In the late 1990s, I bought a pretty durable and reliable Delsey carry-on roller bag. It wasn’t the most attractive piece of luggage, but it served me very well. On my most recent flight, I noticed that the inner compartment had come irreparably torn from the lining and one of the bag’s two wheels was wobbling off. After nearly 20 years of service, the old bag was ready to be decommissioned.
Even though I had a perfectly good roller bag for many years, I always looked with envy upon travelers with those smart looking Rimowa carry-ons. They were elegant, tough, no-nonsense and very expensive. Rimowa’s “Salsa Deluxe” Cabin Multiwheel with a polycarbonate shell (and a five year warranty) starts north of $600.
Back in 2015, I caught wind of a new direct-to-consumer startup that disrupted the luxury luggage game. Away launched with a carry-on that boasted the same features as a Rimowa Salsa and a lot more. Their handsome and understated carry-on boasted an ultra-light unbreakable polycarbonate shell in a choice of 8 colors, water-resistant locking YKK zippers, a telescoping handle, silent 360º spinner wheels and a lock that only you and the TSA can access.
On the outside, the roller is also equipped with a charger built into the back of the bag. It has two USB ports: 1 standard port with 1A output, the other with 2.1A output for faster charging. It can charge two devices at once, complies with FAA, TSA, IATA and DOT regulations and carries enough juice to charge an iPhone up to five times. Fabulous.
On the inside, it has a mesh compartment for bulky items, a side for softer items, a mesh sleeve for laptops and tablets and a hidden water-resistant laundry bag. Nice, nice and nice.
Then there’s the warranty. If, for whatever reason, you don’t like the bag within your first 100 days with it, you can return the bag to Away for a full, no-questions-asked refund (“No ifs, ands, or asterisks”). Beyond that, Away guarantees the bag for life. If the bag or any part of it ever breaks, they’ll repair it or replace the whole thing for free. Try that with a $650 Rimowa.
And speaking of $650 luggage… Away’s original Carry-On costs $225. It’s 21.7” x 13.7” x 9” size is cleared to fit and fly on all major airlines. The Bigger Carry-On, which sizes up to 22.7” x 14.7” x 9.6” and fits in the sizers of all major U.S. airlines, is $245. Away has also expanded their line with larger luggage you can check with “The Medium” and “The Large,” but I’m all about a carry-on.
In the interest of effective living with less but better, I have a hard rule that any new purchase of something I already have must be a replacement, not an addition. When my new Bigger Carry-On arrived the other day, I took the old Delsey off life support and delivered it to a thrift shop.
The next trip on my itinerary is a black tie wedding in Las Vegas. What a perfect maiden voyage for my new elegant, tough, no-nonsense, guaranteed-for-life, affordable, phone-charging carry-on – in black, of course.