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It’s time to ditch the expensive smart luggage and go analog—according to air carriers, at least


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Photo: Stocksy/Alita Ong

Between delays, getting stuck in the middle seat, and being trapped on a flying tin can with several crying babies, it’s no wonder that there are seemingly endless hacks and products to make the airplane journey smoother. The smart suitcase, which has become a chic and increasingly popular travel must-have for its features like charging your phone (because delays) and a GPS location tracker (because lost luggage), is one such trip-transformative innovation. But, despite the accessory’s rising star of popularity (or perhaps because of it) airlines have started questioning whether the techy bags are safe onboard, Afar reports—and it might mean bad news if you’ve invested in one.

Lithium-ion cell, battery-powered devices have been known to be explosive and to create risk of fire on planes. The battery, used in hoverboards and certain Samsung phones (both of which were ultimately banned on flights), is also featured in many smart suitcases. This has led airlines including Delta, United, Alaska, and Hawaiian, to ban the suitcases starting January 15—but only as checked luggage, meaning you can still have a smart carry-on. Phew.

Certain companies, like Away (the brand behind the millennial pink smart suitcases of your trendy travel dreams) have made the batteries in its suitcases easy to remove, should you need to check the bag. And, in order to stay competitive, other brands will soon have to redesign so their products can fly.

Or, you could think of the tech-questioning development as another reason to unplug (and in the process prevent possible travel strife). Because since analog, low-tech travel destinations look to be the it-spots of 2018, shouldn’t your luggage match in theme?

Travel with an old-school suitcase to make your digital-detox-themed getaway to Portugal or even the woods that much more on-trend. 

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