Jet Air to ban 'smart bags' unless batteries are removed

Following instructions from the IATA, Jet Airways on Thursday said it will prohibit passengers from carrying smart luggage on its aircraft from 15 January. This would put Jet Air in league with several other airlines including United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Qantas, and British Airways, all of whom have issued regulations on smart luggage.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) defines smart luggage as bags with non-removable batteries. It also includes devices with integrated lithium batteries, motors, power banks, GPS, GSM, Bluetooth, RFID or Wi-Fi technology. Bags with batteries will only be accepted if it is possible to remove the battery.

The passenger is responsible for declaring the removal of the battery from the smart bag to the airline staff. Jet Airways will not be accountable for any damage or loss occurring due to the removal of batteries, the airline said.

The IATA announced late last month that its Dangerous Goods Board restricted carrying smart luggage on passenger flights operated by its 275 member airlines from 15 January.

"In accordance with the regulations issued by the IATA towards ensuring flight safety, smart bags or smart luggage which include devices with non-removable batteries, will not be permitted on all our flights, effective January 15," Jet Airways said in an advisory on Friday.

"Guests checking in smart luggage must uninstall the batteries prior to check-in. Post-removal, batteries can be carried separately in cabin baggage only," the airline said.

According to The Hindu, Jet is enforcing the regulation since it has sizeable US operations. Smart bags are in their very early stages in India, and it is more of a US trend, where smart bags come fitted with lithium-ion batteries and motors allowing them to be used as a personal transportation device, either as a stand-up scooter or sit on vehicle.