Don’t Give, or Receive, a “Smart” Suitcase This Christmas

Airliner“Smart” luggage is popular this holiday season. The term refers to luggage that may be motorized, or have the ability to charge your devices, or have other capabilities enabled by a built-in battery. Some smart luggage can link with your smartphone via wi-fi or bluetooth. Popular brands include AWAY, Raden and Bluesmart.

Unfortunately, tlithium batteries occasionally explode. Once ignited, lithium fires are difficult to extinguish. In the cargo hold of a commercial airliner, such a fire can easily bring down the aircraft.

For this reason, U.S. airlines are banning such smart luggage from being checked unless the battery is removed and carried in the passenger compartment. (Even there, they remain a danger.) Raden advertises on its website that its luggage is “the only smart luggage with a TSA approved removable battery.”

Other airlines around the world are expected to announce similar bans.

Unless the recipient will use it for train or bus travel, it would be risky to give “smart” or “intelligent” luggage as a gift this Christmas season.

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