by Leo Jakobson | January 27, 2014
 High-end luggage maker Tumi unveiled Alpha 2, the successor to its very popular, flagship Alpha line of FTX ballistic-nylon bags at the PPAI Expo’s “brand.” pavilion in early January. As the biggest change to Tumi’s line-up in years, Alpha 2 incorporates more than 30 new features and improvements, says Mike Landry, director of special markets for Tumi. The biggest change, unsurprisingly, is lighter weight, which Landry says is the single most important factor that business travelers are looking for now when it comes to their luggage.

Tumi Alpha 2
While the current changes only apply to the wheeled travel models, the remainder of the collection — business cases and non-wheeled travel bags — will be switched over to Alpha 2 come fall. The Alpha 2 bags are available in two- and four-wheel models for improved mobility. The two-wheel bags can also now be nested to make storage easier. 

Among the key changes are new, recessed inline skate wheels that swivel 360 degrees and provide more stability, while also taking up less interior space. A new polypropylene frame and X-Brace ,45 three-height handle system made of aircraft aluminum lies flatter, taking up less packing space, providing more protection from damage and is nearly 40 percent lighter. In all, the new design provides 10 percent more space than the original Alpha line and 8 percent more than the Alpha Lightweight. 

The top and side handles now lie flat and can be retracted, and a bottom handle has been added. Tougher impact-resistant caps have been added to the corners as part of the tougher new Durafold construction method. The front-panel U-Zip pockets expand inward, reducing exterior gusseting. The Tumi Tracer tag is on the rear exterior of the bag. 

While retaining the 2.5-inch expansion of the Alpha line, the Alpha 2 bags also uses a new, Lever Lock Expansion System that uses a spring-loaded lever to provide 25 percent more capacity. A lightweight, protective honeycomb frame also lines the expansion area.