Carry-on Size Restrictions and the Next Big Thing in Vacuum Packing

According to Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

  • A bird flaps its wings downward, pushing the air with it, and the air pushes upwards in response, keeping the bird aloft.
  • The airlines begin charging for checked bags, and passengers push back by loading up their carry-on luggage.
  • The airlines begin more strictly enforcing carry-on size restrictions, and…

I’m not sure if traveltoomuch‘s following idea related to carry-on size restriction rules falls under the heading of “practical joke” or “civil disobedience”, but no matter how it would be classified I sure hope I’m at the gate when he pulls it off:

These reports tempt me to take a grossly oversized carry-on that is silly compressible – maybe a bag filled with several feather pillows. Or beach balls. Firmly insist that it fits in the sizer, despite visual inspection clearly saying otherwise. Then demonstrate that it fits in the sizer.

Some others suggest the use of newspaper as the filler, as it can “easily be crushed down to ‘nothing'” (WilliamQ) and will make a “sound like something is breaking” (Mapsmith).

Interestingly, in 2011 a group of designers developed a concept for a piece of luggage that, while it wasn’t specifically designed to address this problem, might offer a perfect solution.

Called the PumpPack, the concept behind it was as follows:

The Pumppack suitcase uses a pumping system that allows you to pump out the air from in-between your clothes. Allowing you to compress them down and ultimately fit in more.

Despite winning an award for this design concept, the product has apparently never been brought to market. And while the designers intention was clearly to create more packing space, it doesn’t take much of a leap to see how a vacuum-pump design could be combined with an expandable layer to achieve compliance with airline carry-on size regulations.

If made well, I would purchase a product like this. My wife on the other hand tells me she wouldn’t, as she would rather just allow them to gate check the bag rather than stand there pumping the air out while the gate staff and other passengers watch on.

What about you? Would you buy an expandable PumpPack if it were available?

And if anyone reading this knows any of the PumpPack designers – Yejee Lee, Jongchan Mun, Seobin Oh and Woneui Hong – please turn them onto a little thing called Kickstarter. I’ve seen worse travel-related ideas proposed there 😉

Read the thread in its entirety: Baggage rules being enforced again

Image: “10 lbs of Spare Ribs” by Terry Robinson. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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