If a piece of “smart luggage” is on your Christmas list this year, make sure Santa shops carefully so your new case isn’t an unwanted fruitcake.
New checked bag restrictions by three airlines—American, Delta, and Alaska—will go into effect early next year banning the high-tech bags unless the lithium-ion batteries that power the smart features can be removed. More carriers may follow suit.
Lithium-ion batteries are a fire danger in the cargo area of passenger planes but are allowed in the cabin. However, if your smart luggage is carry-on size, the battery may still need to be removable. The Transportation Security Administration has been testing new security measures
that require travelers to place all electronics larger than a cell phone in bins for X-ray screening when going through the security checkpoint, with nothing above or below them. The procedures will be implemented at all airports nationwide by spring 2018.
The promise of traveling with a suitcase that offers built-in phone-charging ports, weight scales, location tracking, and other conveniences is not lost. The key is whether or not the battery is easily removable. According to Mashable, some already are, including the offerings from Marlon, Trunkster, Raden, and the newest versions of Bluesmart luggage.