Airlines Ban Smart Bags That Lack Removable Batteries

Three major U.S. airlines have announced new restrictions on

Similarly, American Airlines has announced a policy likewise requiring li-ion batteries to be removed from smart luggage.

American Airlines, the first US carrier to impose restrictions on the smart bags, announced a new policy last week that require its passengers to check smart bags to remove the lithium ion batteries.

American, Delta and Alaska airlines have all announced that as of January 15, travelers may no longer check smart bags unless their batteries can be removed.

So-called "smart suitcases" are getting their first taste of pushback, with airlines and trade associations calling for more guidance on luggage that will also charge your phone.

With the proliferation of powerful lithium-ion batteries, and cases of smartphones and devices overheating in flight, Delta said that past year it has equipped all aircraft with in-cabin containment bags in the event of a fire on board.

Numerous bags rely on lithium-ion batteries, which can overheat and pose a fire hazard, Delta said.

The bags, which have been growing in popularity, contain Global Positioning System tracking and can charge devices, weigh themselves or be locked remotely using mobile phones.

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15, any passenger with battery-powered luggage must be able to remove the battery to bring the bag on an American Airlines flight.

United says they are planning to implement a similar policy and Southwest is undertaking a review. If a battery overheats and catches fire, it's easier to detect and extinguish in the cabin. Some even a motor to propel the bags so that they can double as a scooter or just follow their owner around the airport.

If it's not possible to remove the battery from the bag, the bag won't be allowed on the plane.

But they are powered by lithium ion batteries, which have been known to burst into flames on flights. "As this technology continues to evolve, we will work with the industry and our partner airlines to evaluate all safety policies and provide clear guidance regarding the safe use of smart bags".

The problem with smart luggage is particularly noteworthy because airlines have been marketing basic economy fares that often don't allow for full-size carry-on luggage, thereby forcing those passengers to check their bags.

"Many smart bag manufacturers advertise their products as being approved by the FAA or TSA [Transportation Security Administration], which may give customers the false impression that all smart bags are accepted for transport", Delta said.

What's considered a "smart" bag? "We have nothing against smart bags", Feinstein said. The company said it will meet with airlines to make sure its products will be exempt.do not have removable batteries, a company spokesman said.

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