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Bad News for Tech Lovers – US Airlines To Ban Some Smart Luggage

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Written by Charlie

If you have certain smart luggage, you may be unable to fly with it very soon! Find out what this ban covers and if you will be able to fly with it.

In a blow to all the people who have traded their “dumb” luggage for the bags that give their own weight, charge your devices, tell you where it is, and even move themselves, US airlines have announced that they will be banning such bags next month.

US Airlines to Ban Smart Luggage

I first started writing about these smart bags when the first big one hit the market via crowdfunding at Indiegogo – Bluesmart. As a gadget lover and someone who really enjoys seeing tech innovations in these types of industries, I was excited to see how well the adoption of this luggage would be among frequent flyers.


The first major smart bag, the Bluesmart carry-on

It had gone very well with other manufacturers jumping on the smart bandwagon and Bluesmart hitting mainstream with retailers and even being a great deal available last year with Amazon’s Prime Day in July. In fact, over 65,000 Bluesmart bags are now out there. That’s a pretty good number for a crowdfunded product from just 3 years ago. I have seen them quite a bit in airports as well.

However, that may soon come to an end as Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines have announced that they will no longer accept smart luggage, due to lithium ion batteries and the possibility that these bags may be checked into the cargo hold as of January 15, 2018. Here is part of American Airlines’ statement:

“As part of safety management and risk mitigation, we always evaluate ways to enhance our procedures, and the Safety team at American has conducted its own analysis of these bags. 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.

If the customer is able to take the bag into the cabin with them, the customer will be able to leave the battery installed. No additional action will be required, as long as the customer powers off the smart bag in accordance with existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. However, if a customer is required to check their smart bag, the customer will need to remove the battery.”

What If You Have Smart Luggage?

This is bad news for anyone that has just bought smart luggage as some of those prices compete with traditional bags from companies like Tumi and Briggs & Riley.

The good news is that if your bag can have the battery removed in the event that the bag needs to be checked, you will be ok.

With Bluesmart having so many customers, they are definitely trying to head this off for their customers the best they can. Here is their statement as to what they have done to ensure that their bags had been acceptable to the FAA, FCC, and the DOT.

The latest Bluesmart edition | Indiegogo

Bluesmart just launched their version 2 this past August on Indiegogo and it does list a removable battery as one of its features. I’m not sure if there is another lithium battery onboard to power the other aspects of the bag so we may see some changes to this bag before they ship all of them to customers.

Do you have a smart bag? Will it be able to fly post-January 15?

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Hi Charlie!

    Any idea what blue smart plans to do for those of us with the crowdfunding version of series 1 bags? As you may remember, that was primarily a carry-on sized bag. But it was not possible to remove the battery.

    Based on what we are hearing from the airlines if you get unlucky and have to gate check that bag you will be SOL. Makes me very unsatisfied now because the bag wasn’t exactly cheap and yet it’s a big risk to bring it to the airport if for some reason I have to gate check….

    • I feel for you. From what I read from Bluesmart, they are going to try and make sure all of their bags are cleared from this ban by showing their various specs on the bag. They had been cleared initially by the DOT and FAA so maybe their bags will get a waiver.
      If that fails, I would not be surprised if they initiated some kind of program to allow current version 1 owners to trade-in at a good price for a version 2 or a modified version 1. It would be pricey for them but really help them to keep their bags out there.