‘Tis the season for giving gifts and for travel, but the two don’t always mix. As families prepare to travel to and fro for the upcoming holidays, there is one big no-no that airlines are telling them to leave at home. Find out what you cannot bring through security this holiday season. Bah Humbug.
The Carry On No-No
Hoverboards. That’s right. Hoverboards are the carry on no-no this holiday season.
Surely you remember those days watching Back to the Future II and III. Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) zooms around the year 2015 on the levitating skateboard. Well that future is here. Hoverboards, or self-balancing skateboards, are the hot gift for 2015. While they may not hover, kids and adults are grabbing these new devices–they’re like a hands-free Segway–and coasting around at speeds up to 12 miles per hour.
Banning the Hot Toy
When saying this is the hot toy of the year, the term hot is remarkably true. Airlines have chimed in on this new trend and are banning passengers from bringing hoverboards on board their planes. And it’s not just banned in your carry on luggage, you also can’t pack one in checked baggage. At the time of this publication, Alaska Air, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, JetBlue, United, and Virgin America have all banned these devices from their flights.
It’s not that the airlines are all Scrooges who don’t want your loved ones to have the gift they covet the most. Rather, the problem lies in the lithium-ion battery that powers these moving skateboards.
The FAA allows passengers to carry on small lithium-ion batteries (100 watt hours per hour) like those that power smartphones, cameras, and laptops. The carriers also allow passengers to bring up to two larger lithium-ion batteries (100-160 watt hours per battery) with them onboard.
However, many airlines are finding that the hoverboard battery ratings are unreliable and can lead to a fire, making them too risky to transport on planes. Both Delta and Alaska Air says that upon testing, some batteries actually exceeded the allowances stated by the FAA, even though they were labeled with a compliant rating.
The Feds Weigh In
Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson told NBC News that the agency is stepping up investigation of the self-balancing electronic scooters. That’s because there have been a spate of reports of fires and explosions, as well as injuries from falls. He states the agency has received “at least 10” reports of hoverboard fires and that number “is increasing daily.”
The Consumer Electronics Association, host of the Consumer Electronics Show, a hotbed of consumer electronic gadgets, has recently stepped forward. “Wheeled transport devices (with or without motors) are not permitted at any CES venue,” the association said. “This includes hoverboards, skateboards, uniwheels and all similar products.”
Looks like the Traveling Mom and Techlicious team will have to find another way to journey around Las Vegas when we attend CES in January.