Travelers Paid Airlines $4.6 Billion to Check Bags

June 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you don’t know how to pack light, be prepared to pay for the privilege of checking the luggage you need to accommodate your clothes and other essentials. According to a recent CNBC story, travelers paid $4.6 billion in checked bag fees in 2017 alone.

In other words, if you wanted to take a large suitcase, or even check a smaller carry-on, it could cost you anywhere from $50 or $60 for your first bag, and $100 for a second.

But as travel and luggage professionals, we know that many of these checked bags are only necessary because people don’t know how to pack wisely. They make common rookie mistakes like:

Baggage claim, where people waste time if they check bags.

  • Packing one outfit for every single day. This is especially bulky if you’re going to be gone for more than five days. Solution: wear certain items more than once.
  • Packing things “just in case,” like a dressier outfit in case you go to a nice restaurant. Solution: Confirm your dinner plans before you leave to ensure whether you will or not.
  • Packing individual, complete outfits. Solution: Pack mix-and-match outfits. If you’re traveling for four days, take two pairs of pants that go with each of the four shirts.
  • Packing every comfort of home, like pillows or full bottles of shampoo. Solution: They have pillows at your destination. Also, buy your shampoo or other lotions, etc. when you arrive. I guarantee they don’t cost $100.

One way around the checked bag fee is to upgrade to an Economy Plus ticket, from the basic economy. Or use a credit card that gives you one free checked bag as one of your perks.

But the best way to ensure you never pay a checked bag fee again? Get a 21″ or 22” carry-on bag that will let you pack up to a week’s worth of outfits (as long as you pack correctly.)

When Travelpro’s sourcing and design teams travel to China for two-week trips, none of them check luggage. They can do so because they know that any of Travelpro’s suitcases will accommodate their needs, and they’ve perfected the art of traveling light. Travelpro specializes in making carry-on models that accommodate multiple days of clothing in one bag. The MaxLite® 5, Crew™ 11, and our brand-new Platinum® Elite collections are designed with features to help travelers pack efficiently and effectively,

regardless

the length of the trip.

You may not be headed out on the road for two weeks, but if your travel plans take you away from home for business or leisure this summer, scrutinize your clothing and luggage choices so you don’t waste money on unnecessary baggage fees.

How do you avoid baggage fees when you travel? What are your packing tips? Share them with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Unknown creator (Pxhere.com, Public Domain)

New Platinum® Elite Collection: Available Only at Travelpro.com

June 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Just because you’re not traveling first class doesn’t mean your clothes can’t. Upgrade your traveling experience when you purchase from the new Travelpro® Platinum® Elite Collection — available exclusively at Travelpro.com through the end of June.

This new 17-piece collection of soft-sided luggage features the PrecisionGlide™ System, which offers precise control and an effortless roll. Three patented features function as an integrated system — just the kind of thoughtful innovation you’ve come to expect from Travelpro.

Travelpro Platinum Elite Vintage Gray

Travelpro Platinum Elite Vintage Gray

The Contour Grip has cushioned touch points to help alleviate stress on your hand for greater comfort and control. The PowerScope Extension Handle, made with airline-grade aluminum, is lightweight, yet durable and adjusts to four set heights while minimizing wobble. The MagnaTrac® Dual Spinner Wheels are self-aligning, allowing them to roll straight in any direction for excellent maneuverability when you can’t afford to slow down.

The Platinum® Elite Collection features smooth-gliding Spinners and Rollaboard® suitcases, as well as garment bags and personal totes for overnight trips and weekend getaways. Constructed of superior, scuff- and scratch-resistant fabrics with leather accents in online-exclusive colors and all backed by the new Built-for-a-Lifetime Limited Worry-Free Warranty, you’re sure to find the perfect piece of luggage to elevate your travel experience.

The Platinum® Elite Collection warranty “guarantees the functional performance of each piece against defects in material and workmanship for the life of the bag”. Additionally, the new Trusted Companion Promise element offers additional coverage like reimbursement of shipping cost if the product needs to be shipped to an authorized repair center for repair and it also covers the cost of repair for damage caused by an airline or other common carrier as long as you register your bag within the first 120 days of purchase or gift receipt.

Travelpro Platinum Elite with Model

Travelpro Platinum Elite

Another design feature created to meet airline regulations is the integrated USB port, which includes a zippered exterior pocket to store your power bank while you charge and use your electronic devices. Your power bank can be removed quickly and easily from the bag’s exterior, allowing you to continue using it during the flight while your bag is stowed in the overhead bin.

