Friday, 15 December, 2017

Newsroom - Travel Smart with Smart Bags - American Airlines Group, Inc

Starting on January 15 American Airlines will require passengers checking luggage to remove the lithium ion batteries installed in so-called Newsroom - Travel Smart with Smart Bags - American Airlines Group, Inc.
Laurie Berry | 07 December, 2017, 04:32

American, Delta and Alaska airlines have all announced that as of January 15, travelers may no longer check smart bags unless their batteries can be removed. The move aims to protect aircraft from fires located in the cargo hold.

It's expected to be a hot gift this Christmas: "smart" luggage, including bags you can track with Global Positioning System, lock remotely, ride like a scooter. But numerous bags already on the market have batteries that can't be removed. Everything from electric fidget spinners to "hoverboards" have caught on fire from overheated li-ion batteries.

So-called smart luggage that includes tracking technology and remote locks won't be allowed in the cargo holds on board some of the world's biggest airlines unless the lithium batteries used to power the devices are removed.

Although most of the airlines will allow passengers to travel with the smart bags if the battery is removed, but numerous bags already on the market have batteries that can't be removed. "If the battery can not be removed, the bag will not be allowed", American said in a statement on Friday.

Smart luggage companies Away and Raden say on their websites that batteries in their bags can be easily removed.

But all those extras come with a hitch: namely that some are powered by lithium ion batteries, which in 2016, figured prominently the recall of roughly 2.5 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after reports that their lithium ion batteries exploded.

United Continental and Southwest Airlines said both airlines also plan to announce new smart bag policies soon.

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Many smart bag manufacturers advertise their products as being approved by the Federal Aviation Administration or Transportation Security Administration, which may give customers the false impression that all smart bags are accepted for transport.

The FAA is already concerned with lithium batteries in the cargo hold.

"Spare (uninstalled) lithium metal and lithium ion batteries are always prohibited in checked baggage and must be placed in carry-on".

Smart luggage manufacturers have pushed back.

"Power banks are considered spare batteries and must be individually protected from short-circuit and carried in carry-on baggage only", according to the International Air Transport Association's 2017 Lithium Battery Guidance Document.

"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", one such company, Bluesmart, said on its website.

While most airlines understand and approve of smart luggage, others might still be getting up to speed.

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