A smoking suitcase is not a cool travel accessory.
It’s important to properly pack everything you bring along on your trip, especially when it comes to electronics.
Many devices, from laptops to phone chargers, use lithium batteries, which the TSA requires all passengers to pack in their carry-on bags. The main reason for this is that lithium batteries used for electronics can pose a rather unpredictable fire risk while in the air if they are checked.
At Boston Logan International Airport on Saturday, a lithium battery used to charge an e-cigarette ended up causing a suitcase that was checked onto a flight to expel smoke, causing a temporary evacuation in the checked baggage screening room, NECN reported.
Airport workers noticed the smoke only a few minutes before loading the suitcase onto the plane. The TSA posted a video of the smoking bag on Twitter. According to NECN, the owner of the bag was a man traveling to Kansas City.
Luckily, despite the smoke, the bag was determined to be safe after a check by the Massport Fire & Rescue and a state police bomb unit, according to Boston.com. No other parts of the airport were affected by the evacuation.
“TSA is focused on ensuring that nothing catastrophic occurs on an airplane, and so of course a suitcase that has smoke emitting from it is definitely suspicious,” a TSA official said in a statement.
One witness told NECN, “I don't smoke, but now I certainly won't have one of those. Never! I rather take my chances with a lit one.”
Even if a lithium battery is packed in a carry-on, it can still cause problems. But having it in the cabin with you makes it easier to detect an igniting battery before it can cause serious harm. Phone and laptop chargers have been the culprits in recent incidents.
If you must take your battery with you, make sure to stow it where you can keep an eye on it. And remember to make sure it’s undamaged and functioning properly before taking it on a trip.