Smart luggage was banned on airlines in January. The ban was targetted towards smart luggage with non-removable lithium-ion batteries. The news was lost in everything else that was going on and did not gain much traction but the smart luggage company Bluesmart announced that it will be shutting down and blamed the ban for their closure.
The company also made another announcement that all of its assets were bought by the American luggage firm Travelpro. “The changes in policies announced by several major airlines at the end of last year—the banning of smart luggage with non-removable batteries—put our company in an irreversibly difficult financial and business situation. After exploring all the possible options for pivoting and moving forward, the company was finally forced to wind down its operations and explore disposition options, unable to continue operating as an independent entity,” said the statement.
Bluesmart had some of the most advanced smart suitcases and was known for its GPS tracking and USB ports for charging devices. What it failed to do was make the batteries removable. They said that it was due to the fact that regulations did not require removable batteries at the time. “Before and at the time of production, we did our due diligence to make sure that we complied with all international regulations defined by DOT and FAA,” Bluesmart said in a statement.
The company shutting down is not the only problem. They have witnessed a number of enraged customers. The complaints are numerous and range from complaints about the preorders, anger over the lack of response to their demands and requests for refunds of their products.
@bluesmart you can’t not respond to support emails for over 20 days. I need answers regarding my request.
— Itzik Cohen (@itzikcoh) February 28, 2018
The company attempted to address some of these issues on the blog. They added a number of conditions including “returns or replacements of Bluesmart products will no longer be accepted or refunded by our Support Team.” They also apologized on Twitter apologizing for the delays in responses saying that they are “experiencing a higher than normal volume of emails.”
The company said that they would not be offering warranty support for the products anymore but the servers and apps would be maintained for several months. They concluded the blog with a thoughtful message to the stakeholders.
The restrictions and warnings around lithium batteries is nothing new. Prior to the ban, airlines and aviation regulators advise companies building smart luggage products to avoid lithium batteries at all costs. We were told this on day 1 before building Lantrn Secure suitcases, the only suitcases to come with a pre-installed alarm system that stops people from tampering with your baggage. We use alkaline batteries, which don’t carry the restrictions lithium batteries do and are therefore allowed to be carried on or checked in with airlines. Just search for Lantrn Secure suitcases to find out more.