These smart suitcases with GPS tracking and phone charging ports are TSA-approved — and doing big business
This smart luggage will help you power through your travels.
Suitcases and bags outfitted with GPS trackers, battery packs and USB charging ports for phones and electronics help keep travelers from tripping over delays and long journeys.
This class of high-tech suitcases with features like Wi-Fi hotspots, SIM cards, GPS and Bluetooth has come to be known as smart luggage, a market that’s expect to reach $2,353.2 million by 2022.
But they also carry a hefty price tag. Smart luggage can range from $245 for a carry-on with a built-in charging port to nearly $1,000 for a GPS tracking-enabled suitcase with Bluetooth, depending on the label and the fully-loaded features.
“We’ve all had those moments where we feel like we’d give anything for 3% more on our battery. You can definitely understand the demand for that,” Seth Kaplan, editor-in-chief of Airline Weekly, told Moneyish. “With GPS trackers, you can literally see your bag getting on the flight.”
“Everything else in our lives is high-tech now, and the biggest innovation with luggages over the past several decades, until recently, remained adding wheels to it,” he added. “There’s no surprise that luggage is now catching up to all the other devices in our lives in productivity and convenience.”
And the new tech could be the reason less baggage is getting lost. Less than six bags per 1,000 passengers were lost in 2016, Travel + Leisure reported.
While smart luggage is super convenient, it’s important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration has new guidelines that require batteries to be removed from all checked baggage. In December, airlines including American, Delta and Alaska announced restrictions on smart luggage, because the lithium-ion batteries found in many of these suitcases are a fire hazard. In 2016, a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight, raising safety concerns about similar kinds of batteries being used on flights.
The new airline guidelines have forced a number of smart luggage companies like BlueSmart and Raden to fold, because their bags were not complaint with FAA standards, and so they couldn’t maintain the business.
But there are still ways to utilize smart technology safely and effectively if you buy the right bag. Here are some of the best high-tech suitcases to buy before you fly:
U.S. Traveler Piazza 22, $50.86
It’s a steal on wheels. This affordable, lightweight hardshell suitcase comes with a built-in USB port and an interior power bank compartment that provides an easy space to plug in your electronics for a quick charge on the go (power bank is not included). It’s also said to have 25% more packing space, so go ahead and bring that extra pair of shoes along.
Planet Traveler, $799
This self-proclaimed “world’s smartest” suitcase features a polycarbonate shell with a TSA-approved lock that can be opened with your fingerprint or by using the Planet Traveler app. It’s also packed with a removable powerbank for your gadgets, and a turbo charge port for cell phones. And once you register your suitcase with the Planet Traveler app, you can get anti-theft alerts if the bag is lost or stolen, and there’s even a self-scale that weighs the suitcase so you don’t overpack and get charged for a too-heavy bag. It comes with a 10-year warranty.
The Bigger Carry-On by Away, $245
Luggage startup company Away, founded by two former Warby Parker alums in 2016, has a line of sleek, durable suitcases that come with a hardshell said to be “unbreakable.” They’ve sold 500,000 suitcases since launching two years ago. The carry-on packs an ejectable battery that’s compliant with all airline and TSA policies. To remove the battery, just open the port, press down on the battery, and release. The bag comes in nine different colors and has a TSA-approved combination.
“One thing we heard again and again was that it’s really frustrating that people’s phones always die at the airport, so we designed our Carry-Ons with a built-in, removable battery to be able to charge any USB device, a feature that a lot of people consider ‘smart,’” Jen Rubio, co-founder and chief brand officer at Away, told Moneyish.
Samsonite GeoTrakR 29’’, $540
This high-tech travel bag uses GSM-GPRS technology that can track the location of your bag using the corresponding smartphone app. It also comes with a rechargeable battery that can last up to 15 days; built-in Bluetooth; and alerts that tell you where exactly your bag is. The nylon-treated exterior is also stain-resistant.
The Bento Bag, starting at $149
Look out for this multi-compartment carry-on bag that’s tailor-made to fit underneath an economy seat on the plane. The lightweight bag comes complete with a charging port and slides right over your carry-on luggage for easy, lightweight commuting. The Bento Bag, designed by Kish Vasnani and Vanessa Jeswani of travel accessory company Nomad Lane, LLC., has raised more than $850,000 on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, surpassing its initial goal of $15,000. Estimated delivery is Nov., 2018.
Arlo Skye Aluminum Carry-On, $550
This carry-on made from anodized aluminum weighs 9.5 pounds and comes with a built-in compression system ideal for fitting everything you need. It features an airline-approved USB C port made for charging computers; silent wheels; and a TSA-approved combination lock.
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