September 24, 2013

There is nothing better than an aspirational brand to motivate and Tumi, known throughout the world as a leader in innovative travel, is one such brand. “It’s all about the carry-on bag,” says Mike Landry, director of special markets for Tumi. “Nobody wants to carry big luggage today. Carry-on bags make people more mobile and saves them from the checked luggage fee.”

Those fees are not a minor issue. Last year, the nation’s 15 largest carriers collected a staggering $3.5 billion in bag fees combined, up 3.8 percent from 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Free luggage is a thing of the past. Many travelers are trying to keep the weight of their bags down in order to save the checked bag fee. 

Luggage manufacturers have responded and can’t make their bags light enough. “In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location,” says Landry. “In the luggage industry, it’s all about lightweight, lightweight, lightweight.” There have been cases where a suit holder or pockets have been eliminated because hardware means weight and today, every ounce counts. 

Hard-shelled cases, with swiveling wheels at all four corners and a telescoping handle, are a big trend now because they withstand wear and tear, don’t get dirty like cloth, and protect one’s belongings. The four-wheel spinner systems allow greater flexibility and easier movement for the user. They can be pushed or pulled. It allows the traveler to move through airports faster, easier, and with less stress on the arm and back. 

According to Landry, hard-shelled luggage first appeared in the Pacific Rim and spread quickly to Europe. It is now getting traction in North America. Tumi has taken these two trends and have combined them in its Tegra-Lite line. Tegra-Lite is made from Tegris, a revolutionary polypropylene thermoplastic composite material created by Milliken for use in lifesaving armor, NASCAR racecars, and protective gear for NFL players.

The Tegra-Lite line includes carry-on bags, medium- and large-size four-wheel spinner bags, interior accessory pockets and tie-down straps, integrated TSA-approved locks, bottom handles, and exterior bumpers. They retail anywhere from $595 to $995. 

Softer materials are used in Tumi’s new Virtue collection of ultra-durable, ultra-lightweight day bags. Made from lightweight nylon, there are six components in the Virtue line: Courage and Diligence backpacks, the Fortitude flight bag, Triumph convertible, Victory slim laptop bag, and Superior duffle. Most are available in either Raven Blue or Steel Gray. They retail from $195 to $395.