"Smart" luggage battery ban claims its first victim

With multiple major airlines banning the transport of “smart” luggage powered lithium-ion batteries as checked bags it was only a matter of time before one of the upstart manufacturers folded. This week we now know the first victim: Bluesmart is closing up shop. The company filed for bankruptcy in California, sold off its technology to industry heavyweight Travelpro and will no longer offer support, refunds or returns.

The policy change was announced just weeks after the company completed a monster sales round, gaining 18,000 pre-orders for its second generation suitcase. Alas, the battery module in the Bluesmart suitcases is integrated, not removable, and that simply does not fly with the new rules. With a complex routine for removing the battery to make the bags compliant as the only alternative it was clear that the company was not long for the world.

The company launched as an Indiegogo project back in late 2014 and the product was in reasonably high demand at that time. The initial pitch met its goal in just a couple hours. And by most appearances the company was successful in growing. That v2 sell out certainly appeared promising. Alas, those bags were never really going to fly and that created major issues for the company.

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. This represents a very unfortunate outcome for everyone involved, and we are all very sorry for this unexpected turn of events. For five years, our team worked tirelessly to create great products and bring true innovation to travelers around of the world.

Further, the company will not be refunding the payments made through any of the crowdfunding campaigns. Any customer who contributed but did not receive their goods joins with the other creditors seeking to recoup some of the cash.

The digital bits of the bags are expected to continue working for at least several months, though the company will not guarantee performance nor how long those systems will remain online.

Bluesmart servers and apps will be maintained for several months from today. No immediate changes to the Bluesmart user experience are expected at this time, although functionality or service quality will be reduced in the future.

Seth Miller has over a decade of experience covering the airline industry. With a strong focus on passenger experience, Seth also has deep knowledge of inflight connectivity and loyalty programs. He is widely respected as an unbiased commentator on the aviation industry. He is frequently consulted on innovations in passenger experience by airlines and technology providers. You can connect with Seth on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .