“ Fluff / Cupcake shaped luggage tag. „
The Fluff Cupcake Luggage tag was another birthday present I got last August, combining two themes in one, my love of cupcakes and my travelling habit. I had never had a proper luggage tag before, tending to use the free paper ones you get from airlines, so I was intrigued to have one that would last for more than a couple of flights...or would it?
Luggage tags have two uses in my mind: helping you identify your luggage coming round on the carousel if it's a generic black suitcase or similar, and helping the authorities identify your luggage if it gets lost. Only once in well over a hundred and fifty flights has my baggage gone AWOL, but I always know it's a possibility, so like to label up my bags accordingly. The cupcake has a special slot at the back for slipping in your name and address, either at home or at your destination. Unlike with some tags, it is very easy to get the card in and out, and you simply squeeze the sides to make them part, and push it in. At the same time, once it's attached to a bag with the buckle, it's trapped so there's no way it could fall out.
The card supplied is oval shaped to match the oval picture window it shows through, but now I've used both sides I don't think I'll have any trouble cutting my own replacement. Although as I said the window bit is see through, if you don't want to advertise your address you can simply put the card in facing the other way, so an airline could find out your address if needed, but passers-by won't see it and think 'yay, a nice empty house to rob'.
The card they supply is spacious, with room for email and phone details as well as street address, and if you wanted you could easily stick a small note in this pocket too, if you had special instructions on what to do in the event of it getting separated from you (please look after this case...and don't east all the chocolate inside, that sort of thing).
In terms of the other use - making your luggage easily identifiable - there's simply no denying that this tag does that. In fact, the first thing you notice about the luggage tag is how massive it is, and it must measure in the region of 15cm wide by 12cm high, excluding the strap. Not only is it huge, but it's bright too. Mine is the Strawberry one (a Chocolate version is also available) and is candylicious. It has a purple and lilac striped cupcake case, with a mound of cake iced in fuchsia pink frosting looming out of the top. The peak is then decorated with sugar strands, and finished off with a slightly clashing bright red heart. All of this comes with a metallic gold rim, and the back is all gold too. There is simply no way you could mistakenly pick up the wrong bag when this was attached. It is made of a fake, non-leather (= animal friendly), is padded / slightly squishy in the middle but still firm and stiff in shape, and definitely has the glitz factor.
While it looks cute, the size took a bit of getting used to. I tend to tuck tags under the handle at the top of my suitcase to secure them out of the way, but this just protruded out both sides and looked silly so I had to hang it differently, and let it flap loosely. The strap is reasonably long and has a regular buckle on it so you can fasten and un-fasten it easily and also tighten it to a more suitable fit by using a different hole (or punching your own if you wanted it even shorter). Thought not the sturdiest buckle in the world, I never had any fears it would come unlatched while in transit.
I have flown 12 times since I received this, which is perhaps more flights than many people would rack up in the space of 7 months, but is by no means a lifetime's use. Sadly, the cupcake is not the frequent flyer I had expected and hoped it to be. The first sign of wear was when I collected it in New York only to deposit it again (you have to clear US customs in Newark, even if you're immediately transiting out of the country) and I noticed some of the 'sprinkles' had made a bid for freedom, leaving just small splashes of thread behind. Considering the state of some people's luggage when coming round on the carousel, I did not think this was too bad, and it wasn't immediately obvious, just noticeable to those familiar with the tag.
The second problem, however, was more significant. I went to Cali for a weekend with this on my hand-luggage (since I was travelling without checked in bags, and it added a certain je ne sais quoi to my appearance). When I came home I went to unbuckle it since I use the same bag for the gym, where it might not go down quite so well, but the moment I touched it, the buckle came off in my hand, leaving a clearly torn strap behind, and no way of securing it for future trips. It could have got pulled in the over head locker (I wangled a bulkhead seat, so couldn't keep it at my feet) or while being roughly manhandled through security, but either way it was no longer usable, which was a real shame. It was clearly more flimsy than I had thought, but my biggest disappointment is that unless I can find another use for an oversized, now-strapless fabric cupcake (maybe Christmas tree decoration), it may be destined for the bin.
Ultimately I loved this from when I got it to when it stopped loving me back, but when it did it was brutal, and for this reason I'm docking 2 stars simply for the wear and tear. A little wear I could have coped with, but a tear was too much and it is now no longer fit for purpose.
Lots of places sell these online for the £5 - £6 mark (Google "Fluff cupcake luggage tag" for more). Even with the problems I encountered, I don't think that's a bad price for a fun gift for a girly girl, just preferably one who doesn't travel so much. At a couple of flights a year, giving up the ghost in the 6th year / on the 12th flight is brilliant going, I was just unlucky and wore it out more quickly with my globetrotting ways.