travel abroad

By: Nick Gambino

We’re in the thick of the holiday season and for better or worse many of us will find ourselves traveling out of town at some point.

If you have smart luggage that you use to charge up your devices or perform any other number of tasks with integrated technology and the use of lithium batteries, then this holiday season will be the last time you can check such bags.

American Airlines and several other major U.S. airlines have taken a stand against checking smart luggage. You won’t be able to check them unless you’ve removed the lithium battery pack.

The ban goes into effect in January allowing people to at least get through the holidays without last minute headaches on switching luggage.

Now as stated you can just remove the battery if you absolutely must check the bag. Or if it’s small enough for you to carry it on the plane, you can do that. There’s no rule that says you can’t keep it with you, lithium battery and all. I think it’s all about unsupervised battery packs in cargo holds posing a bigger liability. Though this is oddly reminiscent of the banned Samsung Galaxy Note 7s last year.

Bluesmart CEO Tomi Pierucci was none too happy with the new restrictions in a note to TechCruch. “The latest changes are an absolute travesty and is a huge step back not only for travel technology but it also presents an obstacle to streamlining and improving the way we all travel,” Pierucci stated. “If they are going to ban smart bags, then they should be banning cameras, laptops, and phones being checked in or carried on. All of these at some point caused issues with exploding batteries and yet it is smart bags and Bluesmart that is getting punished for this.”

While that’s not an unreasonable point, again it seems to be more about having unsupervised batteries in the cargo hold. You know, because if it explodes in your lap inside the passenger area of the plane at least we’ll know about it.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.