Once you get your new hoverboard, it’s important to know what rules and regulations govern the use of the device. Most of this comes down to local laws — where you can ride, where you can’t, how fast you can go, what to do if you’re involved in an accident, and this type of thing. Starting with these laