Luggage has gone high-tech. Smart suitcases are all the rage with their ability to display the weight of your packed bag, track its location using GPS and allow you to charge your phone using a built-in USB port. There are even smart carry-ons that you can ride through the airport like a scooter or ones that will automatically follow you around.
Before you snag a shiny new smart suitcase, though, you need to know the rules for traveling with them. Early this year, major U.S. airlines banned smart luggage with lithium ion batteries from planes, due to safety concerns.
"It's a fire waiting to happen," said Steffanie Rivers, a flight attendant with American Airlines and author of "The Do's and Don'ts Of Flying: A Flight Attendant's Guide To Airline Travel Secrets." "In addition to everything else we have to police, now we have to peruse the aisles looking for smart luggage."
There are some workarounds for getting a smart suitcase securely on the plane, including removing the battery from the case, if you're checking the luggage and powering the bag down, if it's traveling in the cabin with you. Airlines will not allow any smart suitcase on a plane that does not have a removable battery, in case it needs to be checked at any point during your flight.
To help you arrive to your destination without hassle, we've rounded up a list of high-tech luggage for business travel that should be a breeze to bring on board U.S. airplanes.
With 100,000 sales of this colorful smart luggage, the Raden A22 has become a favorite for business travelers. The 22-inch carry-on bag is light, weighing only 8.4 pounds empty. It also includes 360-degree spinner wheels, a built-in scale and a clamshell polycarbonate exterior. The Raden A22 includes two USB ports for charging your devices and a removable lithium ion battery that slides out easily from a zippered pouch. The Raden A22 costs $295 and is available in eight colors.
When the road is your office, you need a suitcase that accommodates your work needs. The Barracuda Collapsible Carry-On Luggage is part smart bag, part mobile office. The ergonomically designed handle includes a fold-down laptop tray and two cup holders for comfortably firing off emails or transporting hot coffee. The smart suitcase has a removable USB charger for keeping your cellphone powered and location-tracking for keeping tabs on your bag when it is out of sight. The carry on is collapsible when empty, making it easy to store under a bed or hang in a closet. It includes a laundry and shoe bag to keep your items organized. The Barracuda is available in six colors and is $349.
Heys Smart Luggage
Heys Smart Luggage comes in a three-piece set that includes a 21-inch carry-on as well as a 26-inch and a 30-inch case. The bags feature a polycarbonate clamshell design and include 360-degree spinner wheels. The suitcases include built-in scales, Bluetooth, smart TSA locks that can be locked or unlocked using your smartphone and a proximity alarm that alerts your phone when your bag is a distance away from you. Heys uses two-AAA batteries instead of lithium ion, so you won't have to remove the battery or power down your luggage to board the plane. Heys Smart Luggage is available in burgundy, black and silver for $800.
Some carry-ons are smart and some are in a high-tech lane of their own. The Modobag includes dual USB charging ports, companion tracking and a removable carbon-free lithium battery to make boarding stress-free. The carry-on also converts into a rideable moped – yes, you read that right – and goes up to 5 mph indoors and 8 mph outside. The Modobag includes a telescopic handlebar for steering and breaking, a crush-proof laptop compartment and can accommodate a rider up to 260 pounds. The Modobag is available in black and is $1,495.
Do you wish your bag would carry itself sometimes? Well, the Travelmate carry-on does just that. The 21.7-inch stunner is a fully autonomous suitcase and can follow you around the airport once it's synced with your cellphone. It's intuitive and can gracefully navigate itself around crowds or objects; it can move horizontally or vertically. It includes a USB and standard electrical port for charging phones and laptops, and the battery can be easily removed. The carry-on also features a GPS chip that tracks your bag's location as well as a touch-enabled lock that opens using your fingerprint. The Travelmate is available in blue, black, and pink and costs $1,099.