It might be time to dumb down your luggage.
At least three airlines will soon ban “smart” bags that do not have removable batteries.
This type of enhanced luggage — bags that can charge your phones and laptops, weigh your bags and offer GPS/Bluetooth capabilities — often utilizes lithium-ion batteries, which have come under increased scrutiny from the FAA due to possibility of being damaged and starting a fire.
Originally, the ban was only going to apply to checked luggage, but now potentially applies to all bags (since overhead bins aren’t always available).
The ban begins January 15th on Alaska, Delta and American Airlines. However, if the battery in the smart luggage can be removed, passengers can stow those chargers with them in the main cabin.
Since we’re certainly fans of smart luggage, this is cause for some concern. Bluesmart, which claims to have sold 65,000 smart bags, recently released a statement announcing, “all our products are compliant with FAA, DOT, FCC and UN38.3 regulations” and their intention to meet with “the world’s leading airlines.”
Away, meanwhile, notes that their smart bags feature removable batteries and “are still fit to fly.”