I have worked in retail since i was old enough to get a job, ive worked in alot of different departments, and at customer service taking back defective product returns on everything from pantyhose to screwdrivers, and have dealt with alot of customer complaints about the workmanship of products, and ive had to deal with some pretty awful customer service reps at these companies, you know the people behind the 1-800 numbers in the manuals!
For two years i sold luggage, and gave customers their money back on defective luggage, or had to send it away to the luggage repair company.
When purchasing your luggage try to go to a luggage specialty store where the sales people actually recieve training and know their stuff, they will be able to help you choose the perfect piece. Dont expect knowledgable staff at just any retail location, as i said these people do not recieve any training in the products.
To help you out a little i will list the brands that i always had customers returning because they literally fell apart after only one use, these are the ones i always had to send away for repairs because of rips and tears, threads coming apart, zipper problems, wheels falling off or cracking:
1.Eddie Bauer - the worst ALWAYS, ALWAYS a problem, poor workmanship, no quality to product, flimsy, everything wrong with this brand, ALWAYS a return on every one sold!!
2.Swiss - poor quality fabric, loose threads, wheels, zippers always getting stuck or falling off, rips in fabric.
3.Air Canada - poor quality, poor quality fabric, awful zippers.
4.Roots - not too bad, but not good quality, but definately better than Eddie Bauer!
Choose Samsonite, or Heys luggage, they are built strong, waterproof, made tough to survive the airport abuse, zippers sometimes get stuck or need repairing, but that is nothing compared to rips or luggage that is falling apart!
The Eddie Bauer luggage has the same type of quality you will find in a 5 piece luggage set for $19.99 at WalMart. We sold alot of the Swiss make but we also took back alot of returns, our customers expected a good quality product from these brands because of the name and price, but do your research before going out and purchasing a piece or set of luggage, and try to go to a luggage specialty store where the employees know a little more about what they are selling. Dont forget to ask what comes back to the store alot and why, dont ask what their best sellers are, just because something is a big seller doesnt always mean it is the best quality, like the above list, sure we sold alot of the Eddie Bauer and Swiss luggage, but they all came back to us for repairs or exchanges, so dont ask what the big seller is, ask about quality and what is their customers feedback!!
Also you dont have to match your luggage, there are no rules. But try to pick pieces other than the typical black, and red, everyone has these two colors, or at least they do in the city i live in, those colors were our big sellers, it will make it easier for you to locate yours in luggage claims.
Also you want to try to get a good quality set, even if something was damaged by the airport, you wont get anything from them, ive dealt so much with this for my customers. Also be aware that the warranty on your luggage is NOT the stores warranty, make sure you know the stores warranty. Where i work the warranty is good for 90 days, good only on zippers and certain fabric issues as long as our repair guy can fix, the rest of the warranty is through the manufacter, you will have to send your luggage to them and pay the shipping fees, so do your research and dont yell at the sales people, the sales people dont make the luggage and are not responsible for the workmanship, and this goes for everything, the people you need to yell at are the manufactuers!!