Three US airlines have issued restrictions on certain “smart bags”—recently introduced high-tech luggage powered by lithium batteries—as checked-in baggage.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, Dallas-Fort Worth-based American Airlines and Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, have all released statements prohibiting transport of smart bags with non-removable batteries.

The restrictions, set to take effect Jan. 15, 2018, adhere to FAA guidelines regarding lithium ion batteries, which are restricted from airline cargo holds for fears of the batteries’ possible ignition in an uncontainable space. IATA has also released guidance on restrictions of lithium-ion batteries within cargo holds.

Each airline said passengers with smart bags may be allowed to carry the luggage on-board, but must be able to remove the battery if the luggage has to be checked at any point during the passenger’s journey. If the battery can be removed, then a passenger may be able to bring the bag on board with the battery installed.

“No additional action will be required,” American Airlines said, “as long as the customer powers off the smart bag in accordance with existing FAA regulations.”

The policy is similar to allowing passengers to carry spare lithium-ion batteries in their carry-on luggage, which is presently permissible.

“We love innovation and understand why smart bags are so appealing for travel,” Alaska Airlines manager of dangerous goods Mike Tobin said. “While these restrictions may pose a challenge to some of our guests, there have been no incidents to date with smart bags on airplanes and we want to keep it that way.”

Alaska referred to a reported ICAO determination from late November that baggage equipped with a lithium battery should have restrictions limiting their allowance in an airplane cargo hold, citing the inconsistent nature of lithium batteries and the potential threat posed when devices using the batteries are placed in a cargo hold.

The restriction on lithium-ion batteries in cargo holds came into effect in 2016 after several high-profile situations of smartphones overheating in the main passenger cabin. As passengers carrying onboard devices have become ubiquitous, many airlines have equipped flight crews with in-cabin containment bags in the event a device powered by a lithium-ion battery catches fire on board.

Smart bags have grown in popularity recently and can feature built-in GPS and Bluetooth locators, USB ports to charge phones, and self-weighing capabilities. Some even have motors allowing them to be used as sit-on transportation devices, or can enable the bag to follow its owner.

“Many smart bag manufacturers advertise their products as being approved by the FAA or TSA [Transportation Security Administration], which may give customers the false impression that all smart bags are accepted for transport,” Delta said. “To date, neither the TSA nor FAA have endorsed a smart bag as approved.”

New York-based Bluesmart, a leading manufacturer of smart bag technology, issued a statement saying that all of its products are compatible with FAA, DOT, FCC and UN 38.3 regulations. “We understand that there are some airport security concerns about travel technology and companies adhering to the various regulations and quality standards,” Bluesmart said. “While most airlines understand and approve of smart luggage, others still might be getting up to speed. We are saddened by these latest changes to some airline regulations and feel it is a step back not only for travel technology but it also presents an obstacle to streamlining and improving the way we all travel.”

Bluesmart said the company is organizing meetings with the world’s major airlines and will demonstrate how its products meet all safety requirements and regulations. “We are confident that we will succeed at getting exemptions from these latest regulations,” the company said.

Mark Nensel