A few items of note happened while I was gone so it’s time to play catch-up:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is trying out a new smartphone app that will allow arriving passengers from international destinations to bypass the customs line. After downloading the app, which is basically the customs declaration form we normally have to hand over, the passenger fills it out and is issued a QR code. They then go to a special line where the code is read by a machine. As of now, it’s only available at Atlanta Hartsfield and on phones running ios. You can read more about the program here.
If you are flying INTO the U.S., make sure all of your carry-on electronics are charged up. Some airports are making passengers turn on all of their devices to make sure they are real. This is due to a request from the TSA.
Whenever I’m in the Raleigh, NC area, I like to stop in at the Bag & Baggage store at Crabtree Mall to see some of the new products on the market. The staff here knows their stuff and I usually spend time chatting with the lovely and knowledgeable assistant manager, Tracie, who points out all the “goodies” that may be of interest to one baggers.
I was there a few days ago and she told me that the company had been sold. Many of you may remember that “Bag n Baggage” and “Magellans” merged a couple of years ago. Earlier this summer, Bergman Luggage and Innovation Luggage, who already run Monster Bags, bought “Bag and Baggage.” The sale did not include Magellans which was bought back by its founders and will be run as an independent company. Tracie also told me they will be expanding their inventory to include more travel products and less pens, stationery, etc.
She also mentioned that many of her customers were looking for lighter luggage. I wonder if this is a new trend?
And if that wasn’t enough, the good folks at Eagle Creek have been playing a little “luggage foreplay” with me. I got word of a new bag that will debut in December. It’s a wheeled bag–stay with me–with the ability to detach the bag from the fram. A couple of backpack straps can be attached and it then turns it into a real backpack. When you’re ready to store it, the frame comes apart so it takes up very little room. And….the whole thing weighs just over 4 lbs. The bag material is similar to the material used in their 2-in-1 bags. I have seen photos and a video on the bag but I had to promise not to share at this time. I will be getting one later this year to review but there is a possibility I may get one, on a temporary basis, meaning I have to send it back, sooner. At least it would allow me to get my hands on it.
L.L. Bean, REI, Eagle Creek and many others will be holding Labor Day sales. Keep your eyes open if you’re in the market for anything.
I admit I’ve gotten backed up with gear reviews including a couple of new convertible, carry-on bags. I’ll get to them as soon as possible.