Do you actually enjoy spending time at the luggage carousel waiting for your bag? Then, by all means, please buy a black suitcase.
Though there aren’t any hardcore stats on the percentage of the population that opt for black suitcases, it’s not hard to observe at any baggage claim to testify to how popular they are. (I wonder if navy and grey probably run a second close and third.) The more distinctive your piece of luggage is, in terms of style and color, the easier it will be for you to quickly identify your bag so you can spend as little as time possible making sure your bag is yours. The other option would be just to slap your face on it.
It’s not rocket science to see why people choose often to go for something elegant and timeless. But seriously, this is not a little black dress you’re buying.
The pros all agree: even Samantha Brown has pointed out her own suitcase is a distinctive canary yellow. Likewise, I have a beige, champagne-colored Muji suitcase that stands out from the crowd for its uniqueness. Though many people will probably point out black is great for professional purposes, I still think there are many suitcases out there—in a wide arrange of neutral colors and stylish designs—that accomplish this while being distinctive enough without having to go black.
But the disadvantages still often heavily outweigh the pros. It’s easy to rationalize that black has another great inbuilt advantage that other colors don’t, such as the fact it’s more likely to hide scuffs, dirt and dust better. However, I have an even more on-the-go friend who owns the black version of my suitcase who has told me she’s noticed that her bag still picks up noticeable dust, perhaps somewhat annoyingly so.
Chasmosaur, a Schneier on Security reader, also noted this particular incident a couple of years ago illustrating the pitfalls of buying a black suitcase:
My sister learned her lesson… On an Amtrak train, the man sitting next to her who got off several stops before her took her bag by accident. They had IDENTICAL black bags, and both didn't find out until they got home. Luckily they both had contact information in there and Amtrak was nice enough to transport the bags back to their respective owners.
Sure, that Tumi set looks great, so maybe you should shy away lest you blend in with every hardcore traveler out there. Bruce Schneier, who also specializes in security issues, also noticed that black blags can often be ripe for crime:
Thieves prefer to steal black luggage because so much of it looks alike. If the thief is caught red-handed by the bag's owner, he only has to say sorry, it looks just like mine. And he's out of there. Scott free.
If it helps, think of black suitcases like the Black Death. I don’t know about you but I personally like to get out of the airport as fast as possible.