From the grab and go, lightweight Platinum® Elite Regional Duffel with built-in strap, easy-access front and back slip pockets for essentials and a roomy interior that accommodates packing cubes, to the sleek, top-of-the-line 29″ Expandable Spinner with fold-out suiter, integrated accessory pockets, and interior tie-down system, this collection has everything you need to elevate your packing game to the highest level—the elite, one might say—with Platinum® Elite.

Are you interested in learning more about the new Platinum Elite collection? You can do so by visiting our website at Travelpro.com. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

American, Delta Ban Smart Luggage If Batteries Are Not Removable

January 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you received smart luggage for Christmas, we don’t mean to spoil your new year, but three major airlines — American, Alaska, and Delta — have already banned suitcases and carry-on bags that are equipped with integrated lithium-ion batteries and external charging ports.

In short, if you cannot remove your battery from your smart luggage, you can’t use the bag on those airlines.

Smart luggage: Crew Executive Choice 2 Backpack has a built-in phone charger. You supply the power pack though.

Crew Executive Choice 2 Backpack – with REMOVABLE phone charger

If you bring your luggage into the cabin, you can leave the battery in place, but you must have the option to remove it in case the airline needs to move everyone to a smaller plane.

The airlines cited concerns about inflight fires, as happened with the now-famous Galaxy Note 7 smartphones and kids’ hoverboards. You may also remember the Federal Aviation Administration’s short-lived ban on laptops with the same batteries in cargo holds on incoming international flights.

The ban goes into effect January 15 on American, Delta, and Alaska Airlines, even as United Airlines says they will soon follow; Southwest Airlines is reviewing their policy as well. Delta’s statement cited “the potential for the powerful batteries to overheat and pose a fire hazard risk during flight.” American declared its internal safety team evaluated these bags for necessary “risk mitigation” and deemed they “pose a risk when they are placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft.”

Smart luggage: Travelpro Crew 11 USB Port

The Crew 11’s built-in power port is a great way to keep your mobile devices powered up and ready to go, but you can still remove the battery.

Before you return your smart luggage, make sure your replacement bag has the option where the battery can be removed or disconnected. Even if you toss the battery into the main compartment of the luggage, you can carry the bag onto the plane with you. But it has to be removable.

Travelpro has two Collections which feature a dedicated exterior power bank battery pocket which allows users to insert their own battery, connect a charging cable, and make use of an external USB port. Because the battery is not provided by the company, nor is it integrated into the hardware of the suitcase’s frame, travelers can remove it at any time within seconds. This puts all Travelpro’s luggage in compliance with any airline or FAA policy, current or future.

The collections which feature the dedicated power bank exterior pocket and external USB port include:

  • Crew™ 11 Softside and Hardside Collections, available in various carry-on models including the 21″ Expandable Spinner and 22″ Expandable Rollaboard® Suiter
  • Crew™ Executive Choice™ 2 Collection which includes a Pilot Brief, Checkpoint Friendly Backpack and Wheeled Brief

The FAA has a longstanding policy of banning spare lithium-ion batteries in checked luggage, while allowing passengers to stow them in carryons.

Did you get a smart bag for the holidays? How does this news impact you?on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Stash Your Bags With this London-based Startup, CityStasher

November 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

They say necessity is the mother of invention. But little did Matt Majewski know that his need to store his suitcases at a friend’s house while taking a long weekend to attend a friend’s bachelor party would become the seed for an up-and-coming niche business, CityStasher.

Majewski’s friend (and fellow founder) Anthony Collias told him he’d happily store his bags for the weekend, but he’d have to charge him. That tongue-in-cheek quip was a moment of realization: perhaps other travelers were in need of short-term storage for their bags as well, and CityStasher was born.

If it’s your last day in England and you want to tour the sites of London before you catch your flight but after you’ve checked out of your hotel or Airbnb, you certainly don’t want to lug your luggage from the Tube to the Tower of London to the London Eye all day. CityStasher allows travelers to leave their luggage in a locked room at one of its 60 StashPoints around the city.

CityStasher home page screenshot

CityStasher’s StashPoints, located in independent businesses and other establishments that boast long hours of operation, are vetted to meet the following criteria: they have close-captioned TV surveillance, a locked room for the bags, and have long hours of operation for easy drop-off and pick-up. Each bag is insured for 750 pounds, close to $1,000 USD. The cost to stash your bag? 4 pounds for the first 3 hours, 6 pounds for 3 to 24 hours, and an additional 5 pounds for every 24 hours after that.

