Love Your Luggage

by Country Inns & Suites
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

 Does your luggage really work for you in these days of tighter airport security and carry-on regulations? Tougher TSA (Transportation Security Administration) rules since January 1, 2003, require that all bags, checked and carry-on, brought into America’s 429 commercial airports be screened. This change further muddies the waters, according to Dave Herman, president of Tennessee-based Hartmann Luggage. By Beth D’Addono 

“After September 11, people started checking bags to avoid security delays,” says Herman. “Now, passengers want to carry as many of their belongings with them as possible.” But airlines’ two-item carry-on rule is being strictly enforced.

Current luggage trends include an emphasis on weight distribution and easy access, compartmentalized and zip-on/zip-off pieces, and sturdier wheel configurations. The key to getting luggage that will keep you happy is selecting features that are most in line with the way you travel.

Do you always travel with a laptop?

Check out the new generation of rolling bags, like the Hartmann 22-inch expandable, which comes with a removable computer case as well as an interior sleeve to hold the computer when it’s not in use. Hartmann also makes an oversized leather “purse” that doubles as a laptop holder.

Are you the compartmentalized type?

If so, you’ll love the mesh and clear plastic dividers and zipped pouches built into bags such as the Travelpro 22-inch Rollaboard luggage. The see-through pouches allow security personnel to search the bags easily, speeding up security checks while keeping your unmentionables out of public view. “Since I always carry on, I travel with a compartmentalized laptop bag on wheels,” says Ann DiPietro, senior area manager for the Las Vegas–based software firm Tririga Inc and a frequent traveler. “This is much more convenient than trying to manage multiple bags.”

Do you rack up as many miles in airports as in the air?

If you frequently hoof it between far-flung gates, you might appreciate weight distribution advances such as the ProGrip, a handle incorporated into Travelpro’s Platinum series of wheeled luggage and garment bags. The ProGrip handle, which can be operated single-handed, changes the bag’s pivot point and saves wear on shoulders, back and neck.

Do you dress up for client meetings?

Then opt for multifunction garment bags with compartments to hold laptops, as well as dividers to keep clothes neat.

Are you rough on your stuff?

In that case, forget about ultrasuede and look for a stain-resistant “ballistic nylon” bag, available across most better brands. Just be sure you like it before you buy it, because this bag really will last forever.

Freelance writer Beth D’Addono has discovered the need for the right luggage during her frequent travels.