Remove the Battery From Your Smart Bag Before Flying Delta
If you have a smart suitcase and plan to board a Delta flight, you will have to remove the battery before boarding, even if you plan to take it with you.
In recent months, airlines have cracked down on smart luggage with a built-in battery. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued a ruling last year that made bags in the cargo hold unsafe, and in January of this year, a number of airlines began to ban testing of bags with batteries connected. In particular, American Airlines , Delta , Southwest , United , Jet Blue , Air Canada , LATAM , British Airways , Lufthansa , Air France , KLM , Emirates , Qatar , Qantas , Virgin Australia , Jet Star , Cathay Pacific , China Southern, and Hong Kong. Airlines .
Initially, there was a rule: bags could be used as carry-on luggage, but if they were checked, even if the gate was checked, then the batteries had to be removed.
With Delta, you no longer have to simply remove your bag before checking, you have to physically remove it before wearing it. The battery can be taken on board (and even dropped in a suitcase), but it cannot be connected to the bag’s built-in body.
Of course, removing the battery renders all of the battery-powered suitcase’s functions completely useless (which with Away is literally just battery power), so the real advice here is “Use a different suitcase.”
Fueling that thought: Away, one of the largest luggage vendors with a built-in battery, suggests removing the battery while you’re still at home so you don’t have to do it at the airport. Here’s an excerpt from an email Away sent to customers today:
So … just use it like a regular suitcase, not like a suitcase with a battery. Or, you know, use a regular suitcase and avoid checking at the gate altogether.
If you’ve got a suitcase Away, here’s the CEO showing you how to take out the battery, which isn’t entirely intuitive.
Here’s how to do the same with Bluesmart bags . Both are difficult enough, so you should do it at home.
Be that as it may, I have been carrying a Bluesmart bag with me for several years now, and even before this ruling had some serious and minor problems with TSA, especially in small towns. With the new rules, the confusion is likely to get exponentially worse.
As someone who likes to avoid anything that could be described as “hassle,” I stopped carrying Bluesmart on airplanes in January precisely because of the new regulations. Bluesmart says it is discussing issues with regulators and airlines, so a solution could (hopefully) be in the works.
Updated 2/15/18: Following the publication of this post, Away approached us with a request to clarify that the solution does not work with regulators or airlines. Specifically, the spokesperson said: “Since the new airline policy does not affect the products we sell, we are not looking for any solutions with the airlines as there are no problems. We contact airlines to ensure consistent communication and training of their agents at the entrance of their policies, but not the policy itself, as it does not affect our products. “
I would disagree with the “no problem” comment, but done.
Away will offer free replacement battery bags of original design with bags with lighter retractable batteries “in the next 2-3 months.”
In the meantime, don’t be surprised if other airlines follow Delta’s lead and also start banning plugged-in batteries in the cabin.