Business Traveller

Hands-free luggage: How would that work?

Maureen O'Hare, CNNUpdated 25th July 2016
(CNN) — Ever thought your life could be improved by having a short, inflexible tail? Then My Hitch -- a new hands-free travel accessory -- could be the gadget for you.
The concept's simple: Hook one end of the 22-centimeter piece of curved plastic into your waistband or belt and rest the extended handle of your wheeled suitcase in the other.
Then stroll off -- chatting on your phone, gesticulating wildly or playing double-handed accordion -- with your suitcase rolling merrily behind.
Think of it like a caravan vacation, except you're the car and there's a tow bar at the top of your buttocks.

How does it work?

There are a few obvious hitches to My Hitch, but designer Robert Lian, a 53-year-old Florida-based airline pilot, reckons he's anticipated most of them.
1. If you start waddling around a crowded concourse like a blundering scorpion, you're bound to take out some passersby with your luggage tail.
That's why the My Hitch website includes the warning -- underlined, in bold block capitals -- that it's not to be used with children or animals, on the street or near vehicles or in elevators or escalators.
So where exactly can you use it?
Well, Lian says it's "designed for travelers who frequent large airports and have long walks to the gate" (although you'd better take it off before going near any stairs).
2. A question of public decency: Are my pants going to fall down?
"If you are wearing an elastic waistband, then it certainly would," admits Lian. He says "the product works well with either a tight waistband or a belt."
Though he does add the alarming postscript, "there is a slight tug on your waistband with each step."
So once you get past the sensation of thinking your pants are about to fall down, you're home free.
3. While you're busy using your hands-free capability to juggle, do double-handed high fives or whatever, isn't there the risk that someone can creep behind you and steal your stuff?
"Even with your bag directly behind you, if someone tried to unzip your bag, you would definitely feel it," says Lian.
"Another option is to wear My Hitch off to one side, and glance at your bag every so often as you walk."
4. Just how mobile is it?
The YouTube demo shows Lian and a female model sauntering around counterclockwise, suitcase close behind like a duckling with its mother.
So, unlike Derek Zoolander, My Hitch can turn left -- but can it turn right?
No problem, says Lian, "You can make a U turn or even walk in circles" (not to be recommended unless you really want to infuriate your fellow passengers).
And, if the matter was in any doubt, he reassuringly adds that "there's really no limit" to how far one can walk with My Hitch.
"I've walked two to three miles demonstrating my product around Miami Airport."
With any new innovation -- particularly those that risk indecent exposure or clipping strangers' shins -- haters are gonna hate.
But Lian has an answer for the doubters.
Some people "think it looks odd. But that's precisely what people thought back in 1987 when Robert Plath (a Northwest Airlines pilot) introduced the modern roller board -- with its collapsible handle.
"It took many years for the public to accept this new device."
My Hitch retails at $17.95 and is available for purchase via mybaghitch.com.
In the latest episode of Business Traveller, CNN's Richard Quest looks at the latest innovations in luggage. Watch below.
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