Last updated: 12:52 PM ET, Mon December 14 2015

Why Can't You Take Your Hoverboard on A Plane?

Impacting Travel | Paul Thompson | December 14, 2015

Why Can't You Take Your Hoverboard on A Plane?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Most of you have seen those annoying self-balancing scooters called Hoverboards. They not only allow people to barge through crowds of us pleasantly walking on the sidewalk, but they also have a bad habit of catching fire — which has lead to their banishment by most U.S. airlines.

What’s the issue? It’s the lithium batteries that power these devices. Lithium batteries have been an issue for airlines for years. They pose the risk of becoming unstable, overheating and then catching fire. Passengers’ laptops and tablets have erupted in flames on several instances, and a shipment of these batteries is responsible for bringing down a UPS cargo plane.

Lithium battery instability is also responsible for the three-month grounding of the Boeing 787 fleet.

Wired says the root of the issue in these fires is the shoddy quality of the Chinese-made batteries that are used on these machines. The chargers may be at fault as well, overcharging the cells within the batteries. Any battery damage caused by Hoverboard crashes can also lead to these fires.

As of a couple weeks ago, JetBlue and Virgin America were the only ones to ban them on their flights. But this week, following the release of YouTube videos featuring fiery Hoverboards, most of the other major U.S. carriers have followed suit. The “Big 3” — American, Delta and United all announced Hoverboard bans. At this point, Southwest remains the lone holdout, but has said they are evaluating their policy.


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