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.
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.
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