Travelers wishing to avoid dreaded airline baggage fees will soon have a new option: displaying advertisements on their luggage in exchange for fee reimbursement.
Orion Travel Technology will give travelers a gift card loaded with $50 -- a typical round-trip baggage fee -- which can only be used at an airlines' ticket counter when luggage is checked. The card will correspond via a UPC code to the luggage, and can be reloaded by Orion every time a traveler flies. Orion will give participants a two-piece, advertisement-branded set of luggage worth $299: a 21-inch hard-shell carry-on and a 29-inch hard-shell trolley.
"I started the company because I was paying over $300 in baggage fees for my family to travel via an airline," says Gary German, the founder of Orion and a former flight attendant. "Plus the baggage carousel was always an ordeal because all of our luggage looked like everyone else's."
That's not the case with these suitcases, which will be covered with colorful advertisements burned into the plastic shell. Travelers will be able to personalize one side of the luggage with their favorite superhero, university, sports team, or more, with an advertisement going on the other side. Advertisements will be for airlines, car rental companies, presidential campaigns, TV shows, hotel chains, cruise lines, online retail chains, and more.
"Essentially, it's a NASCAR hood that can travel the world in a day," adds German.
The service will launch in 2016.