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December brought breaking news of an impending airline ban on “smart luggage”. Though quite a few airlines expressed plans for future bans, very little was known of the future, implementation or global impact. Tomorrow, that all changes. More than 280 major airlines around the world will take part in a ban recommended by the IATA. Here’s everything you need to know about the new smart luggage ban.


280+ IATA member airlines will ban smart luggage from the airplane cargo hold, effective January 15th, 2018. Think: every major airline, worldwide. If your carry on or checked bag has any GPS trackers or lithium ion batteries – they must be easily removable. If they are not – they will no longer be suitable for commercial air travel. This will apply North America, Europe, Asia, Pacific, South America and Africa.


If your luggage features a Lithium Ion battery, GPS tracker or electronics which cannot be removed, it’s subject to the new ban. This ban also applies to carry on luggage, if overhead bin space is unavailable.


The smart luggage ban will takes effect worldwide on January 15th, 2018. From this date, passengers may need to prove smart batteries or technology can be quickly removed from luggage. Carry on luggage must follow the same rules.


Lithium Ion battery are extremely flammable. Tests have proven such batteries are far less of a threat to aircraft safety on board where they can be contained, than in the cargo hold. Storing potentially flammable device in an area which cannot be attended is not acceptable.


All travelers should assume that during their travels they may be asked to prove that their luggage has a removable battery, GPS tracker or any potentially flammable technology which cannot be stored below. If you have a smart carry on, such as the extremely popular Away Travel bags, expect business as usual – just be prepared to remove your battery if your luggage must be stowed. Overhead bin space now matters more than ever.

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