Both American Airlines and Delta will bring in new rules from January 15 which forbids the carriage of smart luggage unless the lithium batteries which are used to power them are removed before check-in.
Most smart bags on the market do not have removable batteries, and FAA rules already prohibit spare lithium-ion batteries from checked luggage.
The devices, some of which can even propel themselves via a battery-powered motor, have become increasingly popular for their suite of internet-connected features such as Global Positioning System tracking for lost bags. "If the battery can not be removed, the bag will not be allowed".
The cases have grown in popularity in the USA, but American Airlines fears that the batteries could pose a fire risk. But all of those features depend on there being a constant source of power - and airlines are starting to worry about the safety risk that poses. Crew members are trained to put out fires in the main cabin with extinguishers and fire containment bags, but they are essentially powerless in reaching them in the hard-to-access luggage hold.
The battery-powered suitcases typically feature USB ports that give travelers the opportunity to charge their electronic devices wherever they go.
Although American is the first carrier to impose these new restrictions others are expected to follow as the bags become more commonplace.
Smart-luggage start-up Away co-founder Steph Korey revealed the company's batteries can be removed with a TSA-approved screwdriver included with the suitcases.
"We understand that there are some airport security concerns about travel technology and companies adhering to the various regulations and quality standards", Bluesmart said.
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