or Away.
AVIATOR CARRY-ON PLUS REVIEW
Let’s just lay it all out upfront–the selling points of the Aviator Carry-On (Standard and Plus sizes) are three-fold:
- the fact that it’s one of the most beautiful and classy-looking luggage out there on the market
- its status as completely carbon neutral
- and all the cool features it comes with: the smoothest wheels ever, a built-in TSA-approved lock, and a classic style that suits every traveler
Now we get to the fun part–taking a peek at an actual Aviator Carry-On Plus in detail! I recently purchased my very own Carry-On Plus in green and was so excited to take it on my first trip. Spoiler alert: I was not disappointed by its functionality, and I got just about a million compliments on the suitcase!
AVIATOR CARRY-ON PLUS: SIZE AND STYLE
First and foremost, I loved the fact that this carry-on is a hardshell suitcase.
I’ve only ever used soft-sided roller bags which ultimately did the job, don’t get me wrong. But they got dirty, stained, and just didn’t age very well. And because they were soft in nature, I never had full confidence that the stuff inside wasn’t getting squished to death when stored in luggage closets and whatnot.
Paravel suitcases are made with flexible, lightweight, and durable recycled polycarbonate shells. Polycarbonate is one of the best luggage materials out there, which gave me confidence that this bag would hold up for years to come.
FYI, the majority of other brands in the market today opt for cheaper PVC material, which is highly toxic and non-recyclable. This is one huge pro of Paravel suitcases–they are conscious about the environment and it definitely shows in the final product.
And while hardshell bags do have the ability to get scuffed (especially when checked in), the scuffs are pretty easy to remove with a magic eraser.
Pro Tip: I opted for the carry-on option because that meant I’ll rarely have to deal with scuffs from checking my bag in. Having said that, if there is a need to check in your new Paravel suitcase and you want to avoid the scuffing that inevitably happens after every flight, get yourself a clear suitcase cover! That way, you can still show off the beauty of this bag while keeping it protected.
Next up, the size is perfect for my travel lifestyle.
The Carry-On Plus was designed to comply with the size restrictions of most US airlines, fitting in the overhead bin of nearly every flight, with the exception of smaller flights. Because I tend to take longer trips lasting 3+ days, I needed something a bit roomier than a standard carry-on luggage size.
I have a smaller carry-on by Monos Travel, the Monos Carry-On Pro, and therefore wanted something roomier for those longer multi-day trips. After using my Monos Carry-On Pro exclusively for a few months, I found that bag to be a bit too small for my travel needs. And I’d say I’m a pretty minimalist packer! (For those of you wondering, the Monos Carry-On that I have is essentially the same size as the standard/smaller-sized Aviator Carry-On.)
It goes without saying that Paravel’s Aviator Carry-On Plus is the perfect size for my lifestyle! Here’s a real-life example to illustrate its size: On my most recent 4-day trip from SF to LA, I packed 4 days worth of clothes and 2 pairs of shoes. I still had room to spare after all the toiletries and accessories were packed.
Now according to Paravel’s website, the larger carry-on is supposed to fit 4-7 days’ worth of clothing, plus 2-4 pairs of shoes. From my personal experience, I’d say it fits a tad less than that. I can certainly get 4-7 days’ worth of clothing in there, if I make an effort to pack fewer shoes.
Having said that, I’m not dinging any points from Paravel because, as with most carry-ons, you’re probably not going to fit 7 days’ worth of clothing and 4 pairs of shoes. At that point, you’re better off buying a checked suitcase!
AVIATOR CARRY-ON PLUS: WHAT’S INCLUDED
Inside the box, my new suitcase was covered in a cloth wrap to prevent any scratches during shipping. This outer bag can also be used as a dust bag to store the luggage when you aren’t using it.
The carry-on came with a little introduction booklet, as well as an anti-microbial bag that can be used as a laundry bag or shoe bag.
It’s no secret that this bag is simple, yet beautiful. I mean, just look at it. Such a soothing color both inside and out to stare at–and not a lot of nooks and crannies to have you forgetting which pocket you put something in. Love it.
AVIATOR CARRY-ON PLUS: FEATURES
The first thing that really stands out about Paravel’s suitcases? The warm tan vegan-leather trimmings found all over this bag. It compliments the minimalist vibe so well, with a touch of vintage.
I personally love the tan color, but if that’s not your style, you can find other color combinations such as a black trim on a black case, black trim on a white case, and black trim on a navy case.
