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US airlines plan to enforce new rules on smart bags

You'll have to remove the battery if you want to check your luggage.
Rob LeFebvre, @roblef
December 6, 2017
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Travelers looking to use their fancy new smart luggage may soon face a hard time getting the bags on a plane due to safety concerns about their batteries. According to CNN, American, Delta and Alaska Airlines have all announced that starting January 15th, passengers checking smart luggage will have to remove the lithium-ion batteries (or keep them powered down if traveling in the cabin). The site also says that United Continental and Southwest Airlines both plan to announce similar policies soon. That's 80 percent of the US air traffic, according to CNN.

The report also mentions Bluesmart, a smart bag maker that says it's compliant with current regulations, but whose lithium batteries cannot be removed. "We are saddened by these latest changes to some airline regulations and feel it is a step back not only for travel technology, but that it also presents an obstacle to streamlining and improving the way we all travel," the company said in a statement given to CNN. Safety around lithium-ion batteries has been a topic of concern lately, with the FAA recently proposing a ban on laptops in checked baggage. Researchers continue to try and find safer alternatives, though none have come to market just yet.

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