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Posted by Victor Crew on

Why Baggage Fees Are At All Time High

The Department of Transportation released figure stating that passengers paid 1.2 billion dollars in baggage fees just between July and December. Which is up about 10% from last year during the same period. Between April and June baggage fees reached their highest ever at $1.18 billion.

Some experts believe this is at least partially due to the popular rise of very basic economy fares. These fliers can’t use overhead bins, so if they show up and can’t stash their carry-on under the seat they get stuck with a fee.

American Airlines and United Airlines both have very basic fairs which allow only one small personal item on board. In addition to this, there have just been more fliers generally speaking, hopefully due to a healthy economy and lower fares overall.

 

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Raden Smart Luggage

Overweight luggage fees – which can cost up to $100 – might be a thing of the past for travelers willing to invest in a new piece of Raden Smart Luggage. By simply lifting the luggage, the Raiden suitcase reports its own weight.

This just one of many utilities that’s built into a new smart luggage brand called Raden, which launches Tuesday. Raden charges your phone, gives you details about TSA wait lines, and alerts you via Bluetooth when your bag is coming down the carousel.

The bag is made out of durable Makrolon polycarbonate and weighs just 7.5 lbs. Inside is a removable compact battery with two ports that are accessible from the outside of the case. The battery averages about five full phone charges. It will even let you order an Uber.

They’ve also designed a sleek companion app to access all of Raden’s features from your cellphone.

Raden isn’t the first to launch a smart luggage startup: Competitor Bluesmart launched as an Indiegogo campaign in 2014 and shipped out 10,000 presold carry-ons in August 2015.

It has many of the same features as Raden, but only one model for now. Raden, on the other hand, comes in a 28″ check-in size and is available in seven colors. And it’s cheaper (Bluesmart’s bag costs $399).

Gimmick or genius? Only time and travelers will tell.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Unclaimed Baggage Gets a Second Life

While Scottsboro, Alabama may not immediately jump out as an interesting or exotic travel destination to many it is home to resale shop, of sorts, that gets all its product from the travel industry. The Unclaimed Baggage Center offers shoppers a unique experience in buying gently used items.

It works like this – after a 90 day period in which airlines attempt to reunite passengers with their wayward luggage it gets sold to the Unclaimed Baggage Center who has a contract with most of the major airlines. In fact, they buy lost luggage in bulk and sight unseen. After the sorting process all desirable clothes are dry-cleaned, jewelry is appraised and cleaned and electronics are cleared of personal data before making it to the sales floor. Anything that isn’t thrown away is cleaned and prepped to be donated through their Reclaimed for Good program which helps people around the world.

The major attraction, of course, are high dollar items that Unclaimed Baggage Center sells for a fraction of the cost.

The business idea was the brain child of Doyle Owens. In 1970 Owens set out towards Washington D.C. with only an idea, a borrowed truck and $300 dollar loan to acquire his first load of unclaimed baggage. He rented an old house for and simply set out the items on card tables. People loved it. The idea was an overnight success. This family business was run by Owens, wife Sue and their two sons. And eventually grew into the only lost luggage store in the United States. Today the business is run by son, Bryan who bought the business in 1995.

Over forty years of operation the business developed relationships with airlines and other transportation companies. At first the store only received attention in regional media, however, as word spread about the unusual store whose stock included high-dollar and exotic items from around the world, Unclaimed Baggage Center made a national name for itself.

The store attracts about one million visitors a year from all of the United States and many foreign countries.

Jody Victor