Rent Fancy Luggage at Flight 001

imageUber-cool travel store Flight 001 is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, and in celebration (and maybe, just maybe, something to do with the economy), they’ve launched a program called “Baggage Claim for Hire.” This program allows customers to rent high-end luggage for days or weeks at a time. The rental service debuted this month at the flagship store in New York’s West Village and will roll out nationwide through 2009.

It’s a good solution for space-strapped apartment dwellers or those that would like to test drive a shmancy bag before shelling out to actually own one. “Instead of compromising by buying a cheap, disposable piece of luggage, this will allow customers to rent first-class luggage only when they need it, skipping the hassle of storage,” said Brad John, Flight 001 co-founder and director of merchandising. For now, there’s not a wide selection; your choice is silver or black, from the Rimowa brand, a German company that specializes in hard-case luggage. No word on how much the rentals cost, but the Rimowas are $500 apiece to own, so theoretically it’s less than that. Flight 001 says they came up with the idea based on customer requests, though I have a hard time thinking many folks would pay for a suitcase several times a year instead of just buying one. But hey, if people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars renting high-end handbags, perhaps they’ll do the same for roller bags.

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