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Using the Revolution Rolling Pack

In this blog post, I’d like to discuss how to avoid checking a bag, and the elements of our new Revolution™ Rolling Pack that are designed to maximize the chances that you’ll be able to carry on your bag without checking it.


Why does this matter? Put simply, you save time and reduce stress when you don’t have to check your bag. In today’s Covid19 environment, you also reduce the chances of disease transmission. Ventilation systems on airplanes are pretty good, but they are not so good on jetways (where you will be bunched waiting with other passengers if your bag was forced to be gate-checked) or airports (where you’ll wait in line to check your bag, or elbow through the crowd to retrieve it from the carousel after waiting.)

Another benefit is that when you master the skill of carrying on and packing light, you’ll be less encumbered and freer for the rest of your trip. This increases the joy of travel, as opposed to the logistics.

Airlines understand that passenger satisfaction goes up if passengers are able to carry on their bags. A recent study by American Airlines found that this increased passenger satisfaction by 8%, justifying investment in larger overheads.

The problem is that there isn’t a lot of space on airlines, and their incentives are to utilize the space to generate as much revenue as possible. So, they impose size restrictions. (This also enables them to generate revenue for checked bags.) While each airline may have a different policy (and, frankly, may or may not enforce their policies depending on the mood of the flight attendants), the “typical standards” in the US are:

  • Maximum carry-on size of 22” x 14” x 9”
  • One “personal item” (e.g. backpack or purse) in addition to your carry-on
  • The most common space under the airplane seat is 8” to 8.5” high

Most luggage manufacturers have automatically made their carry-ons the maximum size, even though most trips do not require that much space. So, everyone rolls their 22” x 14” x 9” carryon onto the plane, and the ones that don’t fit get rolled back off, and gate checked. This then leads to another slowdown when the plane lands and docks, as everyone waiting for their gate-checked bags crowds the jetbridge, slowing down the whole deplaning operation.


Given the above, we designed a three part modular bag that maximizes the traveller’s flexibility. Here are some of the design changes we made compared to the standard carry-on, and the benefits they deliver:

  1. We made the middle unit of our system, the Expandable Spinner, 7.5” deep at the base, which means that when not expanded it will normally fit under most airplane seats. (These dimensions result in over 33 liters of space, which is more than enough for the vast majority of trips.) We also slightly tapered the bag from bottom to top, to make it easier to slide under the seat, if you have to. (This also makes it more stable, as does the solid 4-wheel base.) And, our design is “soft luggage” rather than a hard shell with no flexibility, which means you can squish it a little if you need to make it fit.
  2. As its name implies, to maximize our flexibility, we made the Expandable Spinner expandable as well, so that if you pick up items on your trip, there’s a place to put them. The bag qualifies as a carry-on on virtually all airlines either expanded or not expanded. However, if you expand it, you might lose the ability to put it under the seat in front of you. It will still be smaller than the standard carry-ons, so you do have more flexibility to get it to fit in the overhead compartment. 
  3. We then made the two attaching modules (the Messenger Tote Pack and the Expandable Daypack) both relatively thin (although the Expandable Daypack, as its name indicates, is expandable); see all the dimensions Here if you are interested. And, they have flexibility in the depth dimension. And, they can be zipped together to create the Double Pack, which normally qualifies as one personal item, based on the guidelines for most airlines. What this means is that if you have all three units zipped together (forming the complete Revolution Rolling Pack), but the airplane is crowded, you can unzip one or both of the backpacks to find places to make them fit. If the gate agent wants you to do this before boarding, just zip them together into the Double Pack, so you only have one “personal item”. Note that we can’t say if the completely assembled Revolution Rolling Pack will qualify as a carry-on, because (as noted above) it has flexibility in the depth dimension, so it depends on how it is packed (as well as the specific airline’s requirements). However, in almost all cases, if you take either or both of the backpack modules off, it will qualify, and it will sometimes qualify if all three units are zipped together. So, you can “mix and match” to meet the specific situation.
  4. The final piece of the puzzle is the zip down shelf and strap system we designed into the front module, the Messenger Tote Pack. These are designed so that you can strap the unit to the airplane seat in front of you, by wrapping the straps around the tray table, and then putting the tray table back into position (this works on most airplane seats, but obviously not on bulkheads.) This is useful if you want access to all your items easily during flight, and/or if you want more legroom, by not stowing anything under the seat in front of you. Some airlines or flight attendants will require that the pack be stowed for takeoff and landing (and their instructions should be followed, as they are there for your safety and to ensure that FAA and airline safety standards are upheld), but once you are in the air, this can make the middle seat a lot more bearable… especially since you can use the shelf to support your tablet or iPad, making it easy to read, catch up on emails, or watch a movie.

We hope this overview gives you an understanding of how to use our products in the most effective way to make your journey as smooth as possible. Because airlines and airplanes are different, there is no one simple answer to the question, “Will it fit?” We’ve designed a system that is flexible, so that you can adapt to what the journey throws at you.

Happy traveling!

Dave and the Onli Travel Team