Smart luggage company Bluesmart is shutting down, after struggles following U.S. airlines bans on baggage with non-removable batteries at the end of last year.
The company was “forced to wind down its operations and explore disposition options, unable to continue operating as an independent entity,” according to a blog post.
Beginning in December, airlines started banning all smart luggage that could not have lithium batteries removed.
The $400 Bluesmart suitcase was one of the first to be able to charge USB devices, tell owners how much it weighed and track itself with an app and GPS. However, it was difficult to remove the battery. It required unscrewing the battery pack with a screwdriver and disconnecting a few wires.
But when the battery is removed, Bluesmart luggage loses all of its cool features.
The company announced that it will no longer manufacture, sell or advertise any products. It will not honor warranties. A company called Travelpro has bought all of Bluesmart’s intellectual property, designs and branding.
Those who bought Bluesmart luggage will still have a few months to continue using the tandem app but, according to the company, “functionality or service quality will be reduced in the future.”
Other smart luggage companies — like Raden and Away — have not been affected by the battery ban, as their battery packs are easier to remove. Early customers of Away luggage still need to remove their battery packs with screws. The company emailed customers of its original design last week to announce that it is introducing an ejectable battery pack. Customers will be able to visit an Away store or send away for a new airline-approved battery pack.