Thinking of going on a holiday with your hoverboard or just carrying along your e-scoter in your next flight trip? Self-balancing scooters have become one of the most popular Christmas gifts this year, but many people are still unsure whether they are allowed to bring them on airplanes. So is it legal to take a hoverboard on an airplane? Let’s take a closer look.
This article is part of our series on legality of hoverboards and its usage.
What are hoverboards?
Hoverboards are self-balancing scooters that have two wheels and are powered by lithium-ion batteries. They were first introduced in 2014 and became an instant hit, with people of all ages enjoying riding them around.
However, there have been several reports of hoverboards catching fire, which has led to many airlines banning them from being carried on flights.
What does TSA prohibit to be carried on airplanes?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of air travel in the United States. They have a list of items that are prohibited from being carried on airplanes, and hoverboards are one of them.
The TSA website states that “Hoverboards are allowed through the checkpoint. Please check with your airline for their policy” as indicated in the snapshot above from the TSA’s website.
Read the full details of Hoverboard requirements and other things to prohibited when traveling by air.
Some airlines have stricter guidelines on hoverboards that qualify to be brought along on their flights. Some flights may allow you to come with your hoverboard if it meets the following criteria:
- The battery must be removed from the hoverboard.
- The battery must be carried in your carry-on bag.
- The battery must be less than 100 watt hours (Wh).
- The battery must be placed in a protective case.
The hoverboard must be placed in a bag that is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.
If you are able to meet all of these criteria, then you will be able to bring your hoverboard on a flight. However, it is still up to the individual airline to decide whether they allow hoverboards on their flights, so it is always best to check with the airline before you travel.
Can I fly with my hoverboard?
The answer is maybe. It depends on the airline you are flying with and their policy on hoverboards. Some airlines, such as Delta, American, and United, have banned hoverboards from being carried on their flights.
Other airlines, such as Southwest and JetBlue, have said that they will allow hoverboards on their flights as long as the battery is removed and carried in a separate bag.
So, if you are planning on taking a hoverboard with you on a flight, it is best to check with the airline beforehand to see if they allow them.
Tips for flying with a hoverboard
If you are able to take your hoverboard on a flight, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Here are some tips for flying with a hoverboard:
- Make sure the battery is removed from the hoverboard and placed in a protective case.
- Pack the hoverboard in a bag that is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.
- Label the bag containing the hoverboard battery as “lithium ion batteries.”
- Make sure thehoverboard is turned off before you get on the plane.
- Do not try to charge the hoverboard battery on the plane.
- Follow these tips and you should have no problem taking your hoverboard on a flight.
Are hoverboards allowed on airplanes?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Technically, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has banned all lithium battery-powered devices from being carried on airplanes. This includes hoverboards, e-cigarettes, and even laptops.
However, the DOT has said that it may make exceptions for certain devices if they meet certain criteria. For example, laptops are allowed on flights if they are in a carry-on bag and the battery is less than 100 watt hours.
As for hoverboards, the DOT has not yet made any exceptions. This means that, as of now, hoverboards are not allowed on airplanes.
What about flying with a hoverboard in your checked luggage?
The DOT has also banned lithium-ion batteries from being carried in checked luggage. This is because there is a risk of the battery catching fire and causing an explosion.
So, even if you were to put your hoverboard in a hard case and check it, the battery would still not be allowed on the plane.
Are hoverboards allowed in airports?
This is a question that gets asked a lot, but the answer is a bit unclear. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has said that hoverboards are allowed in airports, but they must be placed in carry-on luggage and go through the X-ray machine.
This is the exact excerpt from TSA’s website:
“Hoverboards are allowed through the checkpoint. Please check with your airline for their policy. For more prohibited items, please go to the ‘What Can I Bring?’ page.”
However, it is up to each individual airport to decide whether they allow hoverboards in the airport. So, if you are flying out of an airport that does not allow hoverboards, you will not be able to bring your hoverboard into the airport.
Are there any other restrictions on hoverboards?
Yes, there are a few other restrictions on hoverboards that you should be aware of.
First, many airlines have banned hoverboards from being checked as baggage. So, even if you are able to take your hoverboard on the plane, you will not be able to check it and will have to carry it with you.
