You Can Use Your Phone to Check This Smart Luggage In
There is one overriding reason to consider paying as much as $1,300 for a suitcase with Rimowa’s electronic tag: It makes checking your bag a breeze, saving loads of time.
The tech uses an app, an electronic ink display, and back-end integration with airline baggage systems to create and display a baggage tag. This lets you skip the part where an airline counter clerk loops one of those sticky paper tags through the handle of your luggage. Just check your bag using your phone, drop it at the counter, and head for the nearest Cinnabon.
Of course this requires an app. You download it from the App Store (Android is coming) and pair it to your bag via Bluetooth. However, you must use a supported airline’s check-in app to complete the process. So far only Lufthansa supports the electronic tag process, but United is testing it.
When you check in, a digital luggage tag containing all the appropriate barcodes and other info appears on the bag’s E Ink display strip. Rimowa says its tests showed airport scanners read its e-tags correctly 98 percent of the time, compared to 93 percent for those handle-befouling paper tags.
The company also says the AAA batteries powering the screen—no charging!—are good for 800 Bluetooth pairings, and the e-tag itself is 10 times stronger than Gorilla glass. And don’t worry if one of the gorillas loading your bag manages to break it; a five-year warranty covers it.
Bag It, Tag It
Beyond quicker check-ins and expedited luggage-dumping, the app taps an airline’s baggage pipeline to provide a measure of bag-tracking. It’ll let you know if your bag is on the plane safely, but it won’t help you chase down the guy who stole it.
In that sense, Rimowa’s tech-enhanced baggage is more limited than other “smart” luggage” we’ve seen. And smart luggage is now a thing, with companies like Bluesmart, Barracuda, and Raden are packing their bags with batteries, USB ports, and GPS trackers. But each of those companies is a startup, while Rimowa’s been at it since 1898.
You’ll find the electronic tag option on Rimowa’s aluminum Topas cases and polycarbonite Salsa, Limbo, and Bossa Nova line later this spring. Depending on the size and style, prices will range from around $500 to $1,300. Baggage fees not included.
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