Yes, You Can Take Smart Luggage on Planes, But Only This Kind

Another smart luggage company has been permanently grounded, and it's blaming airline regulations and the resulting confusion for travelers. But not all of these bags are banned.

Away's luggage, seen here, can still fly the friendly skies, but other companies are falling by the wayside. Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Away's luggage, seen here, can still fly the friendly skies, but other companies are falling by the wayside. Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide)

Highly-durable suitcase-maker Raden announced yesterday (May 18) that it's "no longer in operation." In its statement, the company placed blame on regulations from major airlines that "severely impacted the usefulness of our products, their value to our customers, our business performance and ultimately the ability to continue operating."

MORE: The Away Bigger Carry-On with Pocket Is the Smart Luggage I'd Buy

Specifically, the December 2017 smart luggage bans from airlines such as American and Delta have forced travelers to leave suitcases with non-removable batteries at home. On May 1, smart luggage company Bluesmart ceased manufacturing operations, citing similar reasons.

Companies such as Raden responded by offering repairs and exchanges, so users could get bags with ejectable portable batteries, which are allowed on planes. Raden will no longer offer those repairs or replacements.

Away, one of the few remaining smart luggage brands out there, sells bags with removable batteries, including the Bigger Carry-On with Pocket, which I reviewed and loved. The battery ejects by clicking it down, which prompts it to pop up, like bread ejecting out of a toaster.

I hope that smart luggage companies can find a way to work within the guidelines, because traveling with a suitcase that featured easy access to a battery for charging my smartphone, proved incredibly convenient. Its portable battery features dual USB ports, so I could charge both my iPhone and my Bluetooth headphones at the same time.

As I passed through the airports during this trip, the TSA employees didn't question me about the bag's battery. I avoided this, I suspect, by not checking the bag on one flight, and ejecting the charger before I checked the suitcase on the other.

Don't count Raden, or at least the folks behind it, out of the gadget world yet. The company closed its statement by noting, "Please keep supporting young brands and innovative products - we will be building new ones."

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.