By Natalie Wise
Gone are the days of glamorous air travel with passengers donning suits, hats, elegant leather briefcases and sophisticated travel trunks. Now, we fly in comfortable clothing and are charged for checking luggage on most airlines. A few airlines have even started charging for any baggage brought on board. However, there is a quirky new solution: wearing your luggage.
It sounds strange, and it looks strange, too. It might be uncomfortable, but it will certainly save you some money if you don’t mind being the source of intense people-watching as you travel.
Since most major airlines started charging for checked luggage, many passengers are stuffing their check-on luggage and filling the overhead bins beyond capacity.
Frontier Airlines, whose home base hub is Denver, Colo., announced earlier this year it was charging $25 for every bag that goes in an overhead compartment onboard the plane. Passengers are still allowed one small purse or bag that fit under the seat free of charge.
For those of us less adept at fitting a weekend or week’s worth of clothes into a bag the size of a purse, companies such as Jaktogo and Stuffa are filling the gap. The Jaktogo is one of several products on the market that enable travelers to wear their luggage, much like stuffing fishing or camera gear into a specialized vest.
The Jaktogo transforms from a bag to a piece of clothing and is available in jacket, dress or tunic style, and can be custom made in denim or leather. Their slogan? “Only fools pay extra for luggage. Clever people have a Jaktogo.” The Jaktogo retails between $93.99 and $359.99 depending on style and material. Jaktogo products can hold up to 22 pounds of luggage.
The Stuffa jacket looks like a standard puffy down vest, but carries up to 11 pounds of clothing and accessories for travel. For those who don’t need to stow their entire luggage, but rather their important documents and tech toys, several companies create clothing with numerous hidden pockets, such as Scottevest and AyeGear.
How feasible is this new money-saving trick-baggage? The airport in Akron, Ohio, that offers 35 departures daily to 1.8 million travelers annually, has not seen any wearable luggage so far. They don’t believe it would cause a problem with their general security. However, many passengers through the airport choose flights that allow them free checked baggage.
Out of the four airlines the airport services, 50 percent of its business comes from Southwest Airlines, the only airline that allows passengers two free bags. Southwest Airlines offers flights to Tampa, Fla., Dallas and Denver, among other cities.