Did you know that many major airlines have smart luggage bans?
I sure didn’t, until this morning when I watched, horrified, as a man on my plane to SFO was forced to empty the contents of his Bluesmart bag into a clear green trash bag given to him by a gate agent who insisted that the bag could not fly.
Turns out, several major airlines have instituted bans on smart luggage, including Delta, American, Alaska, Qantas and Virgin, and many others are likely to follow suit.
The issue is the internal lithium-ion batteries that now must be removed before flying—with certain brands they’re easy to remove, but with others, they’re embedded in the bottom of the bag or in some cases, they can’t be taken out at all.
So which brand should you go with, if you forego old-school regular-old luggage? Read on to find out and avoid having your panties splayed out on floor of gate 38B.
These brands make smart luggage that’s easily removable:
We’re big fans of the Away bags and love the fact that the company was founded by female travelers. At $225, their starting price point for product is right on, and their sleek style is made all the more better by the fact that their bags have easily removable batteries, which means they pass the test and can fly despite the smart luggage ban. https://www.awaytravel.com/shop
With their iconic aluminum carry-ons starting at $550, Arlo Skye is definitely more of an investment. The trade off here is functionality. Their batteries are easily removable from the outside (so you won’t have to open your suitcase in front of everyone) and that battery is then usable to charge your phone or other electronics while you’re on the go. We’re not sure that warrants an additional $300, but you can decide for yourself. Find out more here: https://arloskye.com/pages/design-philosophy
With their bright colors and cool functions (this bag collapses down to basically flat and has a fold-down tray for laptops and other items to sit on), Barracuda is a great pick for those looking for sleek design. Like all other smart bags, they also have location tracking and a digital scale as well, and their price point starts at $350.
Unfortunately, as much as I love Bluesmart and the people behind it, their bags are apparently incompatible with the smart luggage ban as the batteries in their bags do not remove (particularly their first generation bags, which the poor guy on my flight was carrying). This is despite the bags being TSA and DOT compliant, unfortunately. We haven’t seen the latest models, so we can’t confirm whether this has changed yet.