Away Luggage Vs. Arlo Skye: Which Aluminum Suitcase Should You Get?
Luggage Expertise

Away Luggage Vs. Arlo Skye: Which Aluminum Suitcase Should You Get?

Looking for an aluminum carry-on? Until recently, your choices were either Rimowa, Tumi, or Zero Halliburton—all of which would set you back upwards of $1,000. But now two industry disruptors, Away and Arlo Skye, are offering travelers quality aluminum suitcases at a fraction of the price. So which one should you choose? We road-tested both Away's The Bigger Carry-On: Aluminum Edition and Arlo Skye's The Aluminum Carry-On to find out which luggage brand makes the better aluminum suitcase for the price.

Away The Bigger Carry-On: Aluminum Edition

The Bigger Carry-On: Aluminum Edition.
It seems as if this young luggage brand’s bags are everywhere these days, carried not just by the millennials who were early fans of the “smart” suitcases for their USB ports and minimalist aesthetic, but now also by their parents. Away’s hyper-popular polycarbonate cases have recently been joined by a collection of expandable woven nylon suitcases. But Away’s family of sleek silver aluminum cases (The Carry-On, The Bigger Carry-On, The Medium, and The Large) are at the top of the heap. Their sleek design, quality construction, and clean lines make every trip look like a high-powered business trip.

Pros of Away’s The Bigger Aluminum Carry-On

  • A generous 100-day trial period allowed us to take this case to the Caribbean and around Europe—we toted it on several planes, a ship, and some small boats.
  • The compression pad and adjustable straps on one side of the case helped us cram in even more clothes than we thought possible. Our weeklong wardrobe fit easily.
  • A top-handle makes the Away case easy to hoist into cars and overhead compartments (we can’t say the same for the Arlo Skye).
  • The Away glides effortlessly on four spinner wheels that are practically silent.
  • Zippers are one of the most vulnerable parts of a suitcase, so we appreciated the clamp closures with TSA-approved combination locks.
  • In addition to the included laundry bag, luggage tag, and sleeper tote, the removable 10,000mAh portable charger and cord also comes with a handy assortment of international plug adaptors.
  • Away bags come with a lifetime warranty.

Cons of Away’s The Bigger Aluminum Carry-On

  • Aluminum cases are notoriously expensive. And at just under $500, so is this one. In this case, you get what you pay for, but quality costs.
  • While this larger Carry-On holds more than Away’s smallest carry-on suitcase, its size (exterior dimensions are 22.7 x 14.5 x 9.6 inches) means you’ll likely have to gate check it when flying on smaller planes or European airlines.
  • Only available in Silver (Arlo Skye’s aluminum case comes in Monochrome Silver, Champagne, and Black)
  • The lack of an outside pocket for laptop may be a deal-breaker for some travelers.

Away Aluminum Bigger Carry-on Suitcase and Checked Luggage.
Travelers Who Will Prefer Away’s Aluminum Carry-On

Want to one-up all your millennial friends who won’t travel without their Away polycarbonate cases? Need more space than Arlo Skye offers (more on that below)? Consider this case.

Where to Buy Away The Bigger Carry-On: Aluminum Edition

Away bags are available at AwayTravel.com and brick-and-mortar Away stores in the U.S. and the U.K.: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Chicago, Boston, and Austin.

Buy the Bigger Carry-On: Aluminum Edition Here

Arlo Skye The Aluminum Carry-On

Arlo Sye The Aluminum Carry-On.
Available in a glossy black, a muted champagne, and silver aluminum alloy (which the company claims is unbreakable), the super-sleek carry-on has leather handles (hand stitched!), a pair of clamp closures with TSA-approved combination locks, and a removable portable charger with USB A and C ports. The brand hypes its “silent run” wheels, and we can now see why: Even packed to capacity and weighing 29 lbs., our Arlo glided along the airport concourse as smoothly as hot butter on a cold marble countertop. The case opens clamshell-style—same as Away—with compressive elastic straps on one side and a zip-around fabric cover on the other. (A rubber gasket keeps contents dry, as we discovered when it started to rain on the open deck of a boat.)

Style-wise, Arlo Skye’s case is a slam dunk for fashion-forward travelers. The satin-finish and minimalist design instantly telegraphs “stealth wealth” and superb taste. When we carried this suitcase we not only felt like we were going somewhere special but that we were something special! And judging by the admiring glances and questions we got from fellow travelers, they thought so, too!

Pros of Arlo Skye’s The Aluminum Carry-On

  • No doubt about it: this is one handsome piece of hardware.
  • Available in three eye-catching colors: Monochrome Silver, Champagne, and Black (Away only comes in Silver)
  • The wheels really do coast as effortlessly and quietly as the company claims.
  • Like the Away, the case has secure clamp closures with TSA-accessible combination locks.
  • The 10,000mAh portable charger is handy, and pops out easily if you have to check the bag.
  • Other accessories include two shoe bags, a laundry bag, a leather luggage tag, and a sleeper bag.
  • Five-year warranty (pretty solid, but Away’s warranty is for life!)

Cons of Arlo Skye’s The Aluminum Carry-On

  • Since the case is sold exclusively online, there’s no opportunity to see the case IRL before you buy. (The company does offer a 21-day trial, backed by free shipping and returns. But it’s considerably shorter than Away’s 100-day trial.)
  • With interior dimensions of 20 x 13.4 x 9 inches, this case is definitely compact. And although we’re packing pros, we found it could barely fit four days’ worth of clothing. (The Away fit our weeklong wardrobe, no problem.)
  • We found the case clamps a bit small and hard to handle. (The handle on the top of the Away case made it much easier to hoist into cars and overhead compartments than the Arlo Skye.)
  • The lack of an outside pocket for laptop may be a deal-breaker for some travelers.
  • At $550, this is an investment for most travelers. Only you can decide if it’s worth it.

Arlo Skye Aluminum Carry-on in living room.
Travelers Who Will Prefer Arlo Skye’s Aluminum Carry-On

If you’re a style-conscious baller with a big budget, this might be your bag.

Where to Buy the Arlo Skye Aluminum Carry-On

Like fellow direct-to-consumer luggage brands Away and Roam, Arlo Skye is only available at ArloSkye.com. (A limited collection is also sold at The Miami Beach Edition and at The Public Hotel in New York City.)

Buy the Arlo Skye Aluminum Carry-On Here

Our Final Verdict

Person Closing the Away Aluminum Carry-On Suitcase.

These are both well-made and very attractive bags, the cost of which most people will need to travel frequently to justify. If you’re a stylish road warrior who packs light and/or takes short trips, Arlo Skye’s The Aluminum Carry-On is a companion worth considering. And if you’re a heavier packer, take longer trips, and/or want to save a smidge, Away’s The Bigger Carry-On: Aluminum Edition offers what appears to be the same build quality as Arlo and a very similar design aesthetic—plus the benefit of more space—for $55 less.

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