If you have smart luggage on your holiday wish list this year, new rules from American Airlines and Delta may cause you to reconsider. As Apartment Therapy reports, the two major airlines have banned all smart luggage containing lithium-ion battery–powered phone chargers starting January 15, 2018. This includes the stylish suitcases made by cult-favorite brands like Away, Bluesmart, Raden, and more.
Like the Samsung Galaxy, which exploded on multiple flights last year, the battery-powered phone chargers in these smart suitcases are actually a serious fire hazard given their predisposition to overheating. “The FAA reports that, on average, one of these fires occurs every 10 days,” confirms Consumer Reports. While Delta and American are the only two airlines to announce the ban so far, it’s assumed that United and Southwest will soon follow suit.
“Under the ban, the airlines won’t let passengers check their smart luggage if the lithium-ion battery cannot be removed,” writes the publication. On the bright side, “while removal [of the battery] does render a smart suitcase ineffective, the physical removal shouldn’t be too much of an issue for travelers with Raden and Away bags.” Worst-case scenario, the airlines recommend packing a TSA-approved screwdriver to uninstall batteries before checking a bag or boarding the plane.