If you ask me, the Delsey Helium Aero series wins 10/10 on style for the modern traveler. I mean look at this piece of luggage, it’s sleek, it’s stylish, and says you like to look professional when you travel. Delsey’s Helium Aero series comes in both soft-sided and hard-sided models and a variety of colors for your personal preference.
For the carry-on versions, the domestic model is available in both hard and soft-sided versions and is advertised at 21”. However, the actual height, that includes the wheels and handle is about 22.75”. The international version, which is 19”, is only available in a hard-sided version. I do not have a measurement on the international version, but if Delsey is consistent, I’m sure that actually measures about 20.5” or so.
For the purpose of this review, there really isn’t a huge difference between the 3 models apart from their obvious physical measurements and materials.
Benefits of the Delsey Helium Aero Spinner Carry-On
With either the hard-sided or soft-sided version, the design on the Helium Aero is virtually the same on both. As with most bags, they feature a large main compartment, adjustable zipper on the side, and then a front compartment. However, the most noticeable difference on this bag is the way it’s put together.
Instead of deep compartment that is zippered on the top, this bag has an equally sized front and back that zippers together in the middle. The biggest perk of this is you have easier access to all your luggage upon opening it. In case you forget something, or need to change your clothes between flights, this makes finding what you need a whole lot quicker.
Secondly, the front pocket has a nice little feature you may not see on other carry-ons. The front pocket on this folds out, but that’s not what makes it different. The difference is the small piece of fabric Delsey has placed on the sides where it folds out.
This might seem small, but when you have pens, flash drives, your smartphone, or other small objects in this front pocket, you’d be surprised how easy these things can fall out. Besides, does anyone really like having a cracked iPhone screen anyway?
Yup you read that right, on this carry-on there are 8 total wheels, 2 on each corner. So how is this better than 4 wheels? For one, there are more contact points with the ground, which helps to make the bag’s travel over surfaces a whole lot smoother. Secondly, if you have a wheel that ends up breaking, locking up, or otherwise not working, there’s a second wheel to continue providing support on that corner.
Built-in TSA Accepted Lock
On the side of the Helium Aero series, Delsey has built in a TSA-approved lock. If you’re not familiar with TSA locks this is basically a special lock that only you and TSA have access to. They have a special key that allows them to search your luggage, if necessary, without your code.
While you can buy a TSA-approved lock to put on luggage that doesn’t have it built-in, you run the risk of losing the lock when it’s not on or it getting caught and ripped off in the conveyor belt through processing. You’d be surprised at how often this happens, continue reading and see the image at the bottom of this post.
Drawbacks of the Delsey Helium Aero Spinner Carry-On
If you opt for the hard-sided version of this carry-on you’ll enjoy the added perk of having extra protection for your belongings, however this isn’t without some drawback. The complaint many people have with the Helium Aero, and other hardsided luggage, is the plastic, “factory-y” (is that a word?) smell that accompanies them.
The smell comes from the materials that area used to create the hard,outer shell. Over time, the smell will dissipate and go away, but for the first several weeks you have it, you may have to deal with its factory-produced odor that has decided it wants to travel too.
Scratches Easy… Really Easy…
The shiny exterior you see online or on the store shelf won’t last forever. While polycarbonate is a strong, and just flexible enough material, it’s prone to scratching. If you’re looking for a bag that stays new or can be kept ‘new-looking’ then this isn’t the bag for you. Instead, maybe opt for the soft-sided version, as you’ll still get almost all the same notable features.
If you’re looking for a decent carry-on at a moderate price with a functional design, then this is the carry-on for you. The half and half design is what I find most compelling about this piece. I can easily get access to all of my luggage, not just the items that I pack last. Additionally, the built-in TSA approved lock is a nice feature, since locks that dangle are prone to getting ripped off and potentially destroying the bag’s zipper.
A plastic smell and scratches to the outer case don’t really bother me. As long as it stands up to the thousands of miles that it will travel, that’s all I care about. I’m not taking it to a fashion show, and there are a lot worse looking things in an airport, so the two drawbacks don’t matter a whole lot to me.
Also published on Medium.