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by Melinda Ligos | May 24, 2016
Imagine arriving late to the airport and realizing you're in danger of missing your flight. Then imagine that you have a piece of luggage that doubles as a solar-powered electric scooter. Simply unfold the scooter attached to the bag's side and glide to your gate at about 12 miles per hour -- just in time for your flight.

This isn't science fiction. Manufactured by California-based Coolpeds USA, the Briefcase Electric Scooter is the latest example of a new luggage trend.

"Bags are working harder these days," says George Cassius, president of Earth Gear Corporation, an incentive company that represents a number of travel goods firms. "You don't see a lot of just plain luggage anymore," he says.

A good percentage of bags now include extra features, like LED lighting systems (to illuminate the inside of your bag once it's opened); mechanisms to connect a set of bags together; electronic biometric locks; tracking devices; and even cup holders.

Bags with USB charging ports are hot sellers, according to Cassius, like the Atlantic Unite 2 21" Expandable Spinner from Travelpro (pictured above), which has an external USB Port and integrated battery pouch, in addition to eight wheels for smooth gliding.

"It's annoying when you go to the airport and all of the charging stations are full," Cassius says. "This eliminates that worry altogether."

Backpacks continue to be another popular item in incentive programs, says Mike Landry, vice president of special markets at Tumi.

"Backpacks used to be considered outdoorsy, but now they're extremely fashionable -- ours are kind of a status symbol for commuters," says Landry, noting that the backpack category has been growing steadily for nearly three years.

Tumi's Knox backpack, part of the Alpha Bravo collection, does more than look stylish: It's also a personal organizer, with an iPad pocket, a laptop compartment, and multiple separators for easy organization.