US Airlines Will Ban Smart Luggage Starting Next Year

As many likely predicted, several major United States airline companies plan to ban smart luggage without removable batteries starting January 15th, 2018, The Verge reports.

So far, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines have all pledged to participate in the ban on any smart luggage featuring non-removable lithium-ion batteries, with others considering joining in the near future. At present, the statements released by these companies are fairly similar in the prohibition of checking or carrying these types of bags onto planes. Additionally, any passenger with a bag featuring a removable battery must take out the battery and carry it with them to the cabin in order to have that bag checked, or take it with them as a carry on.

This decision came about primarily as a joint move by the International Air Transport Association and American Airlines, hoping to decrease the risk of fires many lithium-ion battery powered devices might cause. Similar devices, such as the infamous Samsung Galaxy Note 7, have been banned in the past for similar concerns.

Several companies are, predictably, unhappy with this decision, Bluesmart CEO Tomi Pierucci in particular calling the decision “an absolute travesty” as none of the company’s merchandise features removable batteries. Others, like CEO Steph Korey of Away, aren’t too stressed, as they had the forethought to manufacture smart luggage with removable batteries, predicting no significant drop in revenue from the ban.

Pierucci isn’t giving up, though, having already organized meetings with several airline companies to try and make an exemption for his products, though without making mention of any strategy to address the safety concerns that necessitated the ban in the first place. Though he claims to expect “positive news” in the next few weeks with regards to Bluesmart’s use on airlines, only time will tell whether or not he’ll have his way.