SMART BAG RESTRICTIONS ANNOUNCED BY AIRLINES

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By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2017 (San Diego) -- If a smart bag is on your gift list this holiday season, you’d better check twice before you go shopping. 

Multiple major airlines including American, Delta, Alaska, United, Continental and Southwest have announced plans to ban many smart luggage pieces due to the risk of explosions caused by lithium ion batteries, 10 News reports.

Smart luggage sounds like a traveler’s dream.  Equipped with GPS, they can help you find lost luggage, tell you how much your packed bag weighs to avoid charges for overweight items, and lock electronically to protect your belongings. Some bags can follow you around the airport, so you don’t have to haul them around, or even serve as a scooter to give you a ride.

But there’s a big catch. The lithium ion batteries can overheat, catch fire and explode—potentially causing an airline to crash.

Many of the airlines will allow smart bags to be checked if the batteries are first removed and carried in the cabin with the passenger. But some bags have batteries that can’t be removed.

If you’re shopping for a smart bag, be sure to choose a model that has a battery that can be removed.

Check with airlines before booking your ticket to find out the policy on smart bags, which varies among carriers. Some have indicated they will allow smart bags small enough to be carried on to travel with passengers, but only if they are powered off.  But other airlines are planning to ban even carry-on smart bags unless the batteries are removed.