The Checked Bag Has Returned, and it's Hotter Than Ever

Home Travel The Checked Bag Has Returned, and it's Hotter Than Ever
The Checked Bag Has Returned, and it's Hotter Than Ever

Checking luggage is often considered a mundane part of the travel experience; one that often results in waits, worry, and frustration. The payoff, particularly on longer trips, is the elimination of some schlep. Carry-on bags can be packed lighter or dispensed with altogether, and more space means more carefree souvenir hunting.

This season, a number of luggage makers have introduced new check-in sized bags as the fashion statement of the larger case begins to return to the travel sphere. Concerns over lithium batteries in many newer luggage models have led to manufacturers making the batteries removable or omitting them altogether from the larger models, which are out of sight during travel and have no need for portable charging banks.

After last year’s recap of hot carry-on bag trends, here are a few new items in check-in bag fashion from the major manufacturers.

Arlo Skye

Most of the design elements of the brand’s vaunted carry-on bag remain in The Check-In, introduced late last year, although they have been modified to better suit the more rough-and-tumble world of checked bags (the Carry-On can be checked, but it’s not recommended). Silky aluminum-magnesium alloy has given way to much tougher micro-textured polycarbonate alloy in the same color palette to create matching sets. Stitched leather handles have given way to tougher lightweight compounds, and the charger has been dispensed with.

Larger wheels support the increase in size, and the zipperless clamshell open with TSA-accessible combination clasps remains. Travelers who prefer a carry-on size but like the hardier polycarbonate shell can also choose from a smaller model. The Check-In retails for $495 directly from the Arlo Skye website; the carryon (which includes the built-in charger) is $450. The original aluminum carryon is $550.

Montblanc

The maker of luxury fountain pens, leather goods, and watches, is introducing a collection of trolley cases in five sizes next month. The new #MY4810 collection features a German-constructed multi-stop bar to suit travelers of different heights, while Japanese-made ball-bearing wheels allow for for smooth travel through airports. Even high-end suitcase wheels tend to be high-mortality items in check-in situations, and any Montblanc boutique can replace them.

The frame is made of sturdy polycarbonate, with leather detailing including a side-insert, which can be monogrammed. Other features include a padded laptop compartment, interior organizational features such as zipped pockets, and a zip closure. Check-in size cases retail from $980.

Globe-Trotter

The British luggage maker has been making cases in Hertfordshire since the reign of Queen Victoria, and they’ve been building them to last. When Elizabeth II set out on her honeymoon in 1947, she did so with a set of Globe-Trotter luggage, and reportedly still travels with the same case. Although the original styles and models are still available, the mark introduces new limited-edition styles each year, often inspired by great fashion and travel personalities and institutions.

This year’s collection is inspired by and in collaboration with The Goring Hotel, a hundred-year-old London institution. Oxblood colored exteriors evoke the rich wood paneling of the hotel’s interior, while the blue silk damask that lines many of the hotel’s interior rooms (in addition to many royal carriages) boldly looks out from the interior of the case when opened. If having your belongings travel in a case padded like a long-standing luxury hotel room doesn’t scream panache, one might wonder what, in fact, does. Check-in sizes start at £2,230 (the price includes VAT, which is subtracted for North American purchasers); carry-on sizes are also available.

Away

This young, social media forward travel company introduced it’s smart carry-on in 2015 and has introduced new products at near-lightening speed since. In 2018 the brand has introduced a new color, the lusciously baby blue “Sky” to its line of multi-sized polycarbonate bags. Also this year, perhaps on the heels of Arlo Skye’s making aluminum bags once again chic, the brand also launched an aluminum bag in carry-on and check-in sizes, a number of smaller accessory bags, and a version of the original carry-on bag with an exterior pocket.

Away bags are available at more popular prices: Check-in sizes in polycarbonate start at $275; Aluminum Check-in bags start at $575.

TravelPro

The bag carried by airline crew the world over introduces new products consistently, and this year the product is the brand’s lightest-ever check-in size bag. Spinner-style in lightweight water-resistant polyester is the new Maxlite 5, which weighs just over seven pounds empty in the 26″ check-in size model. There are four color options and it’s economical in price, as well as weight: starting at around $135 direct from the manufacturer, it’s the most affordable bag in our survey.

Bonus: Rimowa

Although the famed German brand’s distinctive collaborations in celebration of its 120 year anniversary are limited to carry-on (or “Cabin”) sizes, they’re simply too stylish to exclude. The collaboration is with the Milanese Italian streetwear label OFF-WHITE. The RIMOWA X OFF-WHITE case is based on the classic ridged Rimowa Essential model, but has no interior lining and is made of transparent polycarbonate, baring the contents for the world to see as the carrier traverses it. The limited run collaboration is available at Rimowa and OFF-WHITE boutiques and online from June 25.

The second collaboration for Rimowa is with the Roman luxury goods brand Fendi, which incorporates the interlocking “F” design into the Fendi x Rimowa case in several colors with Fendi leather handles, tags, and exterior closure strap with TSA-compatible clasps and a clamshell design. The Fendi collaboration is available at Rimowa and Fendi boutiques.