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Airlines Are Starting to Ban Hoverboards

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Updated 12/17/2015: Since last week, more airlines have definitively outlawed hoverboards from traveling with passengers. The big three – United, Delta and American – have officially banned passengers from packing hoverboards in both checked and carry-on luggage. American’s opinion has changed since December 1 (see original post below):

american hoverbaords

United, which didn’t have a clear answer of whether or not the devices were allowed, updated its policy as well. Its website now reads:

“In the interest of safety for our customers and employees, we do not accept hoverboards as checked or carry-on baggage.”

Southwest also banned the devices as of December 12, 2015:

southwest hoverboards

As for international and smaller airlines, many are jumping on the same policy. Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin America, Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, easyJet, Etihad, Air France and KLM, among others, have banned hoverboards in both checked and carry-on luggage. It’s starting to look like it will become nearly impossible to find an airline that will allow passengers to take a hoverboard onboard. If you’re worried about not being able to bring your hoverboard with you when traveling, you might be better off shipping it to your destination – although the US Postal Service announced on December 16 it would stop shipping hoverboards by plane, effective immediately.

Original post:

If you’ve been in any crowded public spaces over the past few months, you’ve likely encountered a hoverboard — the two-wheeled Segway-like people mover that zooms around at speeds of up to approximately 12 mph. Recently, they were banned in New York City, and you may be familiar with the explosions and fires that have occurred as they’ve become more popular over the past few months. The devices, which are mostly manufactured overseas in China, are largely unregulated and many contain a lithium-ion battery. They’re available for purchase online and in stores and can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to more than $1,000, depending on the vendor.

This afternoon, Delta announced that it would no longer permit hoverboards on its aircraft due to safety concerns. This update is effective starting tomorrow, December 11, 2015, and includes both carry-on and checked luggage.

A hoverboard in action.
A hoverboard in action. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Some hoverboards reportedly contain batteries that exceed the government’s 160 watt hour limit that’s permitted aboard aircraft. Over the past few months, numerous airlines have developed different policies regarding the devices and whether or not they are permitted on board.

In addition to Delta, JetBlue and Emirates have explicitly stated that these devices are not allowed aboard aircraft — in either a carry-on or a checked bag. Other airlines like United say (at least in this tweet – answers seem to vary) that the devices are allowed, provided that they’re below the 160 watt limit and the battery is removed from the device.

Answers about whether hoverboards are allowed with American and United vary. Neither airline seems to have special rules and regulations that explicitly approve or prohibit them (again, as long as it adheres to the 160 watt limit). Of course, this could change if the carriers expand their policies and reevaluate whether hoverboards are safe for passengers. Regardless, if you plan on traveling with a hoverboard in the future, it may be worth a phone call to your carrier to confirm if they’re allowed.

H/T: Rene’s Points

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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