Newsroom - Travel Smart with Smart Bags - American Airlines Group, Inc

Three major U.S. airlines have announced new restrictions on

Newsroom - Travel Smart with Smart Bags - American Airlines Group, Inc.

USA based carriers American Airlines (AAL.O), Delta (DAL.N) and Alaska Airlines (ALK.N) all said last week that as of January 15, 2018, they would require the battery to be removed before allowing the bags on board. Airlines could ban so-called "smart" suitcases from all flights because their batteries pose a fire risk.

Global airlines body IATA said it could issue industry-wide standards on the new luggage soon, after some US airlines issued their own restrictions on smart bags, whose manufacturers include companies such as BlueSmart, Raden or Away.

Prices can range from $275 to more than $1,000, depending on a bag's bells and whistles, like device charging, Global Positioning System tracking, remote locking and built-in weight sensors.

The batteries are in many electronics these days, because they are extremely efficient. Everything from electric fidget spinners to "hoverboards" have caught on fire from overheated li-ion batteries.

Most airlines will allow smart luggage on their flights if the batteries are removed.

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"If the battery can not be removed, the bag will not be allowed", the airlines said.

Smart luggage companies Away and Raden say on their websites that batteries in their bags can be easily removed.

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.

A spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines said the carrier is "in the midst of reviewing their policies and considering changes".

The FAA is already concerned with lithium batteries in the cargo hold.

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The companies say that such rulings aren't unexpected, and many built their luggage to have removable batteries.

For manufacturers of luggage with nonremovable batteries, the airlines' restrictions are a blow.

This policy follows the FAA's general rules (PDF) regarding lithium ion batteries and also the growing concern by our industry around these batteries in our cargo areas.

"Before and at the time of production, we did our due diligence to make sure that we complied with all worldwide regulations defined by DOT and FAA", one such company, Bluesmart, said on its website.

"As this technology continues to evolve, we will work with the industry and our partner airlines to evaluate all safety policies and provide clear guidance regarding the safe use of smart bags".

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So-called "smart suitcases" are getting their first taste of pushback, with airlines and trade associations calling for more guidance on luggage that will also charge your phone.

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