Overview of the Flight Case Vertical Leather Briefcase
MacBook Flight Case
While the look may be familiar, the all-new MacBook Flight Case is a leather briefcase backpack like we've never seen before.
MacCase has been around longer than anyone in the Apple-specific case space having invented the market back in 1999. They are a design-focused company that marches to the beat of their own drummer, their products tending to be more of the "look good forever" type than the "trendy, here today, gone tomorrow" variety.
With that in mind, I had the chance to review the new flagship of the MacCase Premium Leather line, the MacBook Flight Case, vertical leather briefcase. It's a laptop case with a twist and fits between the company's compact Flight Jackets and their full-on, messenger-style shoulder bags.
The party trick of the design is its orientation, though maybe "trick" is not the best way to describe it. The vertical orientation is the first thing people notice when they see one and is typically the first thing owners rave abort when talking about one.
A Brief History of Brief History
A leather briefcase is typically horizontally oriented. The laptop case follows the same format. This is the traditional form factor and has been used for as long as cases have been brief. For the most part it works, though don't try and open one while standing.
Another issue with the traditional horizontal orientation is it can be cumbersome to walk with in a crowded space. Think of a commuter train, a crowded flight or even a crowded city street where the case is sticking out away from your body. The case and it's expensive electronic contents can be subject to all kinds of knocks, bumps and impacts because of the way the form sticks out from your body.
MacCase turns this idea on it's head, or at least on it's side. Their new leather briefcase is vertically oriented. It's a radical departure from the norm and possibly a big risk with a case like this.
Does it work? Let's find out.
A Vertical Leather Briefcase
MacCase Chief Creative Officer Michael Santoro didn't look far for inspiration for his new baby. From the front, the new Flight Case is the spitting image of the company's highly successful Flight Jacket design. Is this Santoro being lazy or smart?
"Many of our Flight Jacket customers were asking for a bit more room. The Flight Jackets are a unique statement but they are very compact. If that's what you want, it's great. But there is not a lot of room to grow if your needs change.
The Flight Case answers those needs and addresses the needs of those who like the look of the Flight Jacket but just needed more room," Santoro explained.
If you're one of those folks or just someone looking for something different and radically cool, have I got a laptop case for you. The vertical leather briefcase form factor is very easy on the eyes and it quite handsome.
The combination of MacCase's timeless design aesthetic with their wonderfully finished distressed "Vintage" hide works beautifully. The proportions are spot on.
Everything feels substantial and strong. You want to find something to put in it just so you can carry it around. When was the last time you said that about a bag?
A Vertical Leather Briefcase That Moves With You
Making something pretty is one thing, making something pretty that works in the real world is another. How does the new leather backpack stand up? Well if you've ever had to walk down a crowed city street or though a packed plane with a traditional horizontal briefcase, you know it can be a challenge trying to keep it from getting knocked in to and from knocking into someone else with it.
With the vertical leather briefcase design you feel as though you are literally wearing it like clothing, it moves with you. The long axis of the case and the long axis of your body are one in the same and you move together.
It's a very comforting feeling to have the case be so under control at all times especially with your laptop inside. The more stressful the situation, the more you appreciate this feeling of security.
The interior is nicely padded and lined with all seams being hidden so there is nothing to scratch your hardware. Unlike the Flight Jackets, the Flight Case is fully structured.
This means under all that sweet smelling natural material and padding are structural panels that allows the case to hold it's shape like a traditional leather briefcase. The handle on the Flight Case is also a standout feature and much more substantial than those on the Flight Jackets.
A padded, removable divider panel is included to keep your laptop from rubbing against something else you might be carrying. Nice touch. There are pockets in the front flap, under the flap and as part of the rear panel.
The pockets, while large, are not very deep, so carrying more three dimensional items might be a challenge. I was able to fit my charger in the flap pocket without a problem though. One place where you can fit more bulky items is in the removable front pouch.
The pouch is 6" x 6" x 1.5" deep and is soft to accommodate more voluminous pieces. If you need even more space, an optional Large Pouch is available that holds up to 50% more stuff. If you need the room, it's worth the $30.
With either pouch attached, getting to the buckle to open the case is a bit difficult as there is a lot of things going on in a small amount of space. Once I knew where to grip and squeeze, it was no longer a problem. It's not an issue if no pouch is attached.
Like the Flight Jackets, MacCase offers a backpack option for the Flight Case. This turns your vertical leather briefcase into a leather backpack. The backpack strap set is much more substantial then the Flight Jacket version but the overall case is much more substantial, so that makes sense.
Once clipped in and adjusted, the leather backpack functioned perfectly for walking to work or through an airport, leaving my hands free to pay for or carry things.
Again, if you're going to use them, the backpack strap set is well worth the price. You're basically getting a leather backpack for $30. Unlike the Flight Jackets, MacCase includes their heavily padded shoulder pad as part of the Flight Case.
The new Flight Case is in stock and shipping though I have been told the initial inventory is quite small so if you want one, I'd get an order placed pronto.
Currently, the only color choice is Vintage though Black should be coming at some point. Black will look much more conservative so hold out for one if Vintage is not you're thing. Any questions can be answered by calling customer service at 760-729-0620, M-F 10am-4pm PST.
Overall, I loved the new Flight Case. I never tired of people telling me what a cool bag it was, which has never happened to me before. Functionally it works well and is built like a bank vault.
Your stuff will be protected in this case. It's not for everyone, but that's the point. The world is full of dull, uninspiring laptop cases and bags. Your local big box store is full of them. Santoro's designs speak not to who people are, but who they want to be, not to how they live, but how they want to live.
They have a heroic, inspirational quality to them that's all but missing in this cynical age.
• Classic design will stand the test of time
• Full grain or top grain hides
• Some of the best craftsmanship at this price
• Overall solid build quality and construction
• Offers excellent protection
• Can carry multiple laptops and/ or tablets simultaneously
• Lots of options available for customization
• Going from briefcase to backpack takes just second
• Raw unfinished natural material will patina in over time
• Still a bit tight on space
• Front latch takes some getting used to
• Raw unfinished natural material will patina in over time
MacCase's distressed "Vintage" is a raw, unfinished hide. This is both a positive and a negative depending on your point of view. The unfinished nature of the hide can make it more susceptible to staining though something that would stain this material would probably stain any leather as well.
On the positive side, the hide will patina in over time and take on the characteristics of how it's owner uses it. Many people find this a feature and an attractive quality of the material.
Overall: Another legend in the making from MacCase
"This is one handsome vertical leather briefcase…"