Remember the riding suitcase that made a big splash last summer when it raised thousands of dollars on Indiegogo? It’s expected to be released this spring, but does anyone actually believe we’ll see travelers zipping through airports on these bags? No, because rideable luggage is ridiculous.
But it’s not as ridiculous as the latest travel gimmick making a splash on a crowdfunding site: wearable luggage.
A startup company in Australia is raising funds to produce a wearable suitcase called the Airport Jacket, which it calls “an innovative step forward in fashion and design.” It’s a trench coat filled with pockets that you can dump all your stuff in.
The makers of the Airport Jacket say it can store up to 33 pounds. It contains 14 pockets — many of which belong to two detachable panels — that are capable of carrying a laptop, iPad, two pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans, three t-shirts, two pairs of shorts, underwear for three to four days, a light jumper, a dress, a toiletries bag, wallet, phone, and passport. Once you’re on the plane, it folds into a bag you can store beneath your seat.
Why Would You Wear Your Luggage?
The Airport Jacket is expected to deliver in May. (Beware of promises like this on Kickstarter.) It’s raised nearly $20,000 from more than 100 backers, but it still has a long way to go to reach its goal of $77,000 by the end of March. The jacket comes in multiple styles that start at $183.
Wearable luggage seems like a heavy burden that doesn’t solve any travel problems. The creators of the Airport Jacket suggest that its biggest selling point is beating baggage fees, which makes almost no sense considering that it holds less than a standard carry-on and few airlines charge for carry-on bags.
Even the notoriously fee-happy Ryanair allows one carry-on and a personal bag. Spirit, the U.S. airline travelers love to hate, is one of the few that charges a fee for a carry-on. United Airlines recently unveiled a new Basic Economy fare that was widely misinterpreted to mean all passengers would have to pay for a carry-on. United will continue to offer standard economy fares that permit a carry-on, and the money you’d save if you purchase Basic Economy won’t be enough to offset a $200 jacket.
But even if more airlines begin charging fees for carry-on bags, it’s unlikely that wearable luggage will take off. Here are three reasons why:
Too heavy. The Airport Jacket stores up to 33 pounds, which is about the weight of a three-year-old child or four gallons of water. Imagine that hanging around your waist as you wait in line to board a plane. Your back and shoulders are going to suffer so badly you’ll never use this jacket again.
Too hot. A trench coat sounds fine in winter, but you’re not going to want to wear that in summer when most people travel. The Airport Jacket does come in a “spring/summer style” made of lighter material, but it’s still long-sleeved and you have to attach the full-length panels to get the deep pockets for clothes and other large items.
Too suspicious. In our age of heightened surveillance, airport security agents are going to be wary of a person wearing a jacket from The Matrix in July that’s bulging with hidden objects. You’d be taking a big risk walking through an airport wearing this thing.