The next thing that I loved about this bag was the multi-stage telescopic handle that you can adjust for your height. While you can’t stop the handle in whatever position you want, there are 3 height settings which is enough customization for my needs.
Next up are the silky-smooth 360° double-spinner wheels. It’s such a small feature, but it makes all the difference. Pulling (or pushing) this bag around is so fun because of how easy and effortless it is.
I could literally use one finger to move it along on concrete! It didn’t matter whether I was rolling it along bumpy sidewalks, dirt pathways, carpeted hallways, or just in the airport. It was so smooth… definitely one of my favorite features of this carry-on suitcase.
Just like all other suitcases in the Aviator line, the Carry-On Plus comes with an integrated TSA-approved lock on the side of the bag.
The presence of locks is pretty standard these days, and the only difference compared to Away bags (one of their main competitors) is that the locks on the Paravel bags are located on the side as opposed to on the top.
Okay, now let’s talk about the inside of the bag. Inside, the bag has two sides to it, one that has a zippered compartment and another that has an attached compression panel that flips up and down and is tightened with straps.
While at first, I thought the internal compression pad was in the way of my packing, it’s actually cool because it allows you to pack more items inside than you’d initially think!
On the left side, there’s another main compartment that’s separated by a flap of fabric that contains an extra zippered compartment. I’ve found that little pocket is great for smaller things that I want to keep separate from my main clothing compartment (such as hair accessories, toiletries, scarves, undergarments, socks, etc.).
All these features made for a really organized, yet minimalist packing experience.
The luggage is lined with a beautiful navy blue water-resistant fabric and features vegan leather trimming for that sleek yet classic look.
BENEFITS OF BUYING PARAVEL SUITCASES
Highlights: Why I’m Team Paravel
- Paravel offers a stunning line of luggage, bags, and accessories perfect for any type of traveler
- Carbon-neutral products
- Mid-range prices that are easily justifiable and match the price of some of its competitors
When you purchase a Paravel bag, you get a lot more than just the bag. Did you also know that every Paravel Aviator suitcase comes with a 5-year limited warranty?
5-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY
All Aviator bags purchased directly from Paravel is backed by a 5-year limited warranty extended to the original owner of the item.
Paravel will cover manufacturing defects (meaning defects in certain components or elements that prevent the Aviator suitcases from functioning properly), wear and tear (which means unintended deterioration after proper use, excluding cosmetic damage), and structural damage to the Aviator suitcase, with some exclusions.
The warranty covers:
- Cracks or breaks in the shell
- Wheels, handles, or telescoping handles that break off or are no longer usable
- Broken zippers
- Malfunctioning TSA Lock
- Broken corner protectors
- TPU leather strip
However, the warranty does not cover:
- Cosmetic Damage – scratches, dents, dings, scuffs, stains, color changes, or normal wear and tear.
- Replacement of any non-defective parts in the luggage.
- Damage determined to be due to intentional abuse, modification, tampering, and/or alteration beyond what could be considered normal handling and use.
- Damage caused by any travel carrier (such as airline, rail, bus, or cruise operators).
PARAVEL CARRY-ON PLUS: FINAL THOUGHTS
To answer the first question that’s likely on your mind–are Paravel Aviator luggage bags worth the money? My answer is an astounding yes. I literally have nothing negative to say about my Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus.
And no, they did NOT pay me to say this! I truly love this suitcase! Given the fact that I paid for this bag with my own money and am still completely in love with it after having owned it for so many months now means this bag is totally worth it for me.
It’s sleek, roomy, and the design of the bag is even more beautiful in person. I honestly wish I could stare at it all day. And in terms of its larger carry-on size, I’ve had no issues on any of the flights I’ve taken over the course of the year.
It’s been able to fit in the overhead storage on each and every one of my flights thus far. (I have yet to take a smaller puddle jumper plane, but if it turned out that I had to check it on one of these smaller flights, I wouldn’t be too mad about it.)
And if I had to nitpick about something it’d be the fact that the trial period and warranty that Paravel offers isn’t as good as some other luggage brands out there. For example, Monos Travel offers a 100-day trial and a lifetime limited warranty, whereas Paravel offers a 30-day return period (free return shipping) and a 5-year warranty.
While Paravel luggage is by no means cheap, they are priced similarly to other brands that play in the same space (such as Away, July, Monos, Beis, etc). I found Paravel bags to be just a tad more expensive than others, but not so much that it’d sway me to go with a competitor brand.
In addition, these bags are much less expensive (but way better looking) than some other premium travel luggage brands like RIMOWA–RIMOWA bags can cost you anywhere from $600 to $1,000 USD!
