Unitasker Wednesday: Easy 2 Pick Luggage Locator

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

This week’s unitasker is one that at first pass seems kind of reasonable. My initial thought was it could be helpful for a blind or visually impaired traveler. The more I read about it, though, the less reasonable and helpful it seems. Let’s take a look at the Easy 2 Pick Luggage Locator:

In theory, you attach the large luggage tag to your bag and the round piece to yourself or your keychain. When you check your luggage at the ticket counter at the airport, you turn the device on. Then, when you reach your destination and are standing at baggage claim, the round piece will sound an alarm — flashing, sound notification, and vibrating — when your bag is within 90 feet of you.

Like me, you’re probably thinking this seems like it would be helpful for the visually impaired or blind. Except, the flashing, sound notification, and vibrating don’t increase in intensity the closer you get to your bag. You’re simply made aware that somewhere, within 90 feet of you, is what you’re searching for. (A wee bit cruel, if you ask me, especially if the bag is on the baggage claim carousel.) And, since the tag lights up, it also notifies other people that you’re looking for your bag … which is great if you’re surrounded by friendly people wanting to help you, but not so great if there are thieves.

The device is marketed to the regular traveler, however, and not someone with vision impairment. In which case, if your bag is within 90 feet of you, seeing it usually isn’t an issue. If you have a common looking bag and are worried about grabbing someone else’s bag, you still have to check the luggage tag because someone else could also have an Easy 2 Pick luggage tag on their bag. (And you have to show the bag name match from the sticker on the bag to your ID to leave many baggage claim areas, anyway.) Alternatively, putting a simple and inexpensive colorful strip of duct tape on both sides of your ordinary luggage can help you identify your bag visually much better than a notification device will from a distance.

My last thought on this item is since most airlines charge to check luggage now, how common is it to only check one piece of luggage? If someone only has one piece, don’t they try to make it a carry-on to avoid the fee? Most people I see checking bags these days are families traveling with numerous pieces of luggage, which would require numerous devices. At $19 a set, it seems like an expensive way to find your luggage that is within 90 feet of you.

Thanks to reader Pat, a constant traveler, for finding this unitaskery doohickey for us.

18 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Easy 2 Pick Luggage Locator”

  1. posted by Mary on

    Not to mention the flashing, beeping and vibrating would probably freak out security and other passengers. Also, what good is it if it gets torn off by baggage handlers, as all good luggage tags do?

  2. posted by Sherri on

    Yeah, having the flashing, beeping, vibrating thing on your luggage just seems like a great way to get a TSA beat-down.

  3. posted by Kendra on

    Wondering if and how this device would interfere with air traffic control equipment, security checks, etc..

  4. posted by Miss Lynx on

    Sherri – according to the post, the part that flashes etc. is not the part on your luggage, it’s the part on your keyring. Which doesn’t change the annoys-other-passengers part while you’re in the baggage area, but it’s not going to draw attention to your luggage itself.

    Of course, the fact that it doesn’t draw any attention, including yours, to your actual luggage is part of what makes it kind of useless. It’s like it’s saying “Hey! Your luggage is somewhere in that huge mass of luggage!” but without offering any further guidance than that. Not so helpful.

    I’d say this one sounds like it’s got the kernel of a good idea (particularly visually impaired people, as Erin noted), but is badly executed enough to make it pretty much worthless. Hopefully someone will eventually pick up the idea and implement it in a more useful and effective way – like Erin’s suggestion of having the signal increase as you get closer to your bag, or maybe having the option to press a button to make the tag on your suitcase beep, so you can hear where it is.

    For the rest of us, there’s always the duct tape thing, or just getting a suitcase in a not-so-common colour.

    Oh, and on the question of whether people ever check just one suitcase – I have, frequently. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever checked more than one. If it’s a short trip, I’ll try and pack light so I can just use a carry-on, but for a longer trip, or if I’m travelling with my (5-year-old) son, I have to use a bigger suitcase. But thus far I’ve still always managed to get everything into one (well, one plus a carry-on), even when travelling with my son and a bunch of Christmas presents. So it can be done. 🙂

  5. posted by Steve on

    Maybe its main purpose is to make you comfortable that the bag made it on the plane with you. Afterall, the odds are good that the bag will be within 90 feet of where you are sitting on the plane so you can listen to the beeper going off on the entire flight! I am sure your fellow passengers will appreciate that.

