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A relative newcomer to the luggage scene, Away offers lightweight, rugged polycarbonate-shell bags that include Bluetooth-connected location services and ejectable batteries in keeping with the new airline policies. Sold online, its 22-inch carry-on costs $325 and comes in nine colours, with a removable laundry bag and 360-degree Hinomoto spinner wheels.
Heys has circumvented the problems associated with lithium ion batteries by using two AAA batteries to power its smart luggage line. Its 21-inch carry-on ($300) is also made of polycarbonate and boasts TSA-approved locks you can open remotely with a smartphone, a handle with an integrated scale and proximity alarms that let you know if you’re too far away from your bag.
Changing the way the world travels
TravelPro’s lightweight nylon Platinum Magna 2 22-inch Expandable Rollboard Suiter carry-on ($290) sidesteps the issue by including an external USB port for charging on the fly, with a dedicated FAA/CATSA-compliant external battery pocket (battery sold separately) so you can easily insert and remove your own charger. It has butter-smooth inline skate wheels and lots of accessory pockets, including a garment bag and a removable see-through pouch for toiletries.
TravelPro’s designs also go through a veritable boot camp to ensure they’ll hold up. Inside the company’s quality control lab, machines yank, jerk and jostle bags thousands of times to simulate the real-world abuse delivered by baggage handlers and owners. And they get popped in the deep freeze, relentlessly zipped and unzipped, and put through “distance training” covering 30 miles on a treadmill to test the wheels.
“The main consumer for our bags is the business traveller,” says Raymond Durocher, president of Holiday Group, manufacturer of the TravelPro line. “And the last thing they want is to lose a wheel or break a zipper while they’re travelling.”
? Camilla Cornell is a business writer and intrepid traveller, who nonetheless appreciates a little comfort when away from home.