Away Travel is offering a trade-out program for their previous generation bags in a move that is smart and helpful. Customers who previously purchased a piece of luggage from Away Travel can swap out their now out-of-compliance styles for new.
New rules went into effect with most carriers prohibiting the passage of lithium-ion batteries operational in luggage making previous versions of Away ineligible for travel in their intended state. The previous model used a fixed lithium batteries secured into the bag with screws in a separate compartment. In order to comply with new airline rules, one would have to either check their carry-on luggage (which I will add does not make it any safer, perhaps less so) or leave it at home.
The do-it-all luggage piece offers a high-quality polycarbonate shell that fits easily into overhead bins. Inside the case, connected to the outer shell is the battery which allows you to charge your phone while waiting in the terminal. The interior lining removes most need for packing cubes by partitioning space conveniently.
While Away is not responsible for airlines and security agencies ever-changing rules, it makes sense they would want to find a way for their first customers to utilize purchases that may have been made within the last year and are now effectively useless.
I recently recommended the current style to a colleague because of the excellent innovations for the price point in which they operate. For example, the battery is no longer fixed but ejectable which makes it far more useful and easier to charge. On the previous model, you would plug your suitcase in the night before a trip to charge it and use the battery as you travel. But charging a suitcase and charging from a suitcase is completely different than ejecting the battery and charging that the night before. It’s far easier now, it avoids arguments at the gate or mandatory checking of your luggage.
The image below shows the TSA-approved locking zippers (combination lock), handle, and USB access port. Not pictured is the away luggage charger cord, a simple USB mini which is widely available if replacement is needed.
Separately from that, the front pocket version is one that I am personally eyeing though I have not tried it out yet.
Owners of the original Away Carry-On have been contacted regarding an Away battery replacement program for their newer ejectable battery module.
Hi from the Away PR team—we hope you’ve been well since the last we spoke!
Since launching our very first suitcase, The Carry-On, we’ve implemented a few rolling changes to our product based on feedback we’ve received from our customers.
We’re excited to offer those with Away the opportunity to switch their battery for one latest ejectable version (on us!). This will allow you to have your original model carry-on (with a battery removable by screwdriver from the inside) switched to our newer model (with a battery that ejects in seconds from the outside with a simple press down on the battery).
To do so we’ve created a variety of options to ensure there’s a convenient way for everyone—mail it in, visit a store or do it yourself. If you’re interested, you can visit their dedicated site and fill out the necessary information to begin the process. We’re happy to help answer any questions you may have along the way, just shoot us an email at email@example.com with any questions!
The Away PR Team
The Switch-out Process
Away offer customers its smart suitcase customers three ways to make the switch: Send it in, Stop in or DIY. Their team will handle everything if you can part with your bag for four weeks. Just print off a provided mailer, send the unit back to them and they’ll return it to your doorstep.
The second option is available to those customers located in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Austin – or those who may be traveling through those cities. Customers can make an appointment in advance and replace the Away case battery in just 15 minutes. Lastly, they will send you the kit and you can do it yourself if you are so inclined – that option is not for me.
Away doesn’t have to do this. It’s really not even their responsibility as a vendor who sold their product in good faith to willing customers, some of whom purchased many years ago. Frankly, if I owned Away Travel, I am not sure I would be so generous. After all, it’s not a government mandate that made their previous product nearly unusable in the US, it was the carriers. Away has done nothing wrong and is under no obligation to make their bags compliant. I can’t imagine Tumi or Rimowa doing the same, as much as I believe in those brands. This is pinnacle of great customer service after the sale.
Away doesn’t have to offer a 100-day trial, an included laundry bag to separate out dirty from clean clothes, and the lifetime warranty really doesn’t extend to this. This comes down to American airlines complying directives with regarding the ability to remove the battery, but it’s not Away’s job to go this far. There’s enough time to determine if this is the bag for you in 100 days.
As someone who tested their bag and found some flaws but still liked the overall features of the product, this move makes me even more likely to acquire one of their new products like the bigger carry-on. They stand behind their luggage 100% and I think you have to award bonus points for offering returns even when another company limits the usefulness of their bags. That’s a company I want to support.
What do you think? Is this the right move for the brand to make? Are they being too generous? Do you have one of their bags that you intend to swap?