Over the past two years, Johnathan Webster has taken nearly 60 flights and successfully avoided one bane of airline travel: checking his luggage.
Webster and his wife, Gizem Mut-Webster, have evaded checking luggage on flights since they backpacked through Europe in college. As students travelling on a restricted budget, they took issue with the stringent bag policies and punishing luggage fees enforced by many airlines.
They began to brainstorm a clever solution: What if they created a luggage brand that not only looked sleek but could defy those policies?
The result is Wool & Oak, a two-year-old company that creates stylish, modular luggage designed to get around airline bag policies. The brand's most recent product, which debuted on Tuesday, is a two-part duffel backpack that can neatly be disguised as a single carry-on item.
Here's what it looks like and how it works.
Looks pretty much like a regular backpack, right?
But once you're on a flight, Wool & Oak's bag handily unzips into two parts.
In an interview with Business Insider, Webster said his intention in creating a luggage brand was to offer a set of bags to make travelling easier.
One of the brand's draws is that it allows travellers to bring multiple bags disguised as a single one aboard a flight so they can avoid paying high baggage fees.
Webster says he's used the bags to store as much as two weeks' worth of luggage. He estimates he's saved hundreds of dollars in luggage fees -- many airlines charge about $US25 or more to check a bag.
Most airlines' policies allow only one carry-on bag and one personal item. Wool & Oak's bag is designed to let travellers carry just one piece of luggage onto the plane. "I haven't been caught yet," Webster said.
Airlines often attempt to eke out extra money from customers through add-on charges. Packing luggage strategically -- and making sure carry-on bags are within an airline's weight and height restrictions -- helps travellers avoid unnecessary fees.
Source: New York Times