|Columbus Carries Her Own Bags back to TTN home page
by Joe Harkins - Jul 22, 98
"Christopher Columbus may have discovered the New World, but it was Christine who packed his bags." That claim on the home page of the Christine Columbus online luggage store might not sit too well with Mr. Columbus wife Dona Felipa, but this web site justifies the Great Admirals dalliance. After scrolling and clicking my way through a hundred or so web sites in preparation for this weeks Travel The Net column, this one was a relief.
In addition to offering a clean interface, thoughtful organization and handsome, fast-loading graphics, the sites focus and logical navigation are superb. Annette Zientek created the Christine Columbus catalog after she found herself running for a train in a foreign station and vowing " . . . Never again to be satisfied with cumbersome, masculine, heavy, hard-to-carry travel gear!"
Her product line fulfills that breathless promise but isnt just for women. The gender-neutral looks, handling and rugged construction of the featured Tutto Rolling Carry-On have earned it a top rating by both a national consumer magazine and the National Arthritis Foundation. The Christine Columbus web site also has a womens forum for sharing travel tips.
For air travelers, selecting luggage and learning to pack efficiently have taken on new importance, thanks to Federal Aviation Authoritys Guidance on Carryon Baggage. The July 22, 1998 document mandates airlines to reduce the number, size and types of items you may carry onto a flight. Under the new guidelines, each airline may set its own standards as long as they are at least as strict as the FAAs. Before you head to the airport, check your carriers latest rules. TravelPage has links to the web site of virtually every airline on the net.
Already, some airlines define a shopping bag or a lap top as an "item of baggage" meaning that if you have both in hand at boarding, you might be required to check your overnight bag or attaché case as excess baggage. To avoid that expense, you may want to consider new luggage that consolidates sundry items into one efficient package.
Online discounters are doing to suitcases what Amazon.com did to books. One leader is California Luggage Outlet with discounts of 50% and 60% on discontinued items from major brands such as Lark and Delsey.
Harrison Luggage offers some of the best advice youll find on how to buy luggage plus respectable discounts on famous brands. However, although they promise to beat any competitors price, their site doesnt allow online ordering. Instead, Harrison offers a toll-free number while implying that emailing credit card information is unsafe. This is despite the fact there has yet to be a single reported case of a consumer having credit card information intercepted and stolen while ordering over the Internet.
At World Traveler the graphics designer has run amok, burdening entry pages with self-aggrandizing teaser phrases. These then lead to a page containing 30 graphic buttons of luggage brand names that require tedious download time. Theres also a useless spinning compass and a blinking slogan. After suffering all that, you discover at least one of those buttons leads you two additional pages deeper where you learn that particular brand is not stocked. Finally, a report published in one national magazine alleged that the list prices on this site are overstated to make the discounts look good.
I wish an experienced web page designer would take Cencal Aviation Luggage under wing and show the manufacturer how these excellent Made-In-USA products could be displayed better and sold faster online. Still, if you want first class product quality and professional aviator design, this is the factory-direct place to go.
Theres another site with online ordering at low prices that could use help from a professional designer. The wavy green background on every page at Luggage For Less might make even the Great Admiral seasick. -30-
(note: The material that appears below may or may not have been published in your local newspaper depending on the available space in this week's edition.)
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