US Airlines Introduce Rules on Smart Luggage

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"The concern that airlines have is that power banks [like those installed on smart bags] have features prominently in fire incidents onboard", said IATA's David Brennan, who specializes in policies on the carriage of unsafe goods by air. If passengers need to check the bag, the battery must be removed and carried onboard.

In a statement to CNN, American Airlines wrote that the batteries "pose a risk when they are placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft".

American Airlines announced its ban on December 1, and other airlines have followed, including Alaska Airlines and Delta.

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.

So-called smart baggage has found a market niche among techie travelers by offering features like Global Positioning System tracking, enough smartphone re-charging power to get you to your destination and beyond, even a dubious method of transport around the terminal. If the bag is checked, however, the battery must be removed and carried in the cabin.

Instead they should always be checked in with carry-on. If the battery requires hardware to remove it, or can't quickly be taken out of the bag, then your safest bet is to use that bag for road trips, or on a cruise.

Competitor Raden boasts cases "purposely designed with a battery that can be easily removed in a matter of moments", the company said in an email. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects to industry-wide "guidance to be issued potentially this week", a representative said in a media hearing.

Airlines are anxious that the batteries could cause a fire in the cargo hold that would go undetected.

Bluesmart, a travel technology company with more than 65,000 "smart" suitcases around the world, said it was "saddened" by the changes, which it called a "step back" for travel.

"Before and at the time of production, we did our due diligence to make sure that we complied with all worldwide regulations defined by DOT and FAA", Bluesmart says on its website.

Concerns over the risk of a lithium ion battery fire were highlighted during the electronics ban temporarily imposed earlier this year on some flights to the United States.

"In the cabin, passengers and crew can fight a fire", he adds. As with the hoverboard ban, other airlines, including American Airlines, have also implemented a smart bags ban. "The new policies are banning luggage with non-removable batteries, and since every Away Carry-On has a removable battery, we're not impacted", Away co-founder and CEO Steph Korey says in a statement to The Verge. "To date, neither the TSA nor FAA have endorsed a smart bag as approved". "American is not opposed to smart bags".

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning about the batteries past year, urging airlines to examine the risks associated with transporting lithium batteries as cargo, including "the potential risk for a catastrophic hull loss".

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