Delta, American Airlines place restrictions on smart bags

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

American, Delta and Alaska Airlines put limits on 'smart bags' starting Jan. 15

Only trouble is, they soon may not be acceptable to major airlines unless those batteries can be removed.

Passengers carrying smart bags will face restrictions in most of the major US airlines.

Smart bags have grown in popularity, and are expected to be a popular holiday gift.

Tim Ryan, chief marketing officer at Chicago-based smart bag-maker Modobag, said its batteries are removable, though the company may consider making batteries easier to remove in an upcoming line of smart bags that are created to be checked. "And if it is, it's more than welcome to fly on American".

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.

It said it would be holding meetings with airlines to try and ensure its products are exempt from any restrictions.

Delta, American, and Alaska said on their websites that if the batteries can not be removed, the bags will not be allowed on planes.

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

Airlines are anxious that the batteries could cause a fire in the cargo hold that would go undetected. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects to industry-wide "guidance to be issued potentially this week", a representative said in a media hearing.

Numerous bags rely on lithium-ion batteries, which can overheat and pose a fire hazard, Delta said. Most can follow their owners using a motor or can be used as a scooter. "While most airlines understand and approve of smart luggage, others still might be getting up to speed".

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What's considered a "smart" bag?

Bluesmart said in a statement that its products meet all Department of Transportation, FAA, and other standards.

New York-based Bluesmart, a leading manufacturer of smart bag technology, issued a statement saying that all of its products are compatible with FAA, DOT, FCC and United Nations 38.3 regulations.

Airlines could ban so-called "smart" suitcases from all flights because their batteries pose a fire risk, officials have said.

American, which operates 390 daily flights in Philadelphia, said that its flight crews are trained to handle a fire in the cabin.

If the customer is able to take the bag into the cabin with them, the customer will be able to leave the battery installed.

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