Proprietors have been incentivized to become storage sites by the prospect of redeploy an existing asset into a profit sharing investment. The StashPoint operators do have the right to search the luggage in the presence of its owner before attaching the security tag to the bag and agreeing to store it.

According to Jacob Wedderburn-Day, the company’s third founder, CityStasher hasn’t had any incidents with the contents of any of the nearly 25,000 bags it has stored since it began operating in 2015.

CityStasher operates in 18 cities across the United Kingdom, and in Amsterdam, after being sought out by a business there. The company is seeking investors to bring CityStasher to popular weekend destination cities across Europe.

Would you pay to store your baggage for a few hours before a flight? Or would you just lug it around to save money? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Business Travelers Need Smaller Carry-On Luggage on Regional Jets

August 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Not all business travelers jet off to major cities or other countries. Many business travelers have clients in smaller cities, and that means that if you travel by air, it’ll most likely be via a regional jet.

There’s nothing wrong with regional jets, except when it comes to overhead and under seat storage space for carry-on luggage. You can determine if your plane will be a regional jet simply by entering your flight number on SeatGuru. The overhead bin size will be specified in the data about the plane. Most will accommodate bags up to 18″x14″x7″.

If you normally fly via these types of aircraft, your more traditional carry-on luggage gets gate-checked for plane side retrieval. While setup doesn’t require you to trek to the baggage claim, you may end up waiting several minutes for your luggage to re-emerge. Nothing wrong with that, unless you need to make a tight connection. In that case, you might consider investigating smaller carry-on luggage instead.

Travelpro has a wide variety of bags that will increase your chances of avoiding gate check and still provide you with many options for traveling with your business and personal essentials.
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New Warning about Luggage Tags

June 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

As if air travelers don’t have enough things to keep track of when navigating an airport terminal, a recent report now suggests you need to be aware of potential hackers trying to access your flight reservations and other private information from your seemingly innocuous luggage tag.

The six-digit identification number located on your boarding pass, as well as on the accompanying luggage tag of your checked bags, is all a hacker needs to access all kinds of personal information — your email address, your phone number, your address — as well as your flight itinerary and frequent flier account.

This has become such a target-rich code for hackers because the airlines’ global reservation systems are antiquated and vulnerable. Put in place in the 1960s, their software coding does not account for personal privacy laws that have been instituted since that time.
Don't share photos of your airline luggage tags on social media -- the bar code is readable and contains a lot of personal information.
Since the onus is on the traveler to be alert and protected, here are a few suggestions to stop would-be hackers:

  1. Don’t post your boarding pass on social media. Hackers know our tendency to unwittingly overshare, so all they have to do is Google “boarding pass images” to reap a harvest.
  2. Consider only using a virtual boarding pass that comes to your email and uses a scannable image to get you through TSA. If you aren’t carrying a physical record that can be misplaced, lost, or captured by a hacker with a cell phone who takes a picture of what you’re carrying in your hand for anyone to see, your personal data is safer.
  3. Create complex passwords for your data so that if someone gets your information, they don’t have easy access. There are numerous apps available that create random, unique, strong passwords that are difficult to hack. The days of using one password for everything are over.
  4. Take your boarding pass when you exit the plane. Don’t stash it in the seat pocket in front of you. Doing so leaves that valuable code accessible to anyone who happens to find it.

Travel safety involves more than using a money belt or backing up valuable data before you leave. It also means taking steps to avoid getting hacked, even on something as simple as a boarding pass.

What are some extra security steps you take to protect yourself? Do you have any special tricks or even gadgets that you like to use, such as an RFID-blocking wallet? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Tony Webster (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)

Short-Term Repairs for a Broken Suitcase

December 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It can happen when you least expect it or you can discover it when you’re retrieving it from the baggage carousel, but no matter how it happens, a broken suitcase has the potential to severely impact your travel experience. With a little bit of resourcefulness, you can get through your trip and back home. Here are some ways to address common problems, as well as some Travelpro® product features specially designed to help avoid on-the-road luggage disasters.

If your suitcase wheels stick, make sure there's nothing stuck in them.

If your suitcase wheels stick, check to see if anything is stuck in the housing.