And last but not least–their status as carbon-neutral only adds to my love for this company. 10/10 recommend!
One of the next questions you’re probably asking is–why go for the Aviator Carry-On Plus over the Aviator Carry-On? It’s a very good question, and this was one of my biggest struggles when I was deciding which one to buy!
While I loved the fact that the smaller Carry-On had the ability to fit in all overhead bins worldwide, I already owned a bag of this size and found it to be a bit too small for my longer trips spanning 4+ days. I ultimately needed something with a bit more space to fit more things.
Because of this, I ultimately decided to go with the Aviator Carry-On Plus. If this sounds like you, I’d recommend going with the larger size too.
If none of the above sounds like you, then the Aviator Carry-On may definitely be the better option for you!
Ultimately, the Paravel Carry-On Plus is for you if:
- You need a bit more room than what a standard carry-on suitcase offers (great for travelers who take 3 to 7 day trips)
- You want a durable, sleek, and minimalistic carry-on
- You want a bag that has TSA-approved locks
- You want to support a brand that’s actively doing its part to save the world!
All in all, the Aviator Carry-On is a piece of luggage that delivers on its promises of sustainability, form and function, and style. To this day, I still can’t get over how good this bag makes me feel when I’m en route to my next destination!
If you’re looking to pick up some extra bags or luggage pieces, consider getting one of their luggage sets. They’ve got Aviator Packing Cube Sets, Cabana Sets, Weekender Sets, Frequent Flying Kits, and much more!
Here’s a peek at my Small Cabana Tote (personalized with my initials), which pairs oh-so-well with my Carry-On suitcase.
ALTERNATIVE LUGGAGE BRANDS TO CONSIDER
Monos, a luggage company based in Vancouver, Canada is another one of those brands that have a really admirable mission statement.
The Monos team started with a specific set of criteria they needed to meet–design, quality, and affordability. Monos found that other luggage brands in the market fulfilled one or even two of these, but not all three together. Thus, the Monos luggage was created–there was a gap that needed filling!
Monos claims to give travelers what the luggage market was lacking – premium, minimalist luggage, built with only the finest quality materials and components – all at a fair price.
They are also Climate Neutral Certified, which means the company has net-zero carbon emissions — the first luggage brand to do so.
Another thing that draws people to Monos is the fact that luggage bags come with a 100-day trial period and a lifetime warranty on parts!
Monos Carry-On Options: Carry-On or Carry-On Pro
LEVEL8 is an NYC-born brand for aesthetically pleasing luggage. Much like the other products here, LEVEL8 honors the art of presentation and style when it comes to traveling.
One of the benefits of going with this brand’s suitcases is that they’re the most budget-friendly of the bunch.
Their hard-shell luggage is enhanced with a lightweight and durable polycarbonate hard shell and features 360° spinner wheels that are ultra-quiet and have an anti-shock design to ensure a smooth traveling experience through the airport.
The LEVEL8 carry-on luggage pieces are sized at 22” x 14” x 9”, which is suitable for almost all airlines. Plus, their Textured Carry-On comes in 7 fun colors, including a cute pastel blue and green!
LEVEL8’s Carry-On option: Textured Carry-On
DEAL ALERT! Use my limited-time promo code ‘TravelsWithElle10‘ for 10% off your entire purchase.
Away is a decent alternative to Paravel. Very much like Paravel, Away’s products are ideal for the jet-setter that’s looking for well-built, sleek-looking luggage that will last for years. Their suitcases are made from similar high-end materials and they come equipped with all the features you’d be looking for in sturdy luggage.
All of their suitcases have double spinner wheels, telescopic handles with ergonomic grip, an internal compression system that makes it easy to pack more in the bags, a removable laundry bag, and TSA-friendly locks.
Away has an aluminum collection, whereas Paravel does not. This brand also has softshell options, and some hardshell suitcases come with an ejectable power bank.
Away offers more color variety than Paravel, so if color is a big deal for you, you might have some luck with Away’s product offerings.
Away’s Carry-On option: The Carry-On
RIMOWA is a premium luggage brand perhaps best known for its aluminum carry-ons. Designed and engineered in Germany, RIMOWA combines heritage and craftsmanship with the rigors of modern technology.
This is truly the luxury version of the modern, minimalist carry-on. If I had the budget to buy luggage by RIMOWA, this would be the brand I’d buy!
On top of the high-quality materials used to craft the luggage, the handle does not have fixed settings, which means you can adjust it to literally any height you wish. Game changer!
