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Wheels of Misfortune

On a recent trip, my husband accused me of taking him along to carry my bags. That's only partly true. But it's no secret that schlepping your luggage these days is a royal pain.

You can't trust the airlines to get your suitcase from Point A to Point B. So you have to slug through the airport and endless security lines, toting your laptop, with your one-quart bag of liquids and whatever else you'll need stuffed into your one authorized carry-on.

Couple that with the brutal reality that there's never enough space in the overhead bins to store the bags of everyone crammed into the plane. By the time you've pushed and shoved your carry-on under the seat, you're willing to pay whatever the flight attendant is charging for a drink.

So I was more than a little interested when I came across "The World's Lightest Carry-on." Anything to lighten the load sounds good to me. The Heys Luggage Xcase weighs just 4.8 pounds and, at a compact 19"x13"x9," is designed to fit under an airline seat.

Its sleek silver hard shell case elicited favorable comments when I unveiled the Xcase at the office. As advertised, I only needed one hand to extend and retract the handle, leaving the other free for a purse or computer bag.

But when I tried to pull the Xcase down the hallway, it refused to roll. One of the wheels resisted all efforts to make it rotate. The bag--shipped directly from the U.S. subsidiary of the Canadian manufacturer--was clearly defective.

The carry-on I tested was the newer "nonshiny" NS model, no doubt developed because online reviewers--while generally happy with their Xcases--complained about scratches on the high gloss surface of the original version. Even with the new dimpled texture to hide marks, Heys warns that the frameless Xcase is not meant for the rigors of baggage handlers and is designed as a carry-on only.

So even at a very reasonable price of around $65 on eBay, the Xcase NS has definite limitations. Guess my husband will be coming along on my next trip, too.

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