American and Other Airlines To Ban Smart Bags

Starting on January 15 American Airlines will require passengers checking luggage to remove the lithium ion batteries installed in so-called

It even includes bag that will find and follow you.

Prices can range from $275 to more than $1,000, depending on a bag's bells and whistles, like device charging, Global Positioning System tracking, remote locking and built-in weight sensors. But numerous bags already on the market have batteries that can't be removed. American Airlines released a statement December 1 asking customers to remove their batteries from their smart luggage because of "safety management and risk mitigation" beginning January 15, 2018. If the battery can not be removed, the bag will not be allowed.

If you know someone who travels a lot and you were thinking of getting them a so called "smart bag" for Christmas - you may want to spend a few minutes researching the bag before you buy. If passengers need to check the bag, the battery must be removed and carried onboard.

And in the case of a bag having a non removable battery, those can not be checked or carried onto the flight.

The concern is that lithium ion batteries, used in computers, tablets, phone chargers and other devices, can explode and catch fire when damaged.

New smart suitcases and carry-on bags being sold possess all sorts of features aimed to make travel easier. If the bag will be traveling in the cabin, the battery can remain installed as long as it is powered off.

But the heydays of electronic luggage are at an end, at least for smart bags with built-in Lithium-Ion batteries.

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They may be super convenient, but here's the problem: Those lithium battery power banks "pose a risk when they are placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft", American wrote in a Friday news release.

Not a good thing to happen when it's in a jet's cargo hold. If a fire starts there, the crew can use fire suppression bottles to fight it, "but you can only deploy them once".

Bluesmart also says its bags comply with the current federal regulations from the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.

"It's incumbent upon those of us in the luggage space to make sure we make the airline community aware and educate them on what our products are, and are not", Ryan said.

"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.

Some luggage makers advertise that their bags are "TSA-approved".

What's considered a "smart" bag? And Feinstein says that on American, there won't be any exemptions to its policies, no matter the manufacturer. "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. "American is not opposed to smart bags".

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