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07 December 2017, 04:31 | Cesar Cruz
Why You Shouldn't Buy 'Smart' Luggage
American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott told the Chicago Tribune: 'We wanted to get out ahead of the holiday season given that it's one of the trendy gifts for travelers'. The rationale is that if a battery were to catch fire, it can more easily be extinguished in the passenger cabin, versus in the cargo hold.
Under the restrictions, the bags only will be permitted on a flight if the lithium batteries have been removed.
American was the first US carrier to announce a new policy Friday to require passengers checking smart luggage to remove the lithium ion batteries.
Many smart bags could soon be banned on most US flights.
Companies like BlueSmart, Raden and Away make luggage that includes Global Positioning System tracking, can measure its own weight, and yes, charge phones. Most can follow their owners using a motor or can be used as a scooter.
Now Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines have announced similar policies set to take effect on January 15. However, if a customer is required to check their smart bag, the customer will need to remove the battery.
United and Southwest are also expected to announce similar policies, according to CNN. Between them, those five airlines handle more than 80% of US air traffic.
In May, the International Air Transport Association, an airline trade association, published suggested smart bag guidelines for airlines.
"We are saddened by these latest changes to some airline regulations and feel it is a step back not only for travel technology, but that it also presents an obstacle to streamlining and improving the way we all travel", saida statement from Bluesmart. The problem is, its lithium batteries cannot be removed. The TSA said the bags are not on its list of prohibited items. "When a carry-on bag is checked at the gate or at planeside, any spare lithium batteries must be removed from the bag and kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin".
Careen gave no details of any potential industry-wide standards, but said he expected others could quickly follow the example of the USA carriers.
This policy follows the FAA's general rules (PDF) regarding lithium ion batteries and also the growing concern by our industry around these batteries in our cargo areas. Bags with non-removable batteries will not be allowed in either carry-on or checked baggage.
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