To Avoid Fires In Flight, Airlines Move To Restrict ‘Smart’ Luggage


Airlines including American, Delta and Alaska have announced restrictions on intelligent luggage. These are bags and suitcases that have phone chargers built in. Some have beam to get your luggage weight usually right. There’s even a drudge container that follows we around so we don’t have to lift it. These facilities of march need power, mostly in a form of lithium-ion batteries, and that is what’s a problem. Here to tell us some-more about a new manners on drifting with these bags is a possess contributor Laurel Wamsley. Hi there.


MCEVERS: So what are a airlines observant about intelligent luggage?

WAMSLEY: Well, they’ve announced that commencement Jan 15, business who have one of these intelligent bags have to mislay a battery. And – well, specifically, they need to be means to mislay a battery either they’re checking a bag or carrying it on. So if they’re going to check their bag, they have to take out a battery and move it onboard with them. And then, if a battery does have a battery – if a bag has a bag – battery that can’t be removed, they unequivocally can’t move it during all.

MCEVERS: Are these manners released by some of a airlines? Are these a manners that were released by a airlines? we mean, what are a FAA – what does a FAA contend about this?

WAMSLEY: Right. So these announcements are all from these 3 opposite airlines so far, and a integrate some-more contend they’re deliberation identical measures. The FAA fundamentally says that these manners follow a discipline that they already have per lithium batteries. They already contend that we should lift on inclination that have these batteries whenever probable instead of checking them. Basically a FAA – these regulations are fundamentally treating these batteries a same approach they already provide gangling lithium batteries.

MCEVERS: Are these a same batteries that were bursting in Samsung phones final year and in hoverboards a year before that?

WAMSLEY: Yes, they are.


WAMSLEY: So these lithium batteries that are found in lots of wiring these days since they’re unequivocally fit – they’re unequivocally small. They container a lot of power. But a ones in a intelligent suitcases are bigger than a ones that were in a smartphones that were bursting final year.

These ones – we know, they can energy a container behind you. They can energy a laptop – all these things. So with that bigger size, there’s kind of some-more danger. And also, again, since they’re in these suitcases, there are usually some-more of them in a luggage hold. So lithium is usually this unequivocally reactive material. So if there’s any production errors or anything like that in a devices, they can light and means what’s called thermal exile heading to glow or explosions.

MCEVERS: OK, so if they poise a glow hazard, won’t they be usually as dangerous in a carry-on as they would be in checked luggage?

WAMSLEY: Yeah, good question. So we asked a man during American Airlines about this, and a orator told me that a reason since you’re still authorised to have these onboard in a cabin is that in a cabin, people can quarrel a glow if one starts. If a glow breaks out in a load hold, it’s unequivocally tough to quarrel it since there’s no one down there. There’s usually all these suitcases. But if one breaks out onboard, we can usually kind of, we know, asperse a battery in H2O and things like that and put it out.

MCEVERS: So passengers and organisation will be fighting a fire?

WAMSLEY: Yes, and apparently that’s a plan.

MCEVERS: American Airlines pronounced it done a proclamation forward of a holidays so people would know about it as they’re shopping gifts. But what about people who already possess one of these suitcases?

WAMSLEY: Right. So again, this usually affects bags that don’t have removable batteries. So if we have one of a bags and a battery is removable, you’re fine. You usually have to take it out if you’re checking it. But if we have one where a battery isn’t removable, we should substantially container a opposite bag. And again, other airlines are looking during identical measures, so we should substantially check with your airline before we container your bag.

MCEVERS: NPR’s Laurel Wamsley explaining new regulations announced by some airlines on manners for intelligent luggage. Thank we really much.

WAMSLEY: You’re welcome.


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