Recently I said somewhere on this forum that I would not buy a carry on travel bag bigger than a Tri-Star (because anything bigger would probably exceed carry on weight limits for Australian and Asian airlines once packed). Famous last words!
Today I am thinking about adding an Aeronaut to my TB collection. The reason is that I have discovered an airline for which even the Western Flyer may be too big! I am going to Bhutan next year and must therefore fly Drukair (Bhutan's national airline) in and out of Paro. My original plan was to take a WF and my Synapse, both as carry on. However, Drukair, which flies A319s, has a very tight size and weight limit for carry on. The Western Flyer would probably be just OK size wise (it is about half an inch too long but I am sure you could get away with it) but the total carry on weight limit is 5kg. Now, I know Lani and Frank II, if they are reading this, are thinking "no problem", but I just know I can't get my packing list for a 10 day trip down to 5kg. I am pretty pleased I have got it down to 7kg! My current thinking is to have only carry on for the flight from Melbourne to Bangkok and then check a bag for the leg from Bangkok to Paro (I plan to spend a day or two in Bangkok en route so won't have problems, airline-wise, doing it this way).
I think this means the WF might be ruled out for this trip, although I am prepared to give a bit of thought to seeing what I can achieve with a WF and a Dyneema Synapse packed inside it. I see the WF as a carry on bag only - if I resign myself to checking in luggage, I am not going to force myself to be quite as disciplined with my packing list and I might as well allow myself a slightly larger bag. So, assuming I can't make the WF work, my options are to take (and check) my Tri-Star, or buy an Aeronaut. It strikes me that the Aeronaut is probably better suited to this trip than the Tri-Star given (a) I won't have much in the way of electronic gear, (b) I will need a pair of sturdy walking shoes and (c) I might buy oddly shaped souvenirs. Plus if I am just going to use the Tri-Star there would be no purpose to this thread!
My questions for Aeronaut owners are as follows.
1. Do any of you ever check your Aeronaut in when flying? If so, have you ever had any problems with the main carrying handle getting caught/damaged by baggage handlers?
2. Does anyone have any tips for securing the handles as close to the side of the bag as possible to minimise the risks of them getting damaged/caught?
3. How easy/difficult is it to lock the various compartments? I am thinking cable ties might be a good method.
4. Has anyone had any problems checking in an Aeronaut that is not firmly packed (ie damage to contents etc)?
All thoughts and suggestions gratefully received.