Baggage Claim: Does ECBC’s New Roller Bag Really Eliminate Removing A … – Forbes
On a recent trip to Italy, The Hotel Detective test-drove the new Pegasus Convertible Rolling Backpack (below), a roller bag from e|c|b|c (ec-bc.com), a California design firm.
The bag’s unique selling point, according to the company, is the FastPass system, which refers to the top compartment (second below). It contains to-measure slots for a laptop (up to 15 inches) and a Smartphone, as well as a third compartment as wide as a Kindle for other devices. According to e|c|b|c, the compartment eliminates the need to take out the laptop. Just unzip and fold back the flap side, which contains the laptop slot, and place the bag on the scanner belt. The compartment also contains a portable power pack that charges Smartphones, tablets, and a slew of other devices (third below. It’s included in the Pegasus suggested retail price, $399.99.
THD discovered that TSA has not yet gotten the memo on Pegasus. At JFK, the TSA official said the computer had to come out. Ditto at Milan Malpensa and London Heathrow. In fact, e|c|b|c does not have TSA approval or an exemption from the “laptops-out requirement” for Pegasus, although the website claim sure leads one to believe it does: “This bag features the ECBC FastPass® System allowing you to unzip the specialized electronics compartment, lay the bag flat on the security conveyer, and go through TSA without unpacking laptop, tablet and cables.”
So does this clip Pegasus’ wings? THD doesn’t think so because in a lot of other respects, this is a very good roller bag. (And if you’re TSA PRE, it’s a moot point.)
Pegasus (22 inches tall, 14 inches wide), is a four-compartment layer cake (nine inches deep in total). The bottom compartment contains the padded back straps that convert the bag into a backpack. Above that is a narrow compartment that THD found was perfect for thin items, flat or rolled, such as underwear, and also for documents (an inch of restaurant menus). Next Next is the main compartment, which is deeper at the wheel-end than at the handle-end of the bag, a compromise dictated by having to fit in the back straps. Finally, on top, is the electronics compartment.
So here’s why the bag passed THD, if not TSA:
• Looks aren’t everything, but this is a very handsome bag, made of Kodra Nylon, which is lightweight and resists abrasion very well. Note that it’s water-resistant, not water-proof.
• Pegasus is well balanced, even when loaded with a soft-sided bag or a weighty briefcase. Handles at the top, side, and bottom made it easy to carry Pegasus down railway-station stairs and stow it in overhead bins or taxi trunks.
• The FastPass compartment makes it easy to pull out the computer at security. Having the gadgets in one place was a big convenience as well.
• The zippers are made by YKK, the largest zipper manufacturer in the world–it makes roughly half of them–and their zippers, known for durability, are sought out by designers. E|c|b|c also claims that the zippers “self-repair.” Should the zipper come off the teeth as a result of overstuffing, run the zipper back over the point where it derailed, says the company, and voilá. THD’s advice: Never tempt a zipper. Pack, then throw out one-third of what you packed.
• Although the main compartment gets shallower toward the handle, THD found it adequate for an 18-day trip. On the outbound leg, he fit all of his trousers , shirts, and sweaters in the compartment. One the way home, he had to rethink everything because he’d been given a terra-cotta cooking pot by the chef at Aimo e Nadia, one of Milan’s finest restaurants. (THD raved about the chickpea soup, saying he wanted to try it at home, and the chef said to do it, he had to have the pot, made in Puglia.) The pot snuggled down in the bottom corner from Milan to JFK, cushioned by a thick scarf. Everything else except THD’s outerwear fit in the compartment, too.