a man and woman standing next to luggage

Update: As of December 3rd American and Alaska have created “smart luggage” bans matching American Airlines. We’ve updated the article to reflect those changes. 

 We’ve a long, long way in the luggage world. Lighter, better, faster bags have now flooded the market, with some even offering GPS location, electronics charging and more. But innovation has created potential for travel risks – and airlines are beginning to act. Here’s everything you need to know about what airlines are banning – and where…

a sign with arrows and directionsThe Who

American Airlines, Delta and Alaska are the first U.S. airlines to ban “smart luggage” from the hold – but all likelihood points to a majority of airlines worldwide doing the same. “Smart” luggage can still be carried on – if, and only if the battery or “smart” electronic product is detachable. Bags with Lithium batteries and other smart technologies that cannot be removed, classified as such by the IATA, will be refused if batteries cannot be removed. Further announcements are expected imminently.

a man and woman standing next to luggage

The What

The core issue is keeping highly flammable, Lithium Ion batteries out of the cargo hold, much like laptops. Smart carry on luggage will be fine, IF the battery or smart product – such as a GPS tracker, electronic lock or bluetooth connectivity is detachable and removable. So to clarify – you’ll still 100% be able to carry on bags like AWAY, which have mobile charging ports, due to the battery being detachable. If the battery is not detachable, no go. Do research before purchasing.

a person holding a phoneThe When

The new American, Delta and Alaska policies become effective January 15th, 2018. It’s likely that many other airlines will follow suit in very short order. If you currently use luggage or carry on bags without a removable battery, you may very likely need new luggage. If at any point a bag needs to be checked, such as overhead bins being full – your bag would be refused. Personal electronic devices in aircraft cargo holds are dangerous business – and the crack down is on. At least you know, right?

How will this affect you?

HT: ThePointsGuy

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. What’s the point of a smart bag with GPS if you have to remove the battery to check it in ?…
    Once lost it won’t tell you where it is…
    Smart luggage companies can now start to close their doors and fire their employees…

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