6 Smart Suitcases That Won't Break Airlines' Battery Rules
Luggage companies have been working hard to make travel more convenient for us with wheels, TSA-friendly locks, specialized compartments, and chargers to keep our electronic devices ready to go.
However, for safety reasons, many domestic and international airlines have begun to restrict the lithium batteries that provide power for these chargers. Most allow the batteries in carry-on bags, but not in checked luggage due to potential fire risk.
For example, Delta’s baggage rule states that, “any portable electronic device equipped with a power bank offered as checked baggage must have the power bank removed prior to being checked in.” The power bank may be transported in carry-on baggage.
According to the American Airlines website, as of mid-January, “Due to a potential safety hazard, ‘smart’ bags (luggage with charging devices) can’t fly unless the battery can be removed.”
United is expected to announce similar regulations soon, and other airlines will likely follow. On Jan. 15 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed its global ban of smart bags. There are already restrictions on checking spare lithium batteries, and it appears the concerns may lead to further tightening of these rules.
As all travelers know, onboard space often fills up, and carry-on bags must then be checked as luggage at the last minute. For this reason, the power source should be easily removable. The smart bags we list here either meet this requirement or use power banks that are purchased separately so they can be detached when necessary.
Two things to look for when purchasing USB-compatible luggage: Be sure the power unit is easily removable, and note when a power bank — see the portable chargers we recommend — must be purchased separately.
In silver, champagne, or black with quiet wheels and TSA-approved locks, this bag also includes a leather name tag, two shoe bags, and a laundry bag. Its built-in fast charger easily pops out of the top of the suitcase in seconds for portability and airline compliance.
To buy: arloskye.com
G-RO's carry-on comes equipped with a slim, removable power bank that simply unplugs from the bag’s built-in USB wires so travelers can upgrade their G-RO with new tech at any time, or remove it completely if they need to quickly check a bag. It also comes with a removable Tile Slim Bluetooth tracker, which doesn't need a battery to keep tabs on your luggage's location.
Away’s cult-favorite suitcases come in 12 colors with unbreakable shells, TSA-approved locks, and built-in USB chargers that can power up a phone battery up to five times. In the most recent versions, the battery pack can easily be popped out of its exterior spot beneath the handle.
To buy: awaytravel.com
Travelpro Crew 11
This lightweight collection from Travelpro includes both hardside and softside luggage that is equipped with an external USB port that can connect any USB device to a power source for charging. A dedicated external pocket holds the easily removable power bank (but it must be purchased separately).
U.S. Traveler Smart USB Port EZ Charge
This affordable hardside spinner set comes in teal, royal blue, and purple, with TSA-approved locks and sturdy handles. A built-in USB port provides a convenient connection for charging portable electronic devices when attached to a power bank (purchased separately.) The interior power bank compartment must be accessed to remove the unit.