One of 2015’s hottest holiday gifts has been deemed unsafe by the U.S.’s biggest airlines. In early December, American, Delta, United, and Southwest Airlines have all banned travelers from bringing hoverboards on their aircrafts.
While the hoverboards, also known as self-balancing scooters and balance boards, are “cool,” experts from several airlines can agree that the safety issues associated with transporting hoverboards lie in the batteries. Delta released a statement claiming that hoverboards are powered by “poorly labeled, powerful lithium-ion batteries.” Manufacturers do not provide enough detail about the strength of these batteries, which often exceeds government regulations for what is allowed onboard an aircraft.
While it is uncommon, it is possible for batteries of the same strength as those used to power hoverboards to spontaneously overheat, posing a serious fire threat to travelers on board.
Due to an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the large U.S.-based airlines, along with JetBlue and Alaskan Airlines, made the decision to ban travelers from bringing hoverboards on aircrafts, including in both checked and carry-on luggage.
The many safety investigations were launched and concerns were raised after social media users posted on several different platforms, footage of hoverboards bursting into flames. As of December 23, 2015, CNNMoney reported that more than 16 cases of hoverboards bursting into flames were under federal investigation. Amazon and Overstock also removed nearly every model from their websites, as a safety precaution for consumers.
In November 2015, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles declared it illegal to ride hoverboards in New York City. Likewise, many American universities are banning the use of hoverboards on campuses.
Outside the United States, concern has been raised about safe usage and storage of hoverboards as well. British authorities made it illegal for hoverboards to be ridden in public in October 2015. British Airways is among the global airlines that have banned hoverboards.
Aviation safety organizations are just beginning to discuss how to handle hoverboards. Until an alternate, much safer power source is designed and for hoverboards and extensively tested, anticipate leaving your hoverboard behind before boarding an airplane in the United States. Read More.
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