  6. posted by Pwassonne on

    Steve – Agreed, and I’d like to add that the flight attendants will love it too – after all, it’s not as though the use of wave-emitting devices was prohibited on planes, is it ? =)

  7. posted by Nicole on

    I wonder if the idea is to avoid having to be up near the luggage carousel until your bag comes into the room? – When it beeps, it’s to tell you to get up off your chair, or pick up your running toddler, or get off the phone, or whatever, and go look for it. (Still not something I’d pay $19 to add to my packing list, but to each their own, I guess.)

  8. posted by WilliamB on

    The name just kills me. I keep hearing it as “easy to pick this lock.”

    @Sherri – TSA is not stationed at the luggage carousels. And there’s so many other beeping, flashing, vibrating things (ie. phones) I don’t think one more would make a difference.

    @Erin – I think you just haven’t noticed people who check one bag. There are plenty. More bags = more fees, so if you can’t get everything into carry on, then you definitely have an incentive to get it into one checked bag.

    @Erin – I don’t get what you mean about thieves. Do you mean at baggage claim? Because there could be thieves there no matter what, I don’t see how this gadget makes a bag more stealable. Somewhere else?

    @Mary – I’ve never had a good leather tag torn off in transit. Paper, certainly; plastic sometimes.

    I had the same idea as Nicole – the buzzer is like a pager at a restaurant with a waiting time. It lets you go off to do something else, telling you when you need to go back to the madhouse that is the luggage carousel.

  9. posted by Erin Doland on

    @WilliamB — In the DC airports, all of the baggage claim areas are outside security where anyone can access them. As a result, we also have a problem with people who are less-than-honest who case these areas and steal bags that aren’t immediately retrieved. I can easily see how a thief, upon noticing a blind person is waiting for a bag, spots the unrecovered bag with the special tag and just takes off with it knowing the blind person won’t see them do it. The thieves here are pretty indiscriminate about who they’ll steal from/pickpocket/etc.

  10. posted by Liz E. on

    @Miss Lynx: “Hey! Your luggage is somewhere in that huge mass of luggage!” — HAHAHA priceless =)

  11. posted by Julie Bestry on

    I was thinking that this would be good for Grandma, who could stay seated (or hugging her grandchildren) until her luggage actually came out of the chute and onto the belt. Beyond that, yeah, the appeal is pretty limited if it doesn’t operate metal-detector-style and beep more furiously as it gets closer.

    That said, I check one bag every time I fly, and have for the many decades I’ve been responsible for my own luggage. In 45 years of flying (granted, I didn’t do a lot of lifting in my toddler years), I’ve always had one carryon (plus the “personal item”) and one checked bag. (I’m a pretty efficient packer; I rarely find that I haven’t used or worn every single item I pack.) The fees are egregious, but between business essentials, toiletries, meds and med equipment, and clothing the naked, I can’t envision ever being able to fly without a checked bag.

  12. posted by Keri Peardon on

    It makes more sense if the bag beeps when it gets close to you, so you can locate it by sound–like when people hit the car alarm or horn button on their key fob to find their car in a parking lot. That makes more sense.

    When we took our class trip to D.C., our teacher gave us yarn tassels in school colors to tie to our bags. He and a couple of boys stood at the carousel and grabbed every bag with the tassel and passed it back to the rest of us, where we sorted them out by individual.

  13. posted by Alison on

    Similar to what Keri Peardon’s teacher did, I have a piece of brightly colored shiny ribbon around the handle of my luggage. I can find my bag in an instant. Makes it so easy after a long trip to be able to instantly find your luggage that way. Duct tape also seems like a good idea, but I have found that the bags are normally placed handle up which makes it easy to spot the ribbon.

  14. posted by Cathie on

    And what if EVERYONE had one?

  15. posted by chacha1 on

    We use luggage straps. Bright yellow with black stripes like caution tape. They have TSA-approved combination locks and they are hideous. Nobody touches our bags. 🙂

  16. posted by chacha1 on

    @Nicole, this device would make more sense to me if it were attached to a kid, rather than a checked bag. But the range should be a good bit shorter.

  17. posted by Leslie on

    Years ago, I checked my luggage in at Norita Airport. Apparently, mine was one of the ones that got searched (w/o being present) and when my luggage came off the carousel in the US, it was covered (and I mean covered) in yellow tape with things like “inspected”, “searched” and other choice words on it. I left the tape on in areas where it didn’t affect the zipper (that tape and glue was FUN to remove) and for close to a decade, never had another problem finding my suitcase on the carousel.

  18. posted by Sue on

    Another traveler here who thinks this would be a total freakout for TSA and fellow travelers. We mark all 6 sides of our luggage with bright yellow duct tape. Makes spotting stuff a breeze on belts, piles or carts.

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