Luggage shipping LugLess pitched me on it being cheaper to ship a bag to your destination than taking it to the airport, checking it, and waiting for it at baggage claim. A family with lots of bags can certainly find schlepping bags onto a rental car bus one of the more stressful parts of travel, even cost aside.
Still, luggage shipping services haven’t ever really seemed quite ready to go mainstream even though they’ve been around for many years. A decade ago United Airlines launched an integration with BagsVIP. Around the same time LugLess was featured in Season 4, Episode 26 of Shark Tank (it didn’t do well). The next year it reportedly sold to Luggage Forward a firm that began consolidating companies in the space.
The thing is, baggage pickup and delivery is a precision business.
- It needs to be picked up at the right time, and delivered at the right time. Paying for luggage delivery, lost or delayed bags are not ok.
- And bags delivered early to your hotel may be a problem, too. You may be charged for storage. They may lose your bags. Marriott even says they’re not liable if they give your bags to someone else, even a thief.
On the other hand checked baggage services are supposed to be a precision business too.
With luggage delivery, to be economical, you’ve got to plan far in advance and your bags travel slowly. LugLess ships bags one to five days prior to travel – and the farther in advance you ship, the less expensive it is.
They say you ‘lug less’ butt it’s cheapest if you deliver bags yourself to a FedEx Office or UPS Store. That starts at $22.99 per bag up to 50 pounds. Home pickup adds $6. Here’s their cost calculator.
- $29 is still less than paying a checked bag fee (which you won’t have if you’re a frequent flyer elite, have an airline’s co-brand credit card, or fly first class or Southwest).
- But that requires (1) that you ship your luggage five days before your trip and (2) that the hotel doesn’t charge you for storage and delivery.
FedEx and UPS generally do a good job, but I’ve had packages with them go missing or get misdelivered (the same is true for checked bags). The hotel needs to handle the handoff well.
I still see this as a niche play – pitching it as a money saver doesn’t make sense to me, although with a lot of checked bags for a family and if you’re willing to pack far in advance and take the bags yourself to ship them (hardly lugging less) you can save.
It’s more about the convenience of not waiting at baggage claim or dealing with your bags at the airport. That makes it a premium service, and a niche use case – where the time at baggage claim is what’s binding, or where you want to get a rental car at a Rental Car Center or offsite location rather than use a car service where the driver meets you inside the terminal and helps you with your bags.