Standing in boarding gate queues may be a thing of the past now that a new suitcase allows travellers to convert their luggage into a chair.
The four-wheeled suitcase by neXstep luggage comes with a pull-out handle that can be detached and unfolded into a chair.
The backless chair, which uses a suspended piece of fabric as its seat, may look more camping stool than comfortable but it means travellers can avoid standing around while they wait to board a plane. The seat can also function as a luggage rack for unpacking or packing your suitcase - handy for those who have been over-optimistic about what they can get away with as hand luggage.
The idea for the convertible handle, which was designed by Chicago-based entrepreneur Brian Gibson and first developed in 2009, has been put forth on the ideas website Kickstarter hoping to raise $US120,400 ($137,757) by November 24, which could put the suitcases in shops by April next year.
The neXstep suitcases are available in either a larger check-in size or a smaller carry-on size and are priced at $US324.99 and $US224.99 respectively, the Mail reports.
Prototype models of the neXstep suitcase have apparently been checked onto aircrafts on several occasions without any issues and a request for design approval by the US Federal Aviation Authority has not been denied, according to Kickstarter. The handle was awarded US patent protection in 2012.
Mr Gibson has partnered with experienced industry executives including the Thomas R Sandler, the former CFO of Samonsite, and Chris Gantz, the former CEO of Japan Electronics, since 2013 to help develop the product.
The suitcases, which are made from carbon fiber polycarbonate, ballistic nylon, Cordura, Kevlar and "aircraft grade aluminium", will provide "superior performance".
"The materials used will be of highest quality parts and have the look and feel of any high quality brand on the market today," Mr Gibson states on Kickstarter.
"Our manufacturer has built luggage for some of the world's most recognised brands and adhere to the highest quality standards" he added.
The unique suitcase handle joins a series of unusual travel gadgets that have been proposed in recent years, including The City Cab, a motorised suitcase that doubles a scooter. The three-wheeled electrical suitcase, fitted with a steering grip, brakes, safety lights, a horn, a GPS device and a theft alarm, carry up to two passengers, seated on its side, travelling up to a speed of about 20 km per hour and a maximum distance of about 60km.
One man also invented a chair that can be "magically" folded into a small suitcase in seconds. The wooden suitcase, which was said to have been designed by a magician, weighs 4.6kg and is priced at $US299 at China Magic.
A couple of those convertible briefcases might work well alongside the fold-away Napkin Table, a bizarre portable dining table for two proposed earlier this year, which comes with straps at either end, to be placed around the neck, suspending the table between two people.
The table provides enough space for two plates, cups can be slotted into built-in holders, and there are stitched pockets to hold cutlery. The bizarre looking device was designed by graduates at Tunghai University in Taiwan, who were hoping to create a "new dining experience which can improve the relationship and interaction between two people" and "encourage conversation" during a meal.
The Telegraph, London