New airline regulation on battery safety and carry-ons is challenging luggage brands to come up with smart luggage designs that go way beyond the regular road warrior duty. Canadian travellers accustomed to judging luggage on the criteria of size, flexibility and weight must now ask themselves an all-important but simple question: can the lithium battery be taken out?
Effective January 15, 2018 a handful of major U.S. airlines including American, Alaska, and Delta no longer allow passengers to fly with smart bags that contain non-removable lithium batteries. This revised policy applies to both carry-on and checked baggage. Some luggage manufacturers already sell smart luggage that comply with the FAA protocol, but the shift has ignited an industry-wide sweep of innovation as other firms move to regain compliance.
The policy stems from the safety concerns that lithium batteries are “susceptible to emitting smoke, catching fire, and even exploding”. With 160 documented incidents, the new rules have come earlier than anticipated. IATA (the International Air Transport Association) expects most carriers to follow the recommendations. While most airlines will still allow lithium batteries in carry-on, American in particular is insisting that they must be removable. The carrier will not require travellers to take out the battery if they are bringing the bag into the cabin. But they must be able to check the bag if there is not enough space in the overhead bin and therefore they must be removable.
With standardized practices being the norm in the industry, Canadian airlines are sure to fall in line with the standards set by their American counterparts. Globetrotters from both sides of the border should begin to re-evaluate their luggage choices or risk being denied boarding.
Luckily, there’s no better time than the present to invest in a new bag. According to a recent article in the Herald-Tribune, “Between now and March is an ideal time to purchase new luggage: Last year’s luggage is on sale, and the time frame is before the summer travel season – and price uptick.”
In recent studies and tests, Travelpro smart luggage has been found as not only one of the safest choices, but a top choice as the go-to and must have luggage for 2018. Travelpro Crew 11 carry-on (CDN $269.99 at Hudson’s Bay) has pulled away from the pack as one of the Top Picks, boasting an affordable blend of size, reliability and durability, and sporting the newly-crucial removable batteries.
Travelpro Crew 11 carry-on with USB Port
Sold on: Hudson’s Bay
Retail Price: $269.99 CDN
Colours available: black
SOURCE Jesson + Company Communications Inc.