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Two of HAL flights delayed to next day this week

New regulations for “smart luggage”

A “mechanical issue affecting a fuel indicator” caused the delayed departure of Hawaiian Airlines flight Wednesday night returning to Honolulu, says airline spokesman Alex Da Silva. The plane finally left around 2 p.m., yesterday.

Hawaiian had already scheduled three extra sections for the holiday season to accommodate heavy passenger traffic between Honolulu and Pago Pago. The flights operating on Wednesdays — Dec. 20 & Dec. 27, 2017 and Jan. 3, 201 — arriving and departing Pago Pago at night, similar to current flight times on Fridays and Mondays.

The Wednesday night flight, Dec. 20, arrived as scheduled but Samoa News received reports that evening the return flight was delayed until Thursday afternoon (yesterday).

Responding to a Samoa News request for comments, Da Silva said yesterday morning that the flight had been delayed returning to Honolulu “due to a mechanical issue affecting a fuel indicator.”

Monday night’s flight back to Honolulu, this week, was also delayed and Samoa News was told by airport officials that it was “due to bad weather” at the time, when the territory was bombarded with strong winds and heavy rain. That flight didn’t depart Pago Pago until around 12:35 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian announced earlier this week that it will no longer accept smart bags containing non-removable lithium ion batteries as checked or carry-on luggage beginning Jan. 15, 2018.

According to the airline, these batteries have been known to short-circuit, posing a safety risk for airlines. Smart bags featuring removable batteries may be carried on and stored in the overhead bin as long as they remain turned off for the duration of the flight in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulations regarding lithium ion batteries.

Passengers may check a smart bag if its battery has been removed. Furthermore, the detached battery, which must be carried in the cabin, will need to have its terminals isolated to prevent a short circuit.

Hawaiian is not the only airline imposing such restrictions and industry officials told Samoa News yesterday that travelers should always check with the individual airlines they are traveling on for these types of “important policies” that are important for the safety of the aircraft, flight crew and passengers.

In a news release the airline cited the International Air Transport Association’s description of features of a ‘smart bag’ to provide further understanding of this important issue for the airline industry. Features includes:

•    Lithium ion battery and motor allowing it to be used as a personal transportation device, either as a stand-up scooter, or sit on vehicle. These devices do not meet the criteria of a mobility device.

•    Lithium ion battery power bank that allows charging of other electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

•    GPS tracking devices with or without GSM capability.

•    Bluetooth, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and Wi-Fi capability.

•    Electronic baggage tags.

•    Electronic lock(s).

•    Lithium ion battery, motor and tracking device (GPS) allowing the bag to self-propel and ‘follow’ the owner.