Second, some airlines have also banned hoverboards from being used in the airport. This means that you will not be able to ride your hoverboard around the airport.
Finally, many hotels and other businesses have banned hoverboards due to the fire hazard they pose. So, if you are planning on riding your hoverboard while on vacation, you may want to check with your hotel first to see if they allow it.
Can you take hoverboard on a plane?
Yes, TSA has indicated on their travel guidance page on its website that hoverboards are allowed through checkpoints but cautions that some airlines may have their own rules prohibiting their clients from bringing their hoverboards along to the plane when flying.
While lithium-ion batteries are generally not allowed in checked luggage due to the danger of fire, if your hoverboard is small enough it may be able to fit under the seat in front of you and, as long as the battery is less than 100 watt hours, can be carried on.
As always, it’s best to contact your airline ahead of time to make sure you’re up to date on their policies.
Airlines regulations prior to 2016 on Hoverboards:
Airlines were willing to accept hoverboards as long as they were stowed and transported in checked luggage until around 2015.
That changed when reports of exploding hoverboards began circulating, prompting most major and international airlines to completely ban them, including Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and others. This includes packaging them as a checked piece of luggage or a carry-on.
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Airlines that have banned Hoverboards on their flights:
On its website, Delta prohibits their customers from bringing hoverboards on board their flights with the following advisory on its website;
“To ensure the safety of our customers and employees, Delta no longer accepts hoverboards or any lithium battery-powered self-balancing personal transportation devices on board its aircraft. These items are prohibited as both carry-on and checked baggage.”
Read more on Delta’s website here.
Similar to Delta, Alaska Airlines also released a press release in 2015 clarifying that they do not allow hoverboards on carry-on or on checked-in luggage. Below is a snapshot of the press release;
Alaska airlines went on to explain that hoverboards are typically powered by lithium-ion batteries, which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates as hazardous materials. These type of batteries have previously been known to cause internal short-circuits that then lead to a “thermal runaway.” What this means is that the battery overheats and bursts into flames.
FAA Rules on Lithium Batteries:
The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has limitations on power Banks, cell phone battery charging cases, rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium batteries, cell phone batteries, laptop batteries, power banks, external batteries and portable rechargers that you can carry on to your plane/flight.
Batteries that use lithium metal (non-rechargeable) have a maximum capacity of 2 grams of lithium per battery. The capacity of a battery with a rating of 100 watt hours (Wh) is limited to Lithium ion (rechargeable) batteries. These limitations allow for the usage of nearly all types of lithium batteries utilized in today’s electronics devices.
Passengers with airline approval may carry up to two additional larger lithium ion batteries (101–160 Wh) or Lithium metal batteries (2-8 grams). These sizes are for the bigger after-market extended-life laptop computer batteries and some of the larger batteries used in professional audio/visual equipment.
The average person is allowed to carry two spare batteries on their person, as long as they are for personal use. Batteries that are being sold or distributed (samples, etc.) are not allowed. The limit is in place for the larger lithium-ion batteries (101-160 watt hours per battery).
Batteries need to be kept in a safe place, away from all metal. The terminals should not come into contact with other metal (i.e., they can’t short out). The following are some of the methods for doing this: Keeping the batteries in their retail packaging, covering battery terminals with tape, utilizing a battery case, incorporating a battery sleeve in a camera bag, or putting them snugly in a plastic bag or protective pouch. Here is the full regulation on battery fires – 49 CFR 175.10(a)(18)
In 2016, US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that about 501,000 units of hoverboards produced by 10 firms were recalled due to the risk of overheating, posing a risk of the products smoking, catching fire, and/or exploding.
Below is a snapshot of the CPSC announcement of the recalls;
IS the solution lithium-free hoverboards?
Some hoverboards do not use lithium-ion battery packs. Various technologies have been used to power the batteries of some of the best-rated hoverboard brands. These lithium-free hoverboards can be carried on airplanes, but you may need to plead your case with an airline employee because the technology is newer and not everyone might be aware of the differences between the two types of hoverboards. Many airlines give crew members ultimate authority over whether or not a lithium-free hoverboard will be permitted on board. We recommend that you call ahead.
What batteries can I bring on the airplane?
