If you ever need a reason to invest in a four figure suitcase from luxury brand RIMOWA, the company has one futuristic reason to make you pay more.
The German manufacturer has rolled out a range of suitcases that come with a built-in E-Ink display, which enables travelers to check-in their suitcases with their mobile phone. There’s no need for a printer to print out the luggage tag, as all the necessary barcodes, destination details and even Priority status, are written on the electronic black and white display.
So instead of checking in online and heading to the check-in counter to check in your bags, simply deposit them and you’re ready to go. The E-Ink display is made of a Gorilla Glass-like material, and can likely take more pounding than the suitcase itself, says Mr Sven Lepschy, the Vice President of RIMOWA Electronic Tag.
What if the 2 AAA battery dies out in the middle of the flight? Well, the batteries last for over 800 transmissions, and the way E-Ink works is it maintains its last display state so if the battery dies with details of your tag, the information remains. If the display does not change, it means you need fresh batteries.
Yes, this means that the airline’s advanced boarding app needs to cater for this E-Ink display, as the data of the traveler is sent from the phone to the suitcase via Bluetooth.
What if someone scratches the display, or covers up the window with paint? Well, what if the luggage sticker airlines paste on the bag handle tears or comes loose, or if the ink itself fades? This is the airline industry’s way to changing the game and it seems that more airlines and suitcase manufacturers are looking at smart luggage tags, to change air travel.
This electronic suitcase isn’t a new idea from the company, as RIMOWA previously unveiled it at the FTE Global 2015 trade show in Las Vegas, and bagged (pun intended) the Best Bagge Airline Initiative award at the show then.
For the last six months, RIMOWA has teamed up with German carrier Lufthansa to introduce this service to frequent fliers and while the first three months saw little activity, the pace picked up in the last six months. There have been over 7,500 users on the brand’s mobile app, and over 5,500 baggages with this tag have been flying on over 1,000 flights.
Lufthansa is the company’s first airline partner, though it says it is in talks with 30 airlines, and will announce a tie-up with an Asian carrier soon.
AS for the cost of the bag, pricing starts from S$1,430 for the RIMOWA Limbo Multiwheel Electronic Tag, and S$1,710 for the RIMOWA Topas Multiwheel Electronic Tag. Prices vary with size and model, but it looks like travelers are paying about S$120 more for a RIMOWA bag that has the display, then the same model which does not have it.
With smart bags now offering location services, GPS tracking, USB ports and even wheels, an E-Ink display seems quite old fashioned. Let’s just hope that baggage handlers don’t see the lack of a luggage tag sticker, and immediately tosses it into the lost and found.