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


To mitigate the risk of fire, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have instituted restrictions on "smart bags" containing lithium-ion battery-power banks.

Starting on January 15, both Alaska Airlines and Delta will ban smart bags containing non-removable lithium-ion batteries from being checked or brought on the plane as a carry-on.

"Smart bags, also known as smart luggage, have become more popular over the last few months, and they are expected to be a popular gift this holiday season", said American Airlines.

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 previous year 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.

Numerous bags rely on lithium-ion batteries, which can overheat and pose a fire hazard, Delta said.

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It's expected to be a hot gift this Christmas: "smart" luggage, including bags you can track with Global Positioning System, lock remotely, ride like a scooter.

Although most of the airlines will allow passengers to travel with the smart bags if the battery is removed, but numerous bags already on the market have batteries that can't be removed.

"No additional action will be required", American Airlines said, "as long as the customer powers off the smart bag in accordance with existing FAA regulations". If a battery overheats and catches fire, it's easier to detect and extinguish in the cabin.

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.

And the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said it could issue industry-wide standards on the new luggage soon.

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One of the smart bag manufacturers, Bluesmart, says that it has sold 65,000 of them, and that it most recent version has sold out.

"If the battery can not be removed, the bag will not be allowed", the airlines said. "To date, neither the TSA nor FAA have endorsed a smart bag as approved". "We just want to make sure that if someone has to check the bag at any time, that they can remove that battery".

While most airlines understand and approve of smart luggage, others might still be getting up to speed.

Bluesmart said the company is organizing meetings with the world's major airlines and will demonstrate how its products meet all safety requirements and regulations.

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