Airlines moving to ban 'smart' luggage over fire concerns
Dec 07 2017
15, any passenger with battery-powered luggage must be able to remove the battery to bring the bag on an American Airlines flight. If the battery can not be removed, the bag will not be allowed. One company, Bluesmart, said that more than 65,000 of its suitcases have safely traveled the world and that while they recognize the concerns, they have worked to ensure that they "complied with all global regulations defined by [the Department of Transportation] and FAA".
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.
Three U.S. airlines have announced new restrictions on so-called "smart bags" - a new breed of luggage that includes internal tracking devices and smartphone chargers - but may pose a risks to air travelers because the numerous bags are powered by lithium ion batteries that could potentially explode and catch fire.
"We just want to make sure that if people are going to buy smart bags, they ask the question: Is the battery removable?" said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein.
Many smart bags could soon be banned on most US flights.
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.
And when it comes to the smart bags if they’re small enough to can be checked in as carry-on
Lithium ion battery and motor allowing it to be used as a personal transportation device, either as a stand-up scooter or sit-on vehicle.
Airlines are anxious that the batteries could cause a fire in the cargo hold that would go undetected.
If it's not possible to remove the battery from the bag, the bag won't be allowed on the plane.
"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", said a statement from Bluesmart. But Delta points out that regulators have not specifically approved any company's smart bags. The move aims to protect aircraft from fires located in the cargo hold. Bags with non-removable batteries will not be allowed in either carry-on or checked baggage. It also requires that any spare lithium batteries travel only in carry-on baggage with passengers.
The concern about the bag was first cited by the International Air Transport Association, a trade group that issues guidance but does not regulate policy.
The restrictions, set to take effect January 15, 2018, adhere to FAA guidelines regarding lithium ion batteries, which are restricted from airline cargo holds for fears of the batteries' possible ignition in an uncontainable space.