Updated 30 Sep 2015

American Tourister

AT Applite 55cm

Snapshot: The American Tourister AT Applite 55cm soft-shell suitcase has 4 swivel wheels and 2 external pockets. But how does it perform?

AT Applite 55cm
Consumer score
Price guide


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Test results

Overall score
Lift and drop
Ease of use
Drag and move

Good points

  • Excellent performance in the lift and drop test.
  • Good puncture resistance.
  • OK rain resistance.
  • Easy to drag and move.
  • Very good handle comfort.
  • Has 4 swivel wheels.
  • Has 2 external pockets.
  • Expandable.
  • Has TSA-approved lock.


  • Doesn’t meet any New Zealand-based airline carry-on baggage size limits.


The American Tourister AT Applite 55cm suitcase comes with a tag stating “Carry On Approved!”, but our measurements – including wheels – showed it was too large for all airlines flying from New Zealand airports. It is also expandable, so it may be best used as a small checked-in hold case. It performed well in our test. It survived 300 lift and drop cycles with no damage and was good at resisting penetration by sharp objects. Our testers found it easy to use but some thought the handle was a little flexible – making it harder to steer. It has two external pockets and a built-in TSA-approved lock.

Full test

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How we test

Overall score includes:

  • Lift and drop (30 percent)
  • Puncture (15 percent)
  • Rain (15 percent)
  • Ease of use (40 percent)

Our tests

We loaded the bags with 4kg of clothing and checked how far they could tilt without falling over.

Whether it’s when wheeling your bag to the airport, or finding the bag trolley was left out on the runway in the rain, some level of water resistance is useful. We put bags lined with dry newsprint paper upright under a shower rig for 10 minutes to assess their water resistance.

To test resistance to sharp objects, our rig dropped a metal cone onto the case and we measured the diameter of the resulting puncture mark.

Lift and drop
Our rig snatches the bag up (testing the handle) and drops it from a height of 900mm onto its base and wheels. We repeat this 300 times or until it fails, whichever comes first. Bags that survive the drop test are tested for 30 minutes on a rolling rig to check the wheels still work.

Ease of use
Three testers take the bags loaded with 4kg for a stroll. They move in and out of an elevator, down stairs and through a doorway. They drag the bags across carpet, a cement path and asphalt. They consider handle comfort and length, noise, and overall stability in two-wheel and four-wheel use (if applicable).

Full specs


Price guide


Dimensions HxWxD (cm)
57 x 36 x 26
Size (cm)
Meets carry-on criteria
Weight (kg)
Stability (degrees)
Number of wheels
Extendable handle length (cm)
Extendable handle positions


Backpack straps
Top handles
Side handles
External pockets
Internal divider
Zip padlock hole
TSA lock