by Zac Thompson
Several U.S. airlines have announced bans on technologically sophisticated “smart” suitcases with lithium-ion batteries that can’t be removed.
The high-powered batteries help make possible such wonders as suitcases with the capacity to charge cell phones, make their locations known via GPS, and even follow their owners around airports.
But those same batteries also have a tendency to burst into flames due to overheating—something nobody wants to happen in an airplane’s cargo hold, where a fire couldn’t be extinguished mid-flight.
Last week American Airlines became the first carrier to announce that, starting on January 15, passengers will not be allowed to check smart bags unless they have removable batteries. Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines quickly released similar restrictions that will go into effect on the same date.
Under all three carriers’ policies, the batteries in carry-on smart luggage will also need to be removed during flights.
United Airlines and Southwest Airlines are expected to follow suit.
So if high-tech luggage was on your holiday wish list for this year, you might need to make some revisions.