Major airlines in the United States oppose smart luggage. In a rare little solidarity, several of the country's leading carriers have announced rules that would limit the use of high-tech bags, for fear of possible battery combustion.
American Airlines led the charge in the ban. On Friday of last week, the operator noticed that a policy change will take effect just after the hectic holiday season. "As of January 15, customers traveling with a smart bag should be able to remove the battery in case the bag needs to be checked at any point of the customer's trip, if the battery can not be removed, the battery will not be allowed. bag, "the company wrote in a statement.
The airline cited the potential risk of lithium battery combustion. The move echoes last year's concerns about Samsung's Galaxy Note 7, although unlike that move, this is a more proactive step. The company cites general potential concerns, rather than specific incidents. The ban specifically focuses on checked baggage placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft.
Interestingly, the selective ban does not apply if the customer carries the luggage to the main cabin as carry-on luggage. Once checked, however, baggage will only be allowed if the battery is removed from the bag. That option is not available on all pieces of smart luggage, so it's essentially useless.
Both Delta and Alaska have launched similar languages set for the same time period, and CNN reports that United Continental and Southwest will follow soon. As the site notes, that covers about 80 percent of air traffic in the United States, which naturally places the fledgling smart luggage industry in a rather difficult place. These radical changes have left some startups feeling individualized.
"The latest changes are an absolute parody and it is a big step back not only for travel technology, but also an obstacle to streamline and improve the way we travel," Bluesmart CEO Tomi Pierucci said. an energetic TechCrunch note. "If they are going to ban smart bags, then they should prohibit cameras, laptops and telephones from being registered or made." At one point, all of these problems caused problems with the battery explosion, and yet the is punishing smart bags and Bluesmart for this. "
The movements come from the International Air Transport Association. Although IATA does not regulate this type of rules, unlike, say, the FAA. By contrast, airlines have implemented individual, but largely consistent, versions of the rules.
Some companies in space seem to have prepared an opinion in this regard. In a statement to TechCrunch, Away's CEO, Steph Korey, touted the company's baggage design. "All Away Carry-Ons has batteries that can be easily removed, it's a feature that we carefully designed, in part, because customers were asking for a charger that could be stored with them and used during the flight."
If regulation remains in place, other players are likely to implement similar functionality. Meanwhile, however, it leaves several companies in a difficult place. In a statement to TechCrunch, Away's CEO, Steph Korey, touted the company's baggage design. "We created the category of an old industry that has not had any innovation in the last 50 years," says Pierucci. "And now they're trying to eliminate us and the category." When making a removable battery, the suitcase will become stupid. "