- Dry cell alkaline batteries: typical AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button-sized cells, etc.
- Dry cell rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCad). For rechargeable lithium ion batteries; see next paragraph.
- Lithium ion batteries (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium). Passengers may carry all consumer-sized lithium ion batteries (up to 100 watt hours per battery).
- Lithium metal batteries (a.k.a.: non-rechargeable lithium, primary lithium). These batteries are often used with cameras and other small personal electronics. Consumer-sized batteries (up to 2 grams of lithium per battery) may be carried. This includes all the typical non-rechargeable lithium batteries used in cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.
- Nonspillable wet batteries (absorbed electrolyte), limited to 12 volts and 100 watt hours per battery. These batteries must be the absorbed electrolyte type (gel cells, AGM, etc.) that meet the requirements of 49 CFR 173.159a(d); i.e., no electrolyte will flow from a cracked battery case
FAA Answers on Batteries, Hoverboard specs allowed on flights:
Below are FAQs with answers from FAA on batteries that are safe to fly with.
What kinds of batteries does the FAA allow in checked baggage (including gate-checked bags)?
With the exception of lithium metal and lithium-ion batteries that are not currently installed in a device, all other types of batteries are allowed to be carried on or checked into luggage. However, it is important to ensure that these devices are well-protected from damage or accidental activation, as this could cause serious injury..You are not allowed to bring spare lithium metal or lithium ion/polymer batteries in your checked baggage—this includes external battery packs. You also are not allowed to bring electronic cigarettes and vaporizers in your checked baggage. “Checked baggage” refers to any bags checked at the gate or planeside.
How do I determine the watt hours (Wh) rating of a battery?
Use watt hours (Wh) to determine the number of volts (V) times ampere hours (Ah). For example, if you have a 12-volt battery that is rated at 8 Amp hours, it is considered 96 watt hours total. To get milliamp hours (mAh), divide by 1000 to Ah and multiply by volts after.
Is there a limit to the number of batteries or devices I can carry?
The main limit is that the batteries and devices must be for personal use (includes professional use). Batteries and battery-powered devices carried for resale or distribution by a vendor do not qualify for these exceptions. There is a two-spare limit on the large lithium-ion (101-160 Wh) and nonspillable batteries (see chart below).
What does “protected from short circuit” mean?
When metal items like keys, coins, tools, or other batteries come into touch with both terminals of a battery, a “circuit” or pathway for electricity to flow can be created. Electrical current passing through this unprotected short circuit may cause severe heat and sparks and even start a fire. To avoid short circuits, keep spare batteries in their original packaging (such as a battery case), as well as separate pouches or pockets for loose batteries. Make sure loose batteries are not able to move around. Tape covering the terminals of unpackaged batteries also serves to insulate them against short circuits.
Recalled Hoverboards that you can’t travel with:
|Company||Number of Units||Brand/Model Sold||Remedy||Company’s Contact Information|
|Digital Gadgets LLC, of Monroe, N.J.||16,000||Hover-Way/Model # HWSBB601-R||Refund||866-696-3421 or www.hover-way.com|
|Hoverboard LLC, of Scottsdale, Ariz.||70,000||Powerboard||Replace||800-750-6714 or www.thepowerboard.com|
|Hype Wireless, of Edison, N.J.||25,000||Hype Roam||Replace||866-449-7186 or www.hyperoam.com|
|Keenford Ltd., of Lynbrook, N.Y.||84,000||iMoto||RefundStore creditReplace||877-280-8401 or www.imotohk.com or www.hoverboard360.com|
|PTX Performance Products USA of Irvine, Calif.||4,900||Airwalk Self Balancing Electric Scooter||Replace||844-837-7346 or http://ptxperformance.com|
|Razor USA LLC, of Cerritos, Calif.||28,000||Hovertrax||Replace||866-467-2967 or www.razor.com|
|Swagway LLC, of South Bend, Ind.||267,000||Swagway X1||Repair||844-299-0625 or https://swagway.com|
|Yuka Clothing, of Miami, Fla.||800||Wheeli, 2Wheelz, Back to the Future, Mobile Tech, Hover Shark, NWS, X Glider and X Rider||Refund||800-616-0765 or email email@example.com|