LONDON – Debenhams has revealed that instead of paying 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. The fashion retailer has seen sales of coats and jackets with multiple pockets rise by as much as 350% over the summer holiday period.
The retailer is 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 pounds Sterling return charged by some low-cost airlines for suitcases stowed in the hold.
As a result, sales of Debenhams’ John Rocha navy blue parka with six pockets have gone up by 350% and sales of the beige Mantaray five pocket bomber jackets, which even have a discreet pocket in the sleeve, have jumped by 200%. Sales of Debenhams Mantaray shower proof coat with 7 pockets have also leapt 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.”
Personal finance guru Martin Lewis points out on his Money Saving Expert website that each stowed bag on budget airlines costs between 10 pounds and 40 pounds return on top of the price of the ticket, but in most cases, passengers get a free 10kg hand luggage allowance. He encourages people to make the most of allowances by ensuring “… you’re wearing your heaviest clothes, are multi-layered and your coat pockets are jammed with heavy items like books.”
Passengers can pay dearly for going over the luggage weight limits with BMI charging 10 pounds per Kg, Thomson charging up to 15 pounds per Kg and Ryanair charging 20 pounds per kg for excess baggage.