The Suit Case Dilemma


Traveling is a joy to me now. I have spent so much of my life on the road starting back when I hawked mail opening machines for a living and traveling was more of a chore. It was just a way to get between the joys of visiting Vice Presidents at credit card banks in Delaware and operations managers at the lock box operations in Charlotte to convince them that I could improve their cash flow. Then I moved to the glamorous life of a consultant, flying between Ottawa and Regina, they are in Canada in case you are American, or London and Mexico City.  
The one rule I tried to live with is always carry my suit case on a plane. Anyone who knows my Saskatoon four flight lost bag story knows why. So I am always on the lookout for the perfect carry on suitcase. When I first started flying a lot the road warriors all carried “suiters” — the folding suit bag that was a big envelope to hang your clothes in. It was fine for clothes, but stunk for shoes and toiletries.  
Then the rolling suitcase was invented. I think Lark came out with the first little bag on wheels. That came in light blue meant exclusively for ladies. They must have been add with Barbie play car wheels they had gotten cheep in China. The bags were just a regular hard side suitcases with these tiny wheels and a leash to pull the suit case around. It never really worked, tipped over all the time and was heavy empty. For the record I never owned one of those. I was using the Hartman suiters and a Hartman bag that had something akin to carpeting on the outside.
I will never forget the first time I was sitting in National airport in DC, as it was called when Ronald Reagan was just a president and not an airport name, and I saw a flight attendant walk by pulling a TravelPro rolling carry on. I followed that woman for five or six gates trying to get a look at the name on the bag. There was no internet back in those days, but the Sky Mall magazine yielded the information on that perfect bag. My first Travel pro went around the world at least four years before it was replaced by a second one.
Then the TSA changed the size bag we could carry on and I get a new bag from some place like Tuesday morning because I was not traveling for work anymore. I got red so I could find it in a crowd. It was fine. No bells and whistles but after a number of years the handle gave way and I replaced it with another red one that has served me well.  
Carter coveted my red bag with the extra long handle so when she went to Atlanta last weekend I let her take it. Sadly she checked it rather than following my rule of never check a suitcase. I got it back from her today to pack for my trip to Nantucket and discovered the plastic handle on the base that acts as the foot/balance so the case can stand up had been broken off. It’s too late to replace this bag for the trip in the morning, but I did get right on the Internet to order my next rolling bag so I am well prepared.  
It’s not bad timing since the TSA has once again ever so slightly shrunk the bag size they will allow on planes. I feel like the TSA gets a kick back from suitcase manufacturers every time they change the bag rules. This will be the final voyage for my broken red bag. I am sure I will be annoyed through the whole trip that it won’t stand up just right, but at least I am only going to Nantucket and not doing a planes, trains and subway deal going between European capitals. Oh those were the days.

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