Traveling easy, without any baggage

A new service targeting business travelers will do the packing and schlepping of baggage for you, Business 2.0 reports.

By Diane Anderson, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- In the time it takes you to read this sentence, a couple more air travelers will have had their suitcases lost or mishandled by airlines. The problem is only going to get worse if, as expected, the volume of passengers grows more than 50 percent by 2020.

Throw in longer waits at check-in and the baggage carousel, and it's a great time to sell road warriors on a premium luggage service that bypasses the airlines altogether.

That's the idea behind FlyLite, the brainchild of former investment adviser Steve Zilinek. Customers send FlyLite their business travel gear, which later meets up with them on the road.

But, unlike existing services, the company doesn't just overnight it to their hotel so it arrives before they do -- it also dry-cleans the clothes and stores everything in its warehouses between trips.

Users choose what goes on each journey via the iCloset, a remote wardrobe manager on the FlyLite website. Cost: $100 per trip. "Our clients have money," Zilinek says. "What they need is time."

FlyLite claims to save three hours per trip in packing, airport, and laundry time. For its average customer, who travels once a week, that frees up 150 hours per year.

"There's a lot of upside," says Joel Chusid, chairman of the Association of Travel Marketing Executives. "Down the line you may see more carriers charging for luggage and that will make this service even more attractive."

Currently FlyLite has closets in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. With funding from angel investment group Tag, Zilinek aims to add closets in 12 more major cities by the end of the year.

FlyLite inked a deal in March with National Livery so users can add a limo to and from the airport by checking a box on the iCloset. Zilinek also is looking at deals that will let customers pay with frequent-flier miles.

The service isn't without its wrinkles -- FlyLite requires 12 hours' notice, so you'll have to pack your own bag for that last-minute red-eye. Still, the promise of suitcase-free air travel may be all that it needs to take off.


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