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Restrictions Coming To ‘Smart Bags’ Starting Jan. 15, 2018

Lithium-ion batteries have a pretty awful reputation when it comes to plane travel. They’re the reason why hoverboards began spontaneously exploding and are now no longer allowed on flights. They’re also the culprit for the briefly released Samsung Galaxy Note7, which had similar instability issues and also banned from flights. Part of the technology that makes lithium-ion batteries so powerful also leads to them overheating and as a posing a serious fire hazard. In result, new policies regarding the proper procedure for lithium-ion batteries on flights are being created. Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have recently announced an updated protocol for passengers traveling with lithium-ion batteries, including items like smart bags.  

What are ‘smart bags’?

Smart bags are typical pieces of luggage, but also feature integrated technology. There are a few different models on the market, but most allow travelers to weigh their luggage and even lock it through an app on their phone. Some can track your luggage using GPS. And others can even be used as a mobile charging station for phones and laptops. This autonomous smart bag is hands-free and will automatically follow the owner as they walk! As amazing and innovative as these new smart bags are, they unfortunately use lithium-ion batteries to operate. Due to the unpredictability of lithium-ion batteries, a debate has taken hold. Where is the safest place for smart bags on an aircraft? Should these batteries be stored in the cargo hold, where the Department of Homeland Security recently announced large electronics should be placed? Or, should they be in the cabin, where if an error occurs, it could be addressed immediately? Now some airlines are taking the lead and implementing policies that regulate lithium-ion batteries on air crafts. 

 

Airlines restrictions on lithium-ion batteries and smart bags

Delta, American, and Alaska are the three airlines leading the charge on these restrictions. Both recently announced their decision to ban smart bags with non-removable lithium-ion batteries from flights. The removed batteries should then be brought in the passenger’s carry-on, similar to how passengers should bring extra batteries. If the battery is removable, the smart bag will be allowed on the flight.  American added that in their policy, non-removable batteries will be allowed, but only if the battery can be turned off. If the traveler cannot turn off or remove the battery, the bag will be refused. These restrictions will go into place starting January 15, 2018. 

It should also be noted that many smart bag companies claim their products comply with TSA and FAA procedures. This may be true, but they are not endorsed by the airlines. 

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Guides Travel Tips

Gift Ideas For Business Travelers

Frequent business travelers are an interesting breed—they have their own techniques and tricks for just about everything travel related. Whether it’s packing know-how or airport shortcuts; they usually have their own way of doing things. That’s one reason why finding gifts that will fit into their existing routines can be a struggle. This year, we’ve asked our internal team for their reliable travel favorites or items on their wish list. Come ready this year with these tried-and-true gift ideas for business travelers.

2017 top gift ideas for business travelers

  1. Ebags laptop briefcase – This professional piece of luggage can be used for a quick day trip or a longer stay. The briefcase has a handy compartment for your laptop, with additional storage. It can be used as a briefcase, with an over-the-shoulder strap. Or, convert into a modern backpack. The best part? It easily mounts on top of your rolling suitcase, zippering around the extending poles. Ease the awkwardness of traveling with multiple bags with this gift.
  2. RFID blocking wallet –  RFID, or radio frequency identification, is the latest technology used to easily and quickly identify and scan information. You can find it in credit cards, passports, toll lane passes and other devices. Unfortunately, hackers with RFID readers can easily access this information too. If you’re worried about a loved one running into this type of scam while on the road, an RFID blocking wallet or other item may be the perfect gift. You can also find RFID blocking fanny packs, luggage, and even skinny jeans! 
  3. BlenderBottle GoStak Storage jars – This is the perfect gift for any health-conscious person on your list, especially a frequent traveler. These stacking jars fits two servings of protein powder shake and supplements, plus an extra compartment for portioned snacks. Additionally, it easily stacks together, for a space-saving solution. 
  4. Coffee subscriptions – Those always on-the-go professionals are often always with coffee in hand too! Get them something you know they’ll use with a monthly subscription of coffee. Many different subscriptions exist, all delivered to their door.   
  5. Aukey car phone mount – You’ll be surprised by how simple, small, and cheap this product is! For anyone who frequently travels by car, this is an easy solution to keep smartphones easily accessible and in place. This car phone mount simply snaps into any car air vent. A strong magnet is placed on the back of their phone, giving the driver a hands-free view of their smartphone screen.  Other reviews indicate that it can be used with even the heaviest and largest smartphones. 
  6. Anker Multiport usb wall charger – With smartphones, tablets, Fitbits, Kindles, portable speakers, etc., the need to charge multiple devices at once is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, most devices charge via a usb port, and most hotel rooms don’t provide these stations. This 4-port wall charger allows the user to charge four devices at once. So they can efficiently charge everything they need at once and get back to what’s more important.
  7. Sentri home security – Not the most exciting gift on the list, but one that provides peace of mind. Let your frequent traveler virtually check-in on their home with this camera and interface. The touch screen device, which looks like a basic clock, is also a camera. When there is movement inside the house, the user will receive an update on their phone. From there, they can look at live feed of the house or past recordings. Depending on the situation, a siren can be instigated from the phone to the device, scaring whoever may be inside.  It also connects to other smart home devices, like Nest. There are different monthly payment options, including a free version.
  8. CLEAR – CLEAR is similar to TSA Pre-Check in that it allows its members to quickly speed through security lines at the airport. Using the traveler’s fingerprint or eye scan, it verifies that it’s really them and gets them on their way. Though a higher price tag than TSA Precheck ($15 a month, compared to $85 for 5 years), it is becoming known as the fastest option, (while TSA Pre-Check is under scrutiny for slow lines and delays). Currently in 30 cities, it is also being used at sports stadiums.  
  9. Priority Pass Lounge access – This is the ULTIMATE gift for frequent business travelers. With 1000+ lounges in over 500 countries, your traveler can access airline lounges between flights. Let them relax and decompress from traveling, grab a bite to eat or drink (including free alcohol at most lounges), along with free secure wifi. It comes with three different membership tiers. Though they are continually adding more lounges, double check that their frequently traveled locations are on the list first before purchasing.