First shown at Photokina 2006, Think Tank Photo has commenced shipping the Airport International
, a rolling bag that features the company's typical sleek, minimalist exterior design, a size that conforms to worldwide airline carry-on regulations, a TSA-approved
lock on the main compartment and a security cable for tethering the bag to an immovable object.
At 14W x 8D x 21H inches (36 x 20 x 53 cm), it's one inch smaller in both depth and height, and the same in width, as Think Tank's existing Airport Security
roller. That bag meets the carry-on requirements of most U.S. carriers, but is slightly too large to squeeze into the baggage sizers of airlines in other countries.
Though more compact than the Airport Security, the Airport International retains most of the bigger bag's key features and adds a twist or two of its own. It's wide enough for two large digital SLR bodies to be positioned side-by-side, long enough to hold up to a 500mm f/4 (with hood reversed), and includes a stretchy front pocket that will take a laptop in either the Artificial Intelligence 15 or Artificial Intelligence 17
sleeves (our MacBook Pro 17 inch in the latter sleeve slides snugly into the Airport International's front pocket).
By installing the optional AI Low Divider Set,
which as the name implies is comprised of rearrangeable, velcro-attached divider pieces that are two inches shorter than the standard dividers, it's possible to place a laptop in an Artificial Intelligence 15 inside the main compartment, or a similar-size item like the Cable Management 50
(The Artificial Intelligence 17 sleeve will not fit inside when the lower dividers are installed as per Think Tank's instructions
, which include retaining the standard dividers at the top of the bag. Removing all standard dividers, however, does enable the larger sleeve to fit entirely inside, if desired, though this will require some clever placement of bodies and lenses to make everything fit properly.)
Sky High: Views of the Think Tank Photo Airport International. Click any photo to enlarge. (Photos courtesy Think Tank Photo)
If your travel originates on non-U.S. carriers, as it often does for us here in Canada, and you prefer a roller over a backpack, the Airport International is absolutely worth checking out. Like other Think Tank rolling bags, the Airport International's boxy shape and clean lines enable it to swallow up a whole lot of photo gear without looking from the outside like it contains a whole lot of photo gear. Plus, being able to lock the bag to pillar or post provides a welcome measure of security when the Airport International is in a media room or other out-of-sight location.
Based on our experience with a review unit, both in the air and around town, it's clear that Think Tank has another winner on wheels in the Airport International. Our only quibbles to date have been minor: unlike the Airport Security, the Airport International lacks a monopod holder on the side. Plus, we'd like the option of attaching tether straps to prevent the main compartment cover from flopping back, hard, when opening it while a laptop is in the cover's front pocket.
The Airport International
is beginning to ship now, at a manfacturer's suggested list price (MSRP) of US$319 in the U.S. (the street price of Think Tank Photo products seems to stay close to MSRP). The AI Low Divider Set
has an MSRP of US$49 in the U.S. The company is also preparing to release as a separate item The Camera Strap, a narrow, grippy strap that's currently included with the rotation360°
backpack. The grey strap will come in two accent colours - blue and dark grey - and will be available soon, though a precise ship date hasn't been set.