It’s always tough coming back from a tropical vacation like my recent visit to Hawaii, but I had some local travel to keep me busy the last couple of weeks, plus a new piece of carry-on luggage to capture my attention. Ready on for my full Delsey Carry On Review.
The Delsey Helium Aero comes in four sizes ranging from 19” to 29.” I gave the smallest one — an “international carry-on trolley” — a whirl over the last couple of weekends. While I didn’t have any flights to put it through, I gave it a fair trial on foot, car, bus and metro. While rolling it down the sidewalk on my way to the bus one day, I actually spotted someone else accompanied by its largest cousin and, holy moly — it was huge!
The 19” version has a similar style (hint: you sometimes feel like you’re in a James Bond movie thanks to its steel-esque exterior), but it’s far more compact and portable. Still, the Delsey Helium Aero International Carry-On was a bit bulky and zipper-heavy for its size, thanks in part to a laptop sleeve that doesn’t actually add much value. Here’s what you need to know about the luggage.
Who Makes It
Delsey is a French company that makes luggage, rolling suitcases, laptop bags, backpacks, and accessories. It’s probably best known for its “Pluggage,” though — the prototype of which debuted last year. In a nutshell, it’s smart or connected luggage that works with a smartphone app, making it one of many ways the Internet of Things mega-trend is transforming travel. A few of these models are self-weighing, remote-locking, and location-sensing.
The Delsey Helium Aero is not a piece of “Pluggage.” It does attempt to please gadget-savvy travelers with a special section for a laptop, but there’s not much cutting-edge about this suitcase otherwise (see our review of Bluesmart or Raden for “smart” luggage).
Key Features of the Delsey Helium Aero
- Type: Hardshell (hardside) spinner
- Size: 19” x 13” x 9.5” (+2” exp.)
- Weight: 8.2 pounds
- Cost: $100 to $150
- Color: Cobalt Blue (also available in Brick Red & Titanium)
- International carry-on approved, if luggage is not expanded
- Durable (and shiny!) polycarbonate body
- 360-degree wheels
- Expandable sides
- Divided zipper compartments
- Laptop sleeve (up to 15.6” device) with zippered mesh pocket
- TSA combination lock
The Delsey Helium Aero 19” has a head-turning sleek durable hard shell exterior and a roomy interior. On my trip to Hawaii, I brought the Samsonite Winfield 2 carry-on and my favorite feature was its dividend interior, which makes staying organized and fitting a lot of things into a small space a cinch. The Delsey Helium Aero boasts the same structure — one strapped side and one zippered side when the suitcase is opened all the way — which I’m a huge fan of.
The only difference is that the bottom of the Delsey is not flat, as the bars from the extended handle protrude into the packing space. As a result, it was slightly harder to fit some larger, less flexible items like my make-up bag and running shoes.
The other key differentiator of the Delsey is its laptop sleeve — a feature I was quite enthusiastic about when I first unboxed the luggage. When I actually used the luggage to get from Point A to Point B, though, I was less of a fan. For one, there’s again an issue with protrusion. If you don’t pack the top half of your suitcase smoothly, any lumps and bumps protrude into your precious electronics.
Besides, when I travel, I tend to bring a purse, laptop bag or backpack along with me — whether I’m flying someplace with carry-on luggage, heading somewhere with checked bags or just going on a weekend trip. Call me married to my electronics, but I much prefer to have my laptop as close to me as possible — both for access during a flight and for security. The Delsey’s luggage lock is for the main compartment and as a protective Mac parent, I don’t love the idea of having my laptop in the overhead where someone could in theory snatch it.
One perk of the Delsey Helium Aero is the fact that it has a side handle — the lack of which I considered the biggest flaw of some other hardshell carry on suitcases. Unfortunately, that was offset by other handle problems with this piece of luggage. The top handle was not centered. When you pick the fully loaded suitcase up, it tends to swing a bit and struck me in the shins a few times (enter cuss words here!).
The handle is off-center because there are so many zippers — one for the laptop sleeve, one for the main compartment and one to expand the body. While I like the fact that the luggage is expandable, it did feel a bit bulky for a carry-on, and it was a bit difficult to keep all the zippers straight. Sometimes it took me three tries just to unzip the suitcase!
For a sanity check, I had my friend give the Delsey a spin without voicing my complaints or favorite features. She agreed the Delsey Helium Aero was roomy and stylish but also made it a point to text me: “TOO MANY ZIPPERS!” Maybe we’re both a little slow … or maybe less really is more.
What to Consider Before Buying
This suitcase is about the same price as the Samsonite Winfield 2, which also has a hard shell, smooth wheels, and divided interior. One thing to note is that the 19” Helium Aero is not currently listed on Delsey’s site (although the 21” is), so you’ll have to order it through a third party.
The suitcase did suffer a few scratches within its first few weekends of travel, which were noticeable because they showed up as white on the luggage’s bright coloring. If scratches bother you, I recommend possibly trying the silver finish — although you will look even more like you’re making a delivery in an action movie. If that’s your thing, you’ve found the right suitcase.
While the design of the Delsey Helium Aero feels a bit bulkier than many other carry ons, you do get a laptop sleeve as a result. If that feature appeals to you, take full advantage! But if you don’t think you’ll use it, consider looking to other models. Several popular hardshell/hardside carry-ons have handle issues, but others are more stylish and easier to pack.
The Delsey Helium Aero 19″ International Carry-On is a solid piece of luggage (see all reviewed luggage). Its divided interior offers lots of space, while its laptop sleeve may be appealing to some business travelers. The top handle’s position wasn’t great, though, and there were some issues with protruding bars or items when packing. Add it up, and it’s probably only worth it if you can get the suitcase near the lower end of the price range.