Airlines Restrict 'Smart Luggage' Over Fire Hazards Posed by Batteries
"Beginning Jan. 15, customers who travel with a smart bag must be able to remove the battery in case the bag has to be checked at any point in the customer's journey. If the battery cannot be removed, the bag will not be allowed," American said in a statement on Friday. The same day, Delta and Alaska announced similar policies on their flights.
American's policy dictates that if the bag is carry-on size, passengers can take the luggage onboard, so long as the battery can be removed if needed. If passengers need to check the bag, the battery must be removed and carried onboard. But if the bag has a nonremovable battery, it can't be checked or carried on.
An FAA spokesman told The Washington Post that the airlines' policies are "consistent with our guidance that lithium-ion batteries should not be carried in the cargo hold."
Last month I wrote: "Listening to an ad for luggage with a built in USB charger, which may be the worst idea ever. Now your suitcase can grow obsolete. What if it breaks? Or a bigger battery comes along? And you always have the weight penalty even when you don’t need it.” I think we can all agree now that this is a terrible idea for many reasons.