Wow, that looks like fun! Who wouldn't want to go zipping through airport terminals at 8 miles an hour while riding atop their luggage like it's a motorized Shetland pony? How very George Jetson.
At least that seemed to be the collective reaction of the Internet when entrepreneur Kevin O'Donnell unveiled his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a suitcase called Modobag on Friday. The suitcase is described as "the world's only motorized, smart, and connected carry-on." Riders control the suitcase with a throttle and a hand brake. It can take you a distance of about 6 miles on a single charge. It can also charge your phone as you whiz by those poor souls who are stuck pulling their suitcases. Pulling a suitcase is so 2015. As long as you weigh less than 260 pounds, you can ride a Modobag.
Nifty, right? A lot of people think so. After three days, the crowdfunding campaign for Modobag is nearly 300 percent over its $50,000 goal. By the time you read this that percentage will likely be much higher.
Here's my question to O'Donnell and all of those who have paid $995 for their George Jetson suitcase.
Have you ever been in an airport?
I'm sitting in Terminal E of Logan International Airport as I write this, and it's uncomfortably crowded. I see a little girl sprawled out mid-tantrum on the floor, a couple looking everywhere but in front of them as they search for their gate, and a contingent of Euroteens playing soccer to pass the time.
Now, just imagine a throng of people weaving through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd on their "Blade Runner" suitcases and you've got a recipe for broken toes and bruised shins. Those on-the-floor tantrum toddlers would be pancakes.
Logan is a breeze compared to navigating the corridors of Miami International, LaGuardia, and Chicago O'Hare at peak hours. Adding motorized suitcases to the already-existing morass at those airports seems a bit careless.
Allow me one to throw one more wet noodle at the suitcase. When I'm about to get on an airplane for six hours I look forward to walking. I see it as my last chance for movement. I'm not about to do that creepy in-flight yoga thing that I've seen other passengers attempt (please stop). When I finally get off a plane I'm usually aching to stretch. The only thing less appealing than sitting on a plane like a 19th-century circus contortionist for six hours is sitting like a 19th-century circus contortionist, and then riding a ridiculous-looking little suitcase.
I wish Mr. O'Donnell the best of luck with his suitcase, and it does look like fun to ride. I just think it's probably better suited for the Go-Kart track.
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com.