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Automotive Traveler Magazine: Vol 2 Iss 1 Page 17

Travel News: Scottevest Travel Clothing Lets You Wear Your Carry-On Bag

Delta Sky in-flight magazine refuses to run advertisement for the travel wear that helps air passengers avoid excess and oversized baggage fees

By Richard Truesdell

Back on 9 June, I was interviewed for the lead story in the business section of USA Today, titled "More consumers pack lighter, smarter to save when flying." It detailed an experience where I was turned back by a United Airlines employee in the security line at San Francisco International Airport for a carry-on bag that was just a bit too big--an effort, in my opinion, to extract every last penny in checked-bag fees from fliers.

While I admit my bag was slightly larger than allowed by the TSA, I had flown dozens of flights with this bag in recent months without incident. United got a lot more than $25's worth of bad publicity. I didn't feel too bad, considering their over-zealous enforcement of their checked-bag policy almost caused me to miss my plane.

The same article mentioned Scott Jordan, CEO of travel clothing company Scottevest, and his line of gadget-friendly clothing designed specifically to beat the airlines at their own game. The Scottevest, called the SeV Revolution Plus, provides 22 "layered" pockets for cell phones, keys, camera, passport, even a water bottle. A transparent pocket allows you to scroll through your iPhone without taking it out, and an around-neck lining holds your earphone cords. The company has just introduced a model with a pocket large enough for an iPad.

"It enables you to have all your stuff with you at all times, not just as a second carry-on but also when you're out at the grocery store," Jordan was quoted as saying in the USA Today story. "Unlike wearing a photographer's vest, you wouldn't look like a tourist."

At the time, I hoped to interview Jordan for AutomotiveTraveler.com, but his PR agency and I couldn't seem to get our schedules in sync. Then, just as I was leaving for Paris last month, a story broke that Delta Sky (Delta Airlines' inflight magazine) had rejected a full-page ad for the Scottevest jacket that carried this headline, "The Most Stylish Way to Beat the System." A reference, of course, to the checked-bag fees the airlines are raking in.

As a frequent flyer who is always trying to find ways to beat the airlines at their own game, I had to dig deeper. On the Scottevest website, I found the timeline from Jordan himself. It makes for great reading on how the viral world can spin a PR fiasco completely out of control:

29 September 2010--A last-minute opportunity to appear in November's Delta Sky was presented to us. With the success of our NYT ad, we felt we were on a roll and decided to do it, despite the fact that it cost a significant portion of our ad budget for the remainder of the year. It sounded like a home run, and we decided to use the winning "Beat the System" message.