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New "Smart" bag policy effective 15 Jan 2018

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Old Jan 13, 18, 3:43 pm
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New "Smart" bag policy effective 15 Jan 2018

Google pulls up nothing public yet, but per communication to FAs and CSRs:

  • If a customer is checking their bag, they must remove any lithium-ion batteries, including those that are part of the bags themselves (smart bags) prior to checking the bags.
  • Once removed, these batteries can be transported in carry-on baggage.
  • Bags with non-removable batteries are not allowed on any United or United Express flights, either as carry-on or checked baggage.
As an added precaution, during curbside, lobby or gate acceptance of baggage, customer service representatives and vendors will ask customers about the presence of lithium ion batteries or e-cigarettes.
(Bolding mine)

I can't think of any bags where this would be an issue, but hey, maybe you all can.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 4:04 pm
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If this is indeed a new rule I'm certain it's not specific to UA/UAX and probably belongs in another forum.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 4:12 pm
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It's not specific to UA/UAX. Right now, AA, Delta, UA, Alaska, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Southwest have all launched "Smart bag" bans.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 6:16 pm
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Originally Posted by fezzington View Post
I can't think of any bags where this would be an issue, but hey, maybe you all can.
This would be one:

https://rimowa-electronictag.com/en-...t?continent=EU

Greetings - Dirk
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Old Jan 13, 18, 6:27 pm
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Originally Posted by fezzington View Post
I can't think of any bags where this would be an issue, but hey, maybe you all can.
Bluesmart

but there are many others that have removable batteries.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by djohannw View Post
This would be one:

https://rimowa-electronictag.com/en-...t?continent=EU

Greetings - Dirk
Yes, and ironically, Rimowa has been aggressively pushing the more expensive E-tag luggage here in the U.S., to the point that's become very difficult to find the older bags that do not have l-ion batteries.

These rules basically render the E-tag worthless. Though at least you can remove the batteries and thus still use the bag itself.
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Old Jan 13, 18, 6:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Yes, and ironically, Rimowa has been aggressively pushing the more expensive E-tag luggage here in the U.S., to the point that's become very difficult to find the older bags that do not have l-ion batteries.
Funny enough I recently went to a store in Germany to buy a Rimowa Salsa Air for my daughter, and they had shelf-loads of this bag-type, complaining that nobody buys them. The said it was because there are only two stations in Germany that accept this eTag (Frankfurt and Berlin Tegel), but when I told them about the upcoming battery-ban, they were in a state of shock (they claimed that half of their available inventory was this type of bag) - I guess we see some sales on this thing coming up pretty soon...:-)!

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Old Jan 13, 18, 7:28 pm
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OK, will admit this looks fake, but if this happens in hold, there is NO ONE to extinguish the fire. Ya, I know about the "automatic" sprinklers.

ANA had this rule in place in August IIRC, and for sure in December.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 4:18 pm
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The Rimowa eTag uses two AAA batteries...
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by JSchraut View Post
The Rimowa eTag uses two AAA batteries...
Which is good, but may ultimately prove to be a moot point. My guess is that airlines will implement a draconian "smart luggage" ban where if it looks smart.... they won't bother investigating how it is powered.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Yes, and ironically, Rimowa has been aggressively pushing the more expensive E-tag luggage here in the U.S., to the point that's become very difficult to find the older bags that do not have l-ion batteries.

These rules basically render the E-tag worthless. Though at least you can remove the batteries and thus still use the bag itself.
Doesn't the Rimowa e-Tag use removable non-rechargeable Lithium batteries (vs. non-disposible Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer)? Also, don't they use e-ink displays, where power is only required for a state change on the screen (meaning removal of the battery would result in the screen displaying the last tag programmed to it, but unable to change until batteries were reinserted)?
Originally Posted by LordHamster View Post
Which is good, but may ultimately prove to be a moot point. My guess is that airlines will implement a draconian "smart luggage" ban where if it looks smart.... they won't bother investigating how it is powered.
This may be the bigger problem. I imagine a lot of ramp personnel aren't going to know the intracacies of different battery types or what's allowed, or that e-ink displays can retain the last image even once the power source is removed.w
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Old Jan 16, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by LordHamster View Post
Which is good, but may ultimately prove to be a moot point. My guess is that airlines will implement a draconian "smart luggage" ban where if it looks smart.... they won't bother investigating how it is powered.
Ah, a dumb smart bag policy!

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Old Jan 16, 18, 11:53 am
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Originally Posted by DELee View Post
Ah, a dumb smart bag policy!

David
For the sake of efficiency, I'm sure the airlines view a blanket smart bag ban as "smart" instead of taking time to work out which bag squeezes in or not. The other passengers waiting in line behind probably don't mind the blanket ban either.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by fezzington View Post
Google pulls up nothing public yet, but per communication to FAs and CSRs:
The following is on a United web page titled - "Baggage information" (unfortunately I'm not allowed to add the URL to that United web page in this reply):

"Safety notice
Spare lithium batteries must be removed from any checked or gate-checked baggage. Effective January 15, 2018, you must also remove lithium batteries that are part of bags themselves (sometimes referred to as “smart bags”). These batteries can be transported in your carry-on baggage. Bags with non-removable lithium batteries are not allowed on any United flights, including United Express® flights."

The following is from the "2017 Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO" (contact me if you need the URL to this web page as I can't post it in this reply)

Smart Bag Policy Change Applies to All Passengers, including Crewmembers
Date: January 12, 2018
Type: AFA Article

MEC Safety, Health & Security Committee

Effective January 15, 2018, the new policy regarding smart bags will go into effect. Your MEC Safety, Health & Security Committee would like to make sure you are aware of this change.

Smart bags will only be allowed on board the aircraft, whether cargo or carry-on, if the batteries are removable from the bag. Once removed, the batteries may be transported in the passenger’s carry-on baggage. Any bag, in which the battery cannot be removed is not allowed on any United or United Express flight. Passengers are advised of this policy through multiple channels, while booking, check-in screens, gate announcements as well as on united.com. If you are made aware of a passenger traveling with a smart bag and the battery cannot be removed from the bag, redirect the passenger to the Customer Service Representative (CSR) then inform the captain. This policy requiring the removal of the battery applies equally to crewmembers.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 16, 18 at 11:59 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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