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Bright and brilliant

Have you ever asked yourself why suitcases are usually a dull colour? There is no good reason why luggage should not be painted in bright reds or canary yellow, thus diminishing the need for a sharp eye during identification.

"Hello! Over here!"

Green may be my favourite colour, but when my friends presented me with a bright lime hardcase on my 21st birthday, I was quite surprised, to say the least. A few days later, I was about to catch my first plane ride solo to London. Call me a mommy's girl, but airport taxes for Maltese citizens are the highest in Europe, and considering that Malta is an island, airlines aren't faced with much travel competition. In short, easyJET don't operate here, baby, and I don't fly as often as I'd like to.

Anyhow, as I got to baggage claims at Stansted airport, I was pleased to immediately notice my bright green suitcase on one of the twenty carousels, right on the opposite side of the hall. I didn't even have to check the monitor.

Seen from a distance

A few months later, during a flight from Berlin back to Malta, I found myself trying to sleep as passengers left the plane during a stopover in Hamburg. I sipped a carton of orange juice, with my head resting against the window, watching the baggage for the people stopping in Hamburg being quickly hauled out of the plane. One of the suitcases was a bright lime green. I blinked.

A... huh?!

So this rather bashful Maltese twenty-two year old, sprinted from her seat to the nearest flight attendant, her feet still adorned with happy-face-toe-socks alone. The nice man, did not mock me, but had a hard time understanding how I had recognised my luggage from so far, and no I hadn't painted it, it was bought that way. The plane was delayed by about twenty minutes and they still didn't manage to bring it back quickly enough. He said he would inform the relevant authorities but I still should look out for my baggage at Malta International Airport.

There was never a happier passenger claiming at 'lost luggage' at the MIA. The adventures of my bright green luggage concluded when it arrived on an LH flight, about five hours later.

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I thought MY luggage was cool until I came across Peter Yeadon's FIDO luggage. Dragging around your personal belongings at the airport needn't be a drag any more! "Fido Luggage appears, at first glance, to be remarkable only because of its colorful exterior and blob-like shape. But then you might notice it has a tail. And that it moves on its own, heels beside its owner, and changes direction on command. The owner wears a wristband, which holds an on-off switch for activating Fido, and a receiver for programming voice recognition. And in ways that only a robot can be superior to a dog, even when Fido gets old, you can still retrain it to respond to new commands.

Fido has laser sensors that keep it from nipping the heels of other travelers, and the ability to recognize and navigate uneven terrain. The internal battery can be recharged through an electrical cord, and also recharges through the rotation of Fido's (independently controlled!) wheels. Fido's shiny coat comes in an array of solid colors and computer-generated patterns, or you can customize your own. And for times when Fido gets tired, a leash comes built-in."

March 2007 addendum: In 2007, cheap airlines germanwings and ryanair began operating in Malta. Halleluhia.

 

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