Irishman Adam Ewart from Send My Bag
By: James Bartlett
In the last few months, the Covid-19 pandemic has decimated the travel industry, and almost every day we have been reading about airlines reducing their routes, laying off workers, delaying orders for new planes, or even filing for bankruptcy.
Send My Bag Founder and CEO Adam Ewart
Even the idea of going to the airport and taking a flight somewhere far-off and exotic (let alone a short hop nearby) has almost become a nostalgic memory for many, and the idea of flying any time soon seems like something few people are prepared to risk.
Many companies associated with airlines have suffered too, but there are some that are still doing well – even thriving – in these strange times, and Irish company Send My Bag is one of those.
An online-based door-to-door luggage and personal effects pick-up and delivery service, they ship hundreds of thousands of pieces globally each year, helping their customers skip the stress of bag check, avoiding the horror of unexpected baggage fees, and allowing you to travel light.
Even before Covid-19 travel could be a real trial, and Send My Bag seems like one of those services you assumed had existed forever because they’re so obviously useful. Even so, given the current circumstances, how can it be that they are as busy as ever?
“We had a huge spike in March,” said founder and CEO Adam Ewart, “as we helped people relocate before the lockdowns began. It was quiet for April and May, then as lockdowns lifted in June many people who were studying or working abroad who didn’t go home now did (many from Italy). Now we’re flat out again, as people are now choosing to avoid the bag drops and busy baggage carousels, and make the travel that is happening as socially-distanced and contact-free as possible. Normal business is coming back too, and it really didn’t take long for us to see golf clubs and other really obvious vacation luggage needing to be moved.”
Ewart, 35, lives in Bangor in the North of Ireland with his wife Rebecca and their baby Amélie, but he regularly spends time in America, where are 25% of their journeys are to or from and where they have a set-up in New York.
“We have lots of clients in the movie business,” he explained, “Though I never thought that it would be the last time I’d be in an airport for 6 months. I remember coming back through Heathrow airport, thinking it was weird seeing so many people wearing masks. Little did we know....” he says, shaking his head.
Send My Bag was originally created to help students, and was based on Adam’s own experience.
“When Rebecca was at university, I would travel to England to help her get everything home at the end of each semester. One time an airline charged us £50 for being a few pounds over our baggage allowance. This was in the early days of the airlines ramping up their charges and we’d never been fined like that before. I saw other people being charged too, and thought to myself: ‘I could send this door-to-door for less.’”
By 2011, to America for three months to officially launch their US routes.
“Since then I’ve usually been in the states several times a year, and on both coasts, in part because we have a lot of well-known people in the movie business who use us privately. We found out that a lot of PAs (Personal Assistants) were recommending us, as their clients were shooting on location for a few months, had a second or even third home in LA / NYC / London, and then they would be travelling on promotional tours and so on.”
Ewart wouldn’t give any clues about his famous customers, but did admit that “if you started listing big names, you'd probably hit one of ours pretty quickly.”
After a decade handling people’s luggage, it’s hard for him to remember anything strange that he hasn’t already seen, though he does recall recently refusing to ship stuffed crocodile heads!
Looking to the future, what travel tips does Ewart have for mere mortals like us?
“Download the Google map of where you are visiting, because I can guarantee that the one time you’re lost and need it, you won’t be able to get a signal!”
“While credit cards are safe and secure, having some local currency in your pocket is always a good idea.”
“If the city has one, spend 10 minutes figuring out how the subway system works. Being able to use the subway in somewhere like New York, Paris or London makes the trip so much better.”