Smart Suitcases are an interesting wrinkle that have turned up over the past few years, with facilities for them to self weigh, add GPS tracking, the ability to charge a mobile phone and such.
And what do they use? Lithium Ion Batteries.
And thus we have a problem when it comes to Li-Ion and Airplanes.
For some time, Lithium Ion batteries have been banned from the holds of aircraft (one need cast their mind back to the hoverboard bans that floated around a couple of years ago).
Well it seems both American Airlines and Delta are saying no to Smart Suitcases for hold luggage purposes – unless the battery is removed and making them “dumb” in the process.
There’s a full piece in the New York Times
This follows a directive from IATA (which makes for bedtime reading at https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/safety/Documents/IATA-Guidance-on-Smart-Baggage-with-integrated-lithium-batteries-and-electronics.pdf
Delta actions are listed at http://airport.blog.ajc.com/2017/12/01/delta-restricts-smart-bags-with-lithium-ion-batteries/
Note this applies to both hold and checked luggage for American Airlines and Delta.
And I’d expect other airlines to take the line of precaution and safety over smart luggage.
Bluesmart has issued a full defensive piece about how their luggage is safe. However, we all know what could happen with Lithium Ion Batteries in the air.
Bottom line: If you’ve brought a Smart Suitcase… ensure you can take the battery out from it. If you’re thinking of getting one – hang fire whilst the regulators and airlines sort themselves out.
Whilst Smart Technology is great – in the air – it’s safety first always.
And if that means taking out the battery that powers you luggage… so be it…
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