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US airlines to limit 'smart luggage' over battery fire fears - CNET

Smart luggage like the made by Bluesmart will soon face restrictions on many airlines. Sarah Tew / CNET

Many major US airlines have announced restrictions on so-called smart luggage out of concern their lithium ion batteries may pose a fire risk.

Smart luggage tends to contain a USB port for charging devices, GPS to track the bag's location, remote locking and built-in weight sensors. Some even sport a motor to propel the bag for ease of movement through an airport.

These features require power that is often supplied by built-in lithium ion batteries, which contain highly flammable liquid. Worried the batteries could cause a fire in the cargo hold that would go undetected, airlines are instituting new rules that require fliers remove the batteries when they check their luggage and carry them into the passenger cabin.

"Beginning Jan. 15, customers who travel with a smart bag must be able to remove the battery in case the bag has to be checked at any point in the customer's...(continued)

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