New Smart Bag Restrictions Starting This Month For Most Carriers
This may have been written about by other bloggers in the Boarding Area network, but while on the AA website under baggage rules, there’s a section that I haven’t noticed before that announces a restriction on “smart” bags, or suitcases that have charging devices within them.
According to the American Airlines website, pertaining to “smart” bags, “Due to a potential safety hazard, ‘Smart’ bags (luggage with charging devices) can’t fly unless the battery can be removed. Effective January 15, 2018.”
The Points Guy notes that similar bans are taking place by Delta and Alaska Airlines. Australian airlines Qantas and Virgin have also followed suit. Southwest announced later in December that they would also follow suit by banning some smart bags. I haven’t seen any notice that United Airlines is following suit, but if they haven’t, I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes soon given that all other major U.S. airlines have announced such a ban.
So what are smart bags and why the ban? Smart bags are those that have lithium batteries in them so that people can charge their phones, sync electronics to them, use GPS, and even allows people to track their bag using that GPS. The ban requires that those smart bags that don’t allow for removal of the lithium battery cannot fly because the threat posed by a catastrophic fire, based on findings by the FAA.
This should encourage producers to get the product in line with the requirements. The bags can be quite expensive, especially those that include GPS and tracking capabilities. We’ll see how many change to the requirement by beginning to manufacture them with the capability to remove the lithium battery.