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Posted by Victor Crew on

“Smart” Luggage Banned by Airlines Over Design Flaw

Flaws in the design of the “smart” luggage made by Bluesmart Inc. is causing the company to close its doors. Several major airlines have banned the luggage due to its lithium batteries—which could ignite and set fire to cargo compartments.

The company was started in 2014 with an impressive $2 million crowdfunding campaign.

The lithium batteries in question powered a GPS that users could track through their cellphones—which is the major selling point of the luggage. The batteries, however, also acted as a charging station for other devices, auto-locking mechanisms and a scale the weighs the bag.

The design flaw isn’t so much the lithium battery itself—other manufacturers have stayed in business as their designs avoided the issue—but the fact that to remove a Bluesmart battery one has to remove four screws and unplug at least three wires. The other makers’ batteries are easily removed.

Overall, these kinds of smart bags become just normal luggage without a power source to run features like the GPS tracking.

The company has already come out and stated they won’t be responding to any requests for refunds or replacements and will not honor any warranties.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Raden Smart Luggage

Overweight luggage fees – which can cost up to $100 – might be a thing of the past for travelers willing to invest in a new piece of Raden Smart Luggage. By simply lifting the luggage, the Raiden suitcase reports its own weight.

This just one of many utilities that’s built into a new smart luggage brand called Raden, which launches Tuesday. Raden charges your phone, gives you details about TSA wait lines, and alerts you via Bluetooth when your bag is coming down the carousel.

The bag is made out of durable Makrolon polycarbonate and weighs just 7.5 lbs. Inside is a removable compact battery with two ports that are accessible from the outside of the case. The battery averages about five full phone charges. It will even let you order an Uber.

They’ve also designed a sleek companion app to access all of Raden’s features from your cellphone.

Raden isn’t the first to launch a smart luggage startup: Competitor Bluesmart launched as an Indiegogo campaign in 2014 and shipped out 10,000 presold carry-ons in August 2015.

It has many of the same features as Raden, but only one model for now. Raden, on the other hand, comes in a 28″ check-in size and is available in seven colors. And it’s cheaper (Bluesmart’s bag costs $399).

Gimmick or genius? Only time and travelers will tell.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

New Luggage Size Regulations on the Horizon?

A recommendation by the International Air Transport Association might be the death knell for the worldwide symbol of business travel: the roller bag.

The International Air Transport Association has put out a recommendation that cabin bags be 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches to create more space for passengers to store luggage. This would mean passengers on American or Delta Air Lines would need bags roughly 20% smaller. Southwest passengers would lose about 40% in bag space.

At a time when airlines are making record profits, due to cheap gas and more efficient use of planes, it is no surprise that this proposal – which would essentially force passengers to pay to check their current luggage or buy new luggage – is drawing a lot of criticism.

Although no North American airlines have yet adopted the policy, many overseas airlines have and this precedent makes it easier for the other airlines to follow suit. However, on the whole, North American airlines make significantly higher profits per passenger than overseas companies—some of whom make as little as one dollar per passenger.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has become a voice for the average traveler by holding a press conference this past Sunday urging airlines not to adopt this new policy as it will add additional cost to middle-class families trying to take vacations and cause many business travelers to have to purchase new luggage. He too noted that airlines are making record profits while already charging for many little extras like checking baggage, leg room, head phones, pillows and snacks.