Leading the Pack
After September 11, most airlines instituted a "one-plus" rule restricting carry-ons to a single regulation-size bag, plus a smaller pocketbook or laptop. But less luggage didn't necessarily mean shorter security lines, as bags that were cumbersome to open and unpack made for slow checkpoints. Now, luggage manufacturers have come to the rescue, with some innovative solutions:
- ID and Boarding Pass Holder: This new accessory helps keep your important documents together. Hang it around your neck on an adjustable cord or slip it into a pocket or briefcase, and you won't have to dig for your papers at every checkpoint. From Travelon ($9.99, 800-537-5544, www.travelonbags.com).
- The eVEST: An innovative jacket with zip-off sleeves and 15 pockets, it's the equivalent of a carry-on bag you wear. It has a "Personal Area Network" for your cords, plus a laptop pocket in back. Instead of removing all your electronic devices at security and turning them on and off, just put the jacket through the x-ray machine. From Scott eVEST LLC ($129, 866-909-8378, http://www.-scottevest.com).
- The WebMobilizer: This laptop case features retractable wheels and a telescoping mono-pole. Accessing it at checkpoints is-literally-a snap. You also get $1,500 in insurance for peace of mind. From Swiss Army ($365, http://www.-swissarmy.com).
- The Upright Virtual Office: A wheeled briefcase, computer case and overnighter in one, The Upright Virtual Office was popular before September 11, but its real selling point is what designers did afterward: They reduced its size so it's all but guaranteed to fit in even the tightest overhead compartment. From Atlantic Luggage Company ($169, http://www.atlanticluggage.com).
- The Expandable Carry-On With Suiter: This compact, lightweight carry-on has storage for hanging clothes and a back "sleeve" that slides over a wheeled bag. The bag features two outside pockets, a front storage compartment and a back compartment with a removable suiter. From Tumi ($350, 800-322-8864, http://www.tumi.com).
Christopher Elliott is a writer and commentator and the editor of www.elliott.org.