I’m not putting my money on this one—not yet. A new company called Zero Baggage goes live this November with the goal of weaning jet-plane America off of luggage. Their idea is to cut CO2 and get us all hooked us on “virtual luggage,” or rental clothes (some new, some “pre-loved") which you select from an online menu and subsequently find waiting—how nice—in your hotel upon arrival.
The idea of flying luggage-free sounds as good to me as I imagine it sounds to anyone who’s ever faced the stay-on-this-metal-bench-with-my-luggage-or-go-pick-up-a-magazine-at-the-airport-kiosk conundrum while waiting for their flight to board. But what travel demographic, exactly, is Zero Baggage targeting here? I’m no fashionista, but the only kind of getaway I’d want to use this service for would be a trip on which I had a 100% guarantee that I’d see no one outside my immediate, nuclear family and closest circle of friends, all of whom have seen me looking like hell lots of times and have to love me anyway.
My point is this: there’s a reason people try things on in the store before buying them. Seems a bit risky to rent clothes from an online service and then count on them to make you feel snappy upon arrival (business trip), or attractively wind-swept (tropical vacation), or whatever. I appreciate ZB's spirit, but I just can't see virtual suitcases taking off as a travel trend.
To those fliers out there who are more courageous than I and want to count themselves among Zero Baggage’s first patrons: if you travel often to the same city or cities, you can keep some of your own clothes in a Zero Baggage locker on site. The deal is you leave your clothes in your hotel room, and ZB comes in, collects and cleans them, and keeps them ready for the next time you arrive.
The company will also serve as a clothing rental company for customers who are traveling not to a new city, but along that most treacherous of roads: Weight Loss Boulevard. If you know you’re going to be losing or gaining a fair bit of weight in the coming months, Zero Baggage wants you to consider them a transition rental service. Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe mid-weight, rent from ZB, and then buy new clothes when you’ve reached your goal weight.