If your telescoping handle sticks, apply a small amount of lubricant to literally grease the skids. See if you can track down some WD-40; if that’s not available, a little soap can help. If the handle is slightly bent, you may try manipulating it back into proper position. If it’s clearly broken, at least you have the other handles to carry the bag. An add-a-bag attachment strap, such as Travelpro® offers on many of its rolling products, would allow you to hook your broken bag onto another until you can address the issue.

If your wheels aren’t rolling smoothly, chances are there’s something stuck in them that’s inhibiting their movement. Wipe them with a damp cloth and look for anything that might be stuck in the wheel housing. If the wheels are wobbly, causing the bag not to pull straight behind you, the screws could be loose. Tighten them up – if you don’t have a screwdriver handy, call down to the front desk and ask for one. Travelpro designs its wheel systems with the frequent traveler in mind, subjecting their products to miles of rigorous testing. Our patented MagnaTrac™ Spinner wheels are self-aligning and have a specially designed housings to protect them from damage on baggage ramps and as they’re pulled over curbs and through terminals.
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What To Do when Your Luggage is Lost

November 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the last thing you want to have happen when you’re traveling: your bag doesn’t show up at the baggage carousel. It has an immediate impact on your psyche, not to mention your itinerary.

But if the airline loses or mishandles your bag, there are a few steps you can and should take before you ever leave the airport, and a couple steps to take before you ever even get there.

If your luggage is lost at the baggage claim, head immediately to the lost luggage office. But be nice to the staff!

The Palermo (Italy) Airport baggage claim.

We want to say this upfront: above all, don’t vent your frustration on the person at the lost luggage counter

Next, before you ever get to the airport, pack your essentials in your carry-on: your medication, laptop, papers for your presentation, and anything else you can’t afford to be without. I once read a story that involved a woman whose lost bag included her laptop with a sales presentation she was to give the next day. She got her bag back in time, but we couldn’t help wonder, why would you ever relinquish control of the most important part of your trip?
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Crew™ 11 Luggage Roundup: Spinner vs Rollaboard

November 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I was asked recently which of our pieces of luggage within the Crew™ 11 Collection works better for the business traveler, the Spinner (8 wheels) or the Rollaboard® (2 wheels). This is a tough call, because both of them are great products, but in fact there are reasons that one may work better than the other in certain situations.

Both the 21″ Expandable Spinner and the 22″ Expandable Rollaboard® are designed with the frequent traveler in mind. Each bag fits in most overhead bins, and has many features that make either an excellent choice for anyone who spends a lot of time maneuvering through airports and hotels.

Both Crew 11 models have the Suiter system, which protects jackets and dress clothes from excessive wrinkling. The main difference between the two with regard to this feature is that the Spinner’s suiter is a “drop in” version, while the suiter for the Rollaboard® is built into the lid. The Rollaboard® has a slightly larger compartment due to the 2 wheel design so it’s suiter can actually fold up into the lid.

Travelpro Crew 11 Group Photo

Travelpro Crew 11 Collection — with both spinner and rollaboard bags

Now, the biggest difference: the wheels. This is where most people make their choice. First, the Spinner features MagnaTrac™ self-aligning wheels. This patented design allows you to push the bag with one hand or pull it behind you, and it will always roll perfectly straight, with minimal effort or resistance. This 360-degree maneuverability alleviates arm strain that can occur when pulling a Rollaboard behind you.
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Beyond the Carry-on: Travelpro Totes

September 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

With so many travelers trying to streamline what they use to manage their essentials, knowing all your “personal item” luggage options could make what you carry onboard more efficient. Maybe you’re checking a large suitcase, but still want to take a small personal bag on the plane with you. Or maybe you’re only traveling for a single overnight trip, and a normal rollaboard is too big.

This is where a tote can help out. They’re smaller, lighter, and easier to carry or roll. Here are a few features you should look for in a travel tote.

Navy Travelpro Crew 11 Business Totes

Navy Travelpro Crew 11 Business Tote

First, just because a tote is lightweight doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be durable. A good tote won’t sacrifice quality and durability for the sake of being lighter. For example, we make our Crew™ 11 Deluxe Tote with the same high-quality ballistic nylon fabric as our other Crew 11 luggage. It’s also thoroughly tested to withstand the same rigors of frequent business travel.

Your tote should also be comfortable to carry. Look for an adjustable strap with a padded shoulder pad so you can wear it hands-free, either over the shoulder or across your body. Look for leather handles so it’s comfortable to carry as well.
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