NEW YORK: US airlines have moved to ban some smart luggage due to fire safety concerns over lithium batteries.
Both American Airlines and Delta will bring in new rules from January 15 which forbids the carriage of smart luggage unless the lithium batteries which are used to power them are removed before check-in.
Lithium batteries are used to power GPS signals to locate bags during a journey and have USB ports for charging other devices. Some models have removable battery packs while others are fixed. The airlines differ on policy over smart luggage as carry-ons.
American Airlines will allow the bags as carry-on luggage only but Delta says it will only allow those with removable batteries whether in the cabin or baggage hold. American says they ‘pose a risk when they are placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft.
The airline said: “As part of safety management and risk mitigation, we always evaluate ways to enhance our procedures, and the safety team at American has conducted its own analysis of these bags.”
United Airlines will also follow suit and is close to announcing its own policy soon.
Southwest Airlines, which touts its ‘bags fly free’ policy, said it is ‘in the process of reviewing our policies and considering changes’.