Hover-boards are all the rage lately. There are videos of celebrities riding them, such as Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, and people are flocking to them as a new, fun means of transportation. However, as with any new product, laws and regulations are hustling to catch up. One important step, as owners of hover-boards, is to check with any airline before you travel to find out if you’re allowed to bring a hover board on the plane.
You probably remember Russell Crowe from Gladiator, but the star couldn’t overthrow Virgin Airlines’ authority the same way that he took on the Roman Empire. He tried to travel with his children’s hover-boards on Virgin Australia and was told he couldn’t bring them. He took to Twitter to complain as he was frustrated that he had not been told about the ruling in advance. He had to pick between bailing on his flight or losing the hover-board, and he said that he and his kids got off the plane. He also wrote that he would never use the airline again.
While Crowe’s frustration makes sense, it’s worth noting that a lot of airlines actually do list these devices as limited for travel on their websites. It’s unclear if they did at the time and if Crowe forgot to look, or if they had not yet updated the lists and this incident forced them to do so.
It’s now important for all travelers to remember that they may not be able to take their boards on flights. Airlines that have restricted them in one way or another include Virgin, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and British Airways. They restrict a lot of high-powered battery-operated items, and the hover-boards fall into this category. Even if you’re traveling with another airline, like Southwest, be sure that you check the regulations or give them a call in advance.
The last thing you want is to show up to board your flight and be told you can’t have the hover board. Then, like Crowe, you’d need to leave it behind or get off and choose a different flight. It’s far easier to check in advance so that you’re not stuck with it at the gate, where it may be confiscated.
Another important thing to note is that the restrictions don’t just apply to carry-on luggage. With other restricted items, you can often get around it by checking the item, but hover-boards may not even be allowed in checked luggage. Don’t assume that you can stuff it into a suitcase and bring it along. It may not be allowed on the plane in any situation.
Are All Airlines Going to Follow Suit?
It’s unclear if all airlines are going to do the same as those listed above, but it’s likely. For one thing, the International Air Transportation Association supports the ban and tells airlines that they should ban them. While this isn’t a requirement from the IATA at this point, the recommendation means that a lot of airlines will probably fall in line.
Know the Rules
Overall, the incident with Crowe underscores how important it is to make sure you know the rules. Hover boards are getting more popular, new designs are coming out, and they’re being used more often. As this happens, it gets easier to make assumptions—like assuming you can travel with them—as they don’t stand out the way they did when they were brand new. Still, it’s always best when traveling not to make any assumptions, to double-check the rules, and to find out where and how you can bring your hover board along with you. Save yourself the headache that Crowe had to endure and plan accordingly, in advance, ensuring that any trip you take will go smoothly.