luggage

New gear & gadgets from the International Travel Goods Show

The latest in luggage, travel gear and on-the-go gadgets goes on display each year at the International Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas.

It’s anyone’s bet which of the products displayed by the more than 500 brands in attendance will take flight, but some of these new products have a great chance

Luggage scooter

Villagio of Miami’s Transmover 3-wheeled scooter has a TSA-approved detachable, rechargeable battery, a space to attach luggage (even a pet carrier) and may be a harried travelers’ answer to that long walk out to the gate.

And it’s fun. The scooter’s 12 mph top speed and 12-15 mile range can provide entertainment on a long layover inside or outside of the terminal. (MSRP: $550-$595 for the electric model; $250-$295 for the non-electric model)

Window tablet bag

Italian designer Nunzia Palmieri created a clever and sophisticated line of women’s business-style handbags and shoulder bags featuring a front pocket that can be used to store and cushion an iPad or tablet or, with the cushion removed, provide working access to the tablet via a clear window. At this year’s International Travel Goods Show Palmieri is expanding the collection to include a men’s line of leather and fabric travel bags with tablet-shaped windows as well. MSRP: starting at $228.

One bag becomes two

Thule luggage maker is rolling out a new Subterra collection that includes four rolling luggage pieces and four travel backpacks.

The 22-inch 2-wheel Subterra Carry-On (MSRP: $279.95) has a compression panel that makes it easy to pack more items and to keep clean clothes separate from dirty ones. The versatile, 22-inch Subterra Luggage piece (MSRP: $319.95) can be filled and checked as one piece or split into two smaller, independent pieces of luggage that are carry-on compliant.

Luggage tags made from airplane fuselage

 

MotoArt Studios is well-known among airplane aficionados for the conference tables, office furniture and decorative items, such as mirrors, it makes from old Boeing 747 engine turbofan housings, airplane wings and other bits of retired aircraft.

The company has recently expanded its line of offering to include serial-numbered luggage tags ($25 to $100) made from the skin of retired airplanes.

“We include the tail number of the aircraft so you can look up the history of your plane,” said Dave Hall of MotoArt Studios, “And it will tell you how much the aircraft originally cost, what year it was built and the airlines that flew it.”

Sniff, but don’t eat these purses

For fun – and for candy fans – American Jewel has a line of colorful, scented Jelly Belly-branded purses (wristlets), hairbrushes and bracelets.  Wristlet “flavors” include Blueberry Muffin, Birthday Cake, Rainbow Sherbert, Green Apple Bubblegum, Pink Lemonade, Roller Rink Pink and Tutti-Frutti.

Drink and Twist

Buying bottled water on the road at $5 (or more) a pop can get expensive, but packing an empty reusable water bottle to fill at the airport or in the hotel gym can take up valuable suitcase space.

A good fluid-carrying solution? Collapsible bottles, such as HydraPak’s clever 1 liter Stash model (MSRP: $23) which twists and crushes down to an easily-packable quarter of its size and comes in outdoor-inspired colors such as Malibu, Mojave, Mammoth and Sequoia.

Sit on this

 

Toronto-based Airopedic, which has been making ergonomic office furniture since the mid-1980s, has created a self-inflating, portable ergonomic seat to take to sports arenas, into airports, onto airplanes and to other places where comfortable seating isn’t reliably available.

The seat weighs in at 1.6 pounds, has carrying straps and mesh side pockets for storage and a pressure control button to enable seat density adjustments that the manufacturer suggests will make sitting on the Airopedic Portable Seat (MSRP: $65) feel like “sitting on a cloud.”

(My story about accessories and luggage from the 2017 International Travel Goods Show appeared in a slightly different version on CNBC.)

Horizon Air seats get upcycled

ALASKA LOOPTWORKS

Need a gift for an aviation geek or just some really nice environmentally responsible gear?

Bags made from old airline seats may do the trick.

When Alaska Airlines decided to replace the seat covers on planes flown by its sister carrier, Horizon Air, sending the old leather to the landfill seemed too wasteful.

Instead, the airline turned to Portland, Ore.-based Looptworks, a company that upcycles unwanted materials into limited edition, hand-made products, for a solution.

Looptworks already makes a Southwest Luv Seat line of bags and accessories that use that the carrier’s old seat leather, as well as a line made from motorcycle jacket leather, so turning 4,000 Horizon Air leather seat covers into useful items wasn’t a big challenge.

Now there’s the Alaska Airlines Carry-On Collection, which includes a wallet ($65), laptop sleeve ($120), tote ($160), crossbody bag ($140) and a messenger bag ($230)

The leather is cleaned and prepped in partnership with an Oregon non-profit that employs and trains adults with disabilities and then is passed on to Northwest craftspeople who do their magic.

Alaska and Southwest aren’t alone in exploring upcycling.

Clothing made from the surplus leather and fabric from Hawaiian Airlines seats was on exhibit recently during Honolulu Fashion Week, there’s a line of bags made from recycled JetBlue crewmember uniforms, and Skyebags makes a wallet and a tote bag from reclaimed Delta Air Line seat leather.

(My story about upcycling old airline seats first appeared on USA TODAY in a slightly different version.)

Upcycled carry-on bags from United banners

united recycled bags

The airline industry uses a lot of ‘stuff’ and some of that stuff gets recycled and re-used and made into new things that you may want to buy.

The newest “upcycled” aviation items are a set of 100 carry-on bags made from 20 United Airlines “Fly the Friendly Skies” banners.

The airline worked with the Columbia College Chicago Department of Fashion Studies and the Re:new Project and asked them to come up with a carry-on bag that would look good and be durable, be economical to make and fit under an airplane seat.

The results look appealing and are available for purchase at the United Shop .

Even better: the proceeds from sales of the upcycled banners will benefit Re:new and the Alto Mayo Forest Carbon Project in Northern Peru.

Cool travel gear at the International Travel Goods Show

The latest in luggage, travel gear and gadgets-for-those-on-the-go was on display this week at the 2015 International Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas.

Here are just a few of my favorite items that were out on the floor.

1_Playluggage Blocks_courtesy Playluggae

The designers at Estonia-based Playluggage want their luggage to be a “dependable and trustworthy partner for the craziest adventures.” They’re on the right track with suitcases that have surfaces that double as game boards for backgammon, Chinese checkers, chess, poker and Parcheesi, a model that comes with erasable markers and a covering you can draw on and this new design, which has a surface compatible with Lego-style blocks.

5_ShelfPack2

Hotel butlers unpack and repack luggage for well-to-do guests. The rest of us must do all that ourselves. The Shelfpack (MSRP: $349) from McKaba Luggage may be a good in-between option.

The idea: organize you outfits on the collapsible shelves built inside the suitcase, push the shelves into the suitcase and then pop them back up on arrival to form an instant dresser.

For more fun stuff from the 2015 International Travel Goods Show, see my slide-show on CNBC

Book a room, get a free suitcase

GLobe Trotter bespoke luggage

This unusual offer that certainly trumps chocolates at turndown was included in the slideshow about new luggage I put together last week for CNBC Road Warrior.

This holiday season (Dec. 15 through Jan. 5, 2015), guests who book a special suite package at the 5-star Brown’s Hotel in London will receive a custom-made 21-inch Globe-Trotter suitcase, made at the company’s flagship store located next door to the hotel.

Planning ahead is required, because three weeks before arrival, a guest will be asked to choose the colors for the outside of their suitcase, the lining, the clasps and the preferred monogramming. The bespoke suitcase (along with a fine bottle of Champagne) will then be waiting in the suite at check-in.

Rates start at £2,000, or about $3,200 per night.