Global News

Airlines restrict 'smart luggage' that uses lithium batteries

Airlines restrict 'smart luggage' that uses lithium batteries

Most airlines will allow smart luggage on their flights if the batteries are removed, but some smart luggage bags don't give users that option. The airline is placing restrictions on so-called "smart luggage" due to concerns that the lithium ion batteries that power some bags could pose a fire risk.

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.

"We just want to make sure that if people are going to buy smart bags, they ask the question: Is the battery removable?" said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein.

With the proliferation of powerful lithium-ion batteries used in devices, and as a result of high-profile instances of overheating smartphones and other devices in flight, Delta a year ago equipped all of its aircraft as well as regional jets operated by its Delta Connection partners with in-cabin containment bags in the event a device powered by a lithium-ion battery experiences a thermal runaway event or fire on board. Last year, the FAA noted that their testing of plane fire safety showed that "current cargo fire suppression systems can not effectively control a lithium battery fire".

For those new to the latest trend in luggage, smart bags are suitcases or laptop bags that offer built in extras, like the ability to charge or your phone or track it should it go astray. Most of the bans will allow fliers to check the bags if the battery can be removed and carried by the passenger in the cabin.

Bottoms stops by FOX 5, talks about victory in Atlanta mayor's race
Results from Atlanta's mayoral race will be recounted on Saturday after voters delivered a almost split decision Tuesday night. Her victory also would continue the Democratic Party's hold on an office it has held without interruption since 1879.

One company that manufactures smart bags, Bluesmart, said the batteries in its luggage are not removable. It announced plans to meet with airlines to seek exemptions for its products. Batteries were also blamed for hoverboards that caught fire, also prompting airline bans.

Lithium-ion batteries are well known for being volatile; their tendency to explode is heavily documented, particularly in cases involving consumer devices with less than optimal construction.

Lithium ion battery and motor allowing it to be used as a personal transportation device, either as a stand-up scooter or sit-on vehicle.

But Bluesmart, which says more than 65,000 of its suitcases are being used around the world, said its batteries can not be removed but that its products meet all safety regulations and requirements. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects to industry-wide "guidance to be issued potentially this week", a representative said in a media hearing.

What's considered a "smart" bag? If the bag will be traveling in the cabin, the battery can remain installed as long as it is powered off. Many require you to use a TSA-approved screwdriver to get to the batteries in an Away piece of luggage. It said it is arranging meetings with the airlines to demonstrate their bags' safety and hopes to have them exempt from the restrictions. "We love innovation and understand why smart bags are so appealing for travel".