Recently, few airlines have commenced banning specific kinds of smart luggage. However, the lithium battery that arrives with the bag could explode, which is why they’re considered a threat to security.
And now, a lot of travellers are left messy. They don’t know which smart luggage is permitted and which isn’t and what exactly is supposed smart luggage. Let’s understand each and every aspect in a more detailed manner.
When airlines indicate smart luggage, they’re talking about suitcases that come with a built-in battery. Sometimes, smart luggage is called intelligent bags, smart backpacks, or intelligent suitcases, but essentially it’s the same thing. Smart luggage is luggage that holds a battery used to power itself or to recharge other appliances. The phrase “smart” refers to the extra capabilities that the bag extends due to having a power supply.
Don’t use the term ‘Smart luggage’ incorrectly. It usually suggests any bag that comes with a novel and ‘smart’ feature (for example, a neat organizer), even if the bag doesn’t proceed with a built-in power supply. What makes smart luggage so impressive is that you get unique features that you wouldn’t usually have on a standard suitcase without a power supply.
Features of Smart Luggage
Luggage tracking. However, the specific tracking method differs between various brands (through GPS, GPRS, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi). Nevertheless, the principle is the same – you can track where your suitcase is by checking the app.
Proximity tracking. With some intelligent suitcases, you’ll get information whenever you’re going too far off from the bag. For example, if you forgot your bag in a taxi, the tracker would inform you after a set distance. “Whoops! It seems like you’ve forgotten your bag. Run, get it back!” You could then immediately ring the Taxi company and recover bags.
Charge devices. Almost all smart bags have built-in power banks. The battery capacity in mAh varies between manufacturers, and seldom you’ll get many USB ports with various power outputs for charging multiple electronics. We’ve noticed this remarkably handy in airports, trains, and buses, including where no sockets are nearby.
Built-in luggage scales. Some intelligent suitcases have a luggage scale built in their handle. When you choose a bag, it will determine how heavy it is, which is handy for adhering to the strict weight specifications for carry-ons.
RFID-blocking compartments. Although this innovation isn’t powered by electricity, all the smart suitcases come with an RFID-blocking pouch. Nowadays, you can take data with a simple scanner, which is why any phones and credit cards put into this pouch will not be readable from the outside.
Smart Luggage: Is it Legal?
Only smart luggage, including non-removable batteries, is banned. Smart suitcases with removable batteries are permitted, but the removable battery can only be taken on board and can’t be checked in. This rule pertains to lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries, not conventional AA batteries. You’re also restricted to 100 Watt-hours on lithium-ion batteries and 2 grams of lithium metal on lithium-metal batteries.
Up till 2017, smart luggage was still fresh, and no airline hit an eye on its legality. But during 2015 and 2016, a few incidents started to appear with lithium batteries in electronics. For instance, in 2015, a couple of the biggest airlines banned hoverboards on aeroplanes because of potential links between inevitable fires and lithium-ion batteries. And in 2016, the Transportation Security Administration TSA forbade Samsung Galaxy 7 phones on all airlines as they had a product issue that ended in unplanned fires.
This prompted a significant change in airline policies, and now airlines are more cautious about any built-in lithium batteries, including smart luggage. In 2017, American Airlines forbade all smart luggage with non-removable batteries, which advanced into effect on 15. January 2018. All the other essential airlines soon joined the ban, and promptly smart suitcases with non-removable batteries are useless.
Are Removable Batteries Allowed?
Unluckily, no. Because the smart luggage ban passed into action recently, some airline employees don’t yet understand all of the rules or laws. So even if the rules state that smart bags with removable batteries are okay to use, sometimes the airline employees don’t allow them anyway.
Ban on Motorized Luggage
Even though motorized suitcases technically support the TSA rules, you will be stopped and questioned by utilizing them. It’s an innovative technology that isn’t yet fully standardized, and a lot of people who have used motorized luggage report being stopped by airport security quite often. Even though motorized luggage is technically supported, in reality, using them is a nightmare because you’ll be controlled by airport security almost every time.
Checking-In Smart Luggage
Smart luggage mustn’t be checked in if it satisfies the carry-on size and weight specifications. That said, sometimes the aeroplane’s upper compartments are complete, and your smart carry-on might have to be checked in. If that’s the problem, you’ll have to remove the battery and carry it with you as a personal item.
Smart Luggage: Is it Worth Buy it?
Yes and no. It depends on your temperament and profession. Most of us are digitally-dependant and constantly carry around many tech things, even when going somewhere. It’s not unusual to bring a laptop, a camera, a smartphone, an e-reader, and heck; even smartwatches require to be charged.
One of the staff members who continually runs out of juice, will swear by the built-in power stocks. Also, the Proximity-alert and GPS locator functions are somewhat helpful because no one aspires to lose all the valuables they’re carrying. Ultimately, although several bags don’t have a built-in luggage scale, it’s wise perpetually to take a separate one, especially when facing the strict European carry-on weight specifications. That would make owning an integrated one would earn you an easier life.
But then again, if you’re not a tech person and travel only for leisure, smart luggage might not be for you. You see, smart luggage comes with some pitfalls as well – you have to charge the power bank, constantly remove the battery pack through security checks, and its price tag is higher than regular luggage.