Three US airlines to restrict certain smart luggage from cargo holds

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Three US airlines to restrict certain smart luggage from cargo holds

Just ahead of the holiday season, three airlines announced that starting on January 15, they will no longer accept so-called "smart" bags or smart luggage that does not have removable lithium-ion batteries, due to their potential to overheat and pose a fire risk during flight.

American Airlines, the first US carrier to impose restrictions on the smart bags, announced a new policy last week that require its passengers to check smart bags to remove the lithium ion batteries.

"We wanted to get out ahead of the holiday season given that it's one of the trendy gifts for travelers", said American spokeswoman Leslie Scott.

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

Companies like BlueSmart, Raden and Away make luggage that includes Global Positioning System tracking, can measure its own weight, and yes, charge phones.

Smart bags will be allowed as carry-on baggage, if they meet carry-on size limits and if it's possible to remove the battery from the bag if needed.

United Continental and Southwest Airlines said both airlines also plan to announce new smart bag policies soon. If a battery overheats and catches fire, it's easier to detect and extinguish in the cabin.

"It's incumbent upon those of us in the luggage space to make sure we make the airline community aware and educate them on what our products are, and are not", Ryan said.

If the bag will fly as a checked bag, the battery must be removed and the battery must be carried in the cabin.

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.

Lithium ion battery and motor allowing it to be used as a personal transportation device, either as a stand-up scooter or sit-on vehicle. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects to industry-wide "guidance to be issued potentially this week", a representative said in a media hearing. "To date, neither the TSA nor FAA have endorsed a smart bag as approved". If the battery can be removed, then a passenger may be able to bring the bag on board with the battery installed. It said it is arranging meetings with the airlines to demonstrate their bags' safety and hopes to have them exempt from the restrictions. "We understand that there are some airport security concerns about travel technology and companies adhering to the various regulations and quality standards", Bluesmart said.

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