Airlines Move to Restrict ‘Smart’ Bags with Lithium-Ion Batteries from Checked Luggage

By Paul Riegler on 25 December 2017
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IMG_9402An increasing number of U.S. airlines announced plans to discontinue allowing passengers to check luggage with built-in batteries due to a potential fire hazard.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines said earlier this month that so-called “smart” bags, luggage that comes with built-in technology that can track a bag’s location using GPS as well as remotely lock and unlock it and even weigh it via an app won’t be permitted on board as checked luggage starting January 15.

Other airlines including Alaska, Hawaiian, Southwest, and United, followed suit.

The airlines are concerned about the potential fire hazard that lithium-ion batteries may create in the aircraft’s cargo hold.

While the Federal Aviation Administration has imposed restrictions on placing spare lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold, it has left it up to airlines to impose similar restrictions on batteries that are built into devices and even luggage.

One solution is for travelers to remove the batteries from the bags, although the batteries from some smart bags cannot be removed.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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