I loved this story from a UK retail outlet the other week: The shop in question – Debenhams, says that budget travellers are “picking the pockets of airline thanks to a loophole in the baggage rules”.
The shop has seen sales of its big coats and lots of pockets rise by 350% over the summer, and it thinks passengers are doing it to avoid expensive baggage charges.
“Rather than pay expensive charges for stowing cases in the hold of the plane, canny holidaymakers are using their free hand luggage allowance and ‘wearing’ the rest of their baggage.”
They are putting the new trend down to reports from the shop floor that customers prefer to pack heavier items such as books, towels, electronic net books and cameras, into large pocketed garments, rather than pay fees up to £40 return, charged by some low-cost airlines for cases stowed in the hold.
As a result sales of Debenhams Rocha.John Rocha navy blue parka (seen left) with six pockets have gone up by 350% and the beige Mantaray five pocket bomber jackets, which even have a discreet pocket in the sleeve, has seen sales jump by 200%. Debenhams Mantaray shower proof coat, with 7 pockets has also seen sales leap by 181%.
Carie Barkhuizen, spokeswoman for Debenhams, said: “Worn strategically, multi-pocket coats and trousers can offer up to 10 pockets to stow everything from spare pants and socks, to bikinis and sarongs. It’s traveling light like we have never seen before.
“Our sales assistants have even reported some customers coming in with specific items like net-books and paperbacks, to check if they will fit in the pockets before they buy the coat or jacket.”