American Airlines to introduce new rules on 'smart bags'

American Airlines to introduce new rules on 'smart bags'

American Airlines' new policy on smart luggage, announced December 1, 2017, states that such bags contain lithium-ion batteries "which pose a risk when they are placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft".

The devices, some of which can even propel themselves via a battery-powered motor, have become increasingly popular for their suite of internet-connected features such as Global Positioning System tracking for lost bags.

If the customer is able to take the bag into the cabin with them, the customer will be able to leave the battery installed.

FAA rules already forbid passengers from checking any extra lithium ion batteries and instead insist that they be included in carry-on luggage. The high-tech luggage will be allowed as a carry-on, but the battery must be removable in the event that an airline is forced to downsize to a smaller plane without overhead bin space.

The new rule goes into effect January 15, 2018.

Many bag manufacturers advertise their products as being approved by the FAA, "which may give customers the false impression that all smart bags are accepted for transport", Delta said. Travelers should still power off the luggage when in the cabin following existing federal guidelines for lithium batteries.

The cases have grown in popularity in the U.S., but American Airlines fears that the batteries could pose a fire risk.

"Due to a potential safety hazard, "Smart" bags (luggage with charging devices) can't fly unless the battery can be removed", American Airlines said on its website.

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.

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