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Ginny Bosma President and CEO and Ben Bosma, General Manager of Aerovation Products LLC discuss the new TSA rules for checkpoint-friendly carryon baggage and their entry into the baggage manufacturing business.
QUESTION: How did you get involved with the TSA request for information (RFI) on checkpoint-friendly laptop bags?
GINNY: TSA issued a RFI in early March 2008. Ben and I began work on the bag that night. After protecting our intellectual property we submitted a white paper which TSA used to evaluate our concept. We got a letter from the TSA asking us to furnish them with a prototype which we sent to them..
QUESTION: What did the two of you contribute to the design?
GINNY: I’m a Hospice Nurse and carry a laptop computer with me to my patients’ homes. I wanted a bag that was soft, light and gave me easy access to my laptop.
BEN: I’m a former AF Fighter Pilot and current consulting engineer in low observables (stealth). I wanted a bag that was invisible to X-rays. My background and access to testing labs made it easy to engineer and test our design. We knew early on what would work.
QUESTION: What did TSA do with your prototype?
BEN: TSA ran our bag through their own lab in Arlington, VA using a variety of X-ray scanners and targets along with other vendors' bags. None, of the vendors were allowed to witness these tests. However, we knew what equipment they’d be using and targets they’d be placing in the bags to verify these designs. We replicated these techniques in our own lab. There were no surprises.
QUESTION: How did you go about commercializing your product?
GINNY: We had a high level of confidence in the checkpoint friendliness of our design months before TSA met with the vendor base. We wanted to get a jump on the competition so we began selling them in June of 2008. We were expecting TSA to issue a design specification but at the last minute they told the vendor base to self-certify their designs. They did offer testing facilities which were no better than our own capabilities. Our instincts were right to go to market.
QUESTION: What are you doing to follow up on the CPF® Laptop Bag?
GINNY: First, we’re going to offer a money back guarantee that our bags will clear your laptop at security checkpoints without being hassled by TSA for it not being checkpoint friendly. TSA always reserves the right to remove your laptop but we guarantee it won't be because the bag prevented them from seeing the contents of the laptop. Secondly we’re going to sell a CPF® Trolley Bag that’s as easy to use and fast to screen as the laptop bag.
QUESTION: What is your shipping policy?
GINNY: We ship mostly by UPS because we get a discount due to volume. However, we can ship parcel post and some items ship better view First Class Mail. If you want to find out what it costs to ship your item, you have to register and enter an item in the shopping cart. It automatically computes your shipping costs as you enter items. The shipping options are sorted from cheapest to most expensive.
QUESTION: Have you had any product reviews?
GINNY: You bet! Check out these reviews...
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