Change In Airline Battery Rules Forces Shut Down Of Smart Luggage Firms

Alterations in policies of airlines about the manner in which lithium batteries can be taken on board planes has resulted in the closure in May of two smart luggage firms, and both the firms have laid this charge on airlines.

Doing business had become almost impossible because of the alterations in the policies by several major airlines in December 2017, said Raden and Bluesmart, the two aggrieved smart luggage firms.

According to the new rules the batteries in the luggage had to be removable.

Lithium battery power is required for the functioning smart suitcases because they have weight sensors, a built-in phone charger and devices for location awareness, and all of these require power.

“…our intent was to add ease and simplicity to your travel experience and this unforeseen policy change has made this impossible,” Raden said in a message on its website which was spotted by The Verge.

There were no removable batteries at all in the products of Bluesmart.

The firm announced on its website that it had to sell off its intellectual property to US suitcase brand Travelpro and the changes were described as “bittersweet” by the firm.

While the applications on the smart luggage would continue to function for those customers who have already bought them and are using them, the companies would not be able to do any refunds and replacements, both the firms have said.

Starting at a price of $295 (UK price £250), some retailers are still stocking Raden suitcases.

Currently, Bluesmart suitcases are also available with a starting price of £364 ($490) and Amazon UK.

There has been confusion at the check in counters due to the change in rules because people had been unsure whether they would be allowed to travel with their bags that had nonremovable lithium batteries, said analyst Ben Wood, from CCS Insight.

“The integration of lithium-ion batteries and radio technologies such as Bluetooth and cellular connections was always going to make smart luggage a veritable minefield,” he told the BBC.

“Given the complex regulations around what you can and can’t take on to a plane it is little surprise it has become an issue.”

(Adapted from BBC.com)

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