Travel Smart with Smart Bags

Friday, December 01, 2017, 11:30 AM

Policy change effective beginning Jan. 15

Smart bags, also known as smart luggage, have become more popular over the last few months, and they are expected to be a popular gift this holiday season. However, smart bags contain lithium battery power banks, which pose a risk when they are placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft.

As part of safety management and risk mitigation, we always evaluate ways to enhance our procedures, and the Safety team at American has conducted its own analysis of these bags. Beginning Jan. 15, customers who travel with a smart bag must be able to remove the battery in case the bag has to be checked at any point in the customer’s journey. If the battery cannot be removed, the bag will not be allowed.

If the customer is able to take the bag into the cabin with them, the customer will be able to leave the battery installed. No additional action will be required, as long as the customer powers off the smart bag in accordance with existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. However, if a customer is required to check their smart bag, the customer will need to remove the battery.

This policy will apply to all American and American Eagle flights.

Smart bag basics

What is a smart bag? According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a smart bag may include features such as:

  • Lithium ion battery and motor allowing it to be used as a personal transportation device, either as a stand-up scooter or sit-on vehicle. These devices do not meet the criteria of a mobility device
  • Lithium ion battery power bank that allows charging of other electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops
  • GPS tracking devices with or without GSM capability
  • Bluetooth, RFID and Wi-Fi capability
  • Electronic baggage tags
  • Electronic lock(s)
  • Lithium ion battery, motor and tracking device (GPS) allowing the bag to self-propel and “follow” the owner