Do note that RIMOWA luggage will cost you anywhere between $700 and $1300, which is significantly more than the cost of a Paravel suitcase.
If you’re looking for something similar in size to the Paravel Aviator Carry-On, the RIMOWA Cabin Essential is your best bet. It’s equal parts sleek, spacious, and ultra-lightweight! It will fit in most standard overhead bins and also has enough space that packing for 4-7 days is very achievable.
RIMOWA Carry-On Options: Cabin Essential and Cabin Essential Lite
What Is Considered a Carry-On?
Technically, any piece of luggage that you bring onto an airplane is a carry-on bag. Most US airlines allow one piece of carry-on luggage that must fit in the overhead bin, plus another personal item. This personal item can be a smaller backpack, briefcase, purse, camera bag, diaper bag, etc.
While the dimension requirements can differ from airline to airline, to be safely considered a carry-on by most airlines, a carry-on should fall into the following dimensions: 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (or 22 centimeters x 35 centimeters x 56 centimeters). This is a very common carry-on size and the dimensions includes handles and wheels.
Again, the size dimensions of carry-on baggage allowed in the cabin of the aircraft will vary by airline. Ultimately, you’ll have to check with your airline to ensure what can fit in the overhead bin. If it does not fit in the overhead compartment, you may very well need to check the bag.
For many major domestic airlines such as Delta, Southwest, and JetBlue, there are no weight restrictions for carry-on bags. However, other airlines may have a carry-on weight limit of ~40 pounds.
International airlines may have different restrictions for carry-on luggage. It is always best to check with your airline to get their exact requirements.
Is a 23-inch Luggage Too Big To Be a Carry-on?
While many airlines might say their carry-on size limit is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, their overhead cabins and luggage-size-testers might be slightly larger than 22 x 14 x 9. It really depends on who you are flying with and which type of plane you are hopping on!
For example, here are a few different airline allowances (at the time of writing):
- Southwest: 24 x 16 x 10 inches (61 x 40 x 25 cm)
- United: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm)
- Delta: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm)
- Jetblue: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm)
- Hawaiian: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm)
- Frontier: 24 x 16 x 10 inches (61 x 40 x 25 cm)
- Spirit: 22 x 18 x 10 inches (56 cm x 45 x 25 cm)
- Aeromexico: 22 x 16 x 10 inches (56 cm x 40 x 25 cm)
- British Airways: 22 x 18 x 10 inches (56 cm x 45 x 25 cm)
- EasyJet: 22 x 18 x 10 inches (56 x 45 x 25 cm)
- Ryanair: 22 x 16 x 8 inches (55 x 40 x 20cm)
Despite the dimensions above, I also know that many of United and Southwest’s planes’ overhead cabins can actually fit a carry-on that’s 23 x 15 x 10 inches in dimension, despite their advertised limit of 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
More often than not, carry-on bags that are slightly oversized can slip through without any hassle. It depends on how strict your airline is, and it may depend on how full the flight is, how strict the gate agent is, or the size of the plane you’re traveling on.
Keep in mind you can always be asked to check your carry-on bag at any given time, even if it isn’t too big. This can happen if the flight is extremely full and there just isn’t enough bin space for everyone.
If this happens, you should remove any valuables from your carry-on and make sure your bag has bright luggage tags, a notable strap or something else so you can easily find it at baggage claim.
The bottom line is if you want to be 100% sure you won’t be charged any fees for having a carry-on that’s too large, you’ll need a bag that’s within the size limits, including the wheels and handles.
If this is something you tend to have anxiety about, going with the Aviator Carry-On might be a better choice for you.
I hope you found this Aviator Carry-On Plus review to be helpful! I’ve given you a lot of other options to round out this review post, but ultimately, if you’re looking to upgrade your gear, Paravel is a wonderful brand of luggage to go with.
I love traveling with my Carry-On Plus and I think you will love yours too!
Looking for more travel packing tips? Read More:
- Cadence Capsules For Travel: Are They Worth The Money?
- Monos vs Paravel: Which Luggage Brand Is Better?
- The Ultimate Minimalist Travel Packing List
- 30+ Travel Essentials for Hot Weather and Tropical Climates
- 25 Top Travel Gadgets That Will Make Your Next Trip So Much Better
- 18 Advanced Ways to Save Money For Travel
- Can You Bring This On The Plane? All Your Burning Questions Answered
1 thought on “Paravel Aviator Carry-On Review: Is It Worth The Money?”
Great work thank You