Three airlines in the United States will start banning smart luggage starting in January. Other airlines will most likely follow suit. By smart luggage, it means luggage with built-in batteries. Luggage with removable batteries will be accepted, as long as you take the batteries with you in the airplane cabin.
The first three airlines are Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. American Airlines, along with the International Air Transport Association, were at the forefront of this ban. It’s meant to decrease the risk of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries. No one wants another Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.
Companies like Bluesmart that provide smart luggage with built-in batteries are understandably alarmed. Bluesmart CEO Tom Pierucci told The Verge that the ban is “an absolute travesty” and represents a “huge step back” for travel. On the other side, companies that make smart luggage with removable batteries aren’t as concerned.
Of course, if you carry the battery into the cabin with you, it may still cause a fire if it’s a faulty battery. But a fire in the airplane cabin is easier to deal with than a fire in the cargo hold. The ban will be put into effect on January 15.