Podcaster’s luggage rejected from easyJet flight after airline ‘quietly changed rules’ on smart bags

The lithium battery that powers smart bags has been brandediata ‘dangerous goods’ by aviation association Iata

Aisha Rimi
Tuesday 16 August 2022 10:35 BST
<p>Pandora Sykes’s bags were rejected from an easyJet flight</p>

Pandora Sykes’s bags were rejected from an easyJet flight

A British podcaster and author has shared their experience of being unable to board an easyJetflight after the airline refused to accept her “smart bags” on the plane.

Pandora Sykes, co-presenter of the High Low podcast with Dolly Alderton, was travelling on Saturday, but due to a change in easyJet’s policy she was not permitted to check in her luggage.

The author of How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? tweeted: “Beware anyone being so foolish to fly easyJet - captain just refused to let us board our flights because our checked-in suitcases have USB ports (aka “smart bags”). EasyJet quietly changed their Ts&Cs a few weeks ago without telling their customers.”

The tweet was met with many responses from others equally confused by the situation.

“Did you remove the battery?” asked one person.

“I know someone who was physically offloaded along with her bag on BA,” said another. “The bag was checked in okay but she hadn’t removed the battery part (is that even possible?).”

In response, Ms Sykes said she “didn’t realise they had changed their conditions” and that she’d flown with the very same bags on other easyJet flights before.

“It just would have been decent to have a reminder at check in on the screen, or even get called before we get to the gate so we can remove it and still catch our flight!” she added.

Another commented that such rules have been standard on flights for a while now: “As someone with a number of years experience working in the aviation industry I can safely say that Lithium batteries have not been allowed in, or as part of hold luggage for a long time.”

Smart luggage is becoming increasingly popular among travellers, with many manufacturers such as Away, G-Ro and Arlo Skye tapping into the market.

According to easyJet, smart luggage “is a bag that contains a lithium battery or power bank which is used to power itself or to recharge other devices”. But many airlines do not allow them unless they can be disconnected.

Lithium batteries have been classified as “dangerous goods” by aviation assosiation Iata since 2018 after they caused several in-flight fires.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also issued guidance to airlines on the dangers of such batteries.

“Lithium batteries are very safe, but because of their high energy, if they are not treated with care or if they are abused or have a manufacturing fault, they can catch fire,” it says. “Batteries have been the cause of a number of fires on board aircraft and during ground handling.”

In February 2020, a British Airways flight from London Gatwick to Tampa, Florida, was forced to make an emergency landing in Bermuda after a passenger’s phone caught fire mid-flight.

The Independent has approached easyJet for comment.

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