Roll. Here, there, and everywhere.
I’ve gone so long without a carry-on, roll-behind suitcasey thing. I’d borrow them if I was desperate*, but if the trip was short enough—even for business trips—I’d try to use only a backpack.
But at 25, with a year and a half of professionalism under my belt, it was time. So in response to my Christmas list, my grandmother bought me the Samsonite shown here (though in baggage-claim-camoflage black). A really nice bag. Thing of it is, however, the wheels are spinners, and I’ve got to wondering about the design.
Nearly all bags with wheels—indeed, just about all of Samsonite’s—come with two fixed wheels. That design has worked great, with the only drawback being one must lift the whole suitcase if one needs to move it a few inches to the left or right. The bag I have has four spinning wheels, a feature I didn’t notice until my suitcase started rolling away from me on the sloped curb as I waited at the airport bus stop. Then on the subway, the train made a quick stop, and zip! There the bag tries to roll away again! Since I use public transit every day and am hyper-conscious of where my stuff is relative to the people around me, I’m not too concerned about turning around to find my suitcase getting off at a station without me. But it begs the question: what is the design advantage of having omnidirectional wheels on a suitcase?
Is there a market segment—in Tokyo or midtown Manhattan perhaps—that needs to parallel park its luggage? Are United Airlines serpentine check-in queues getting so compacted we need bags that can maneuver without actually turning? I suppose it’s nice that I don’t have to wait for space to clear in front of me before I can tilt a two-fixed-wheeled bag into motion, but geez, I’d much rather not have to witness gravity chuck my best Christmas gift under a Silver Line bus.
* The last time I hadto borrow a suitcase, I borrowed my roommate’s. At Dulles, security pulled me aside for a random check and also swabbed my borrowed suitcase for evidence of explosive material, which, wouldn’t you know it, tested positive for nuclear radiation. It took a very kind security guard and a very scared me five minutes to figure out/remember that my roommate had previously lived in a part of the country famous for its nuclear testing. No more borrowed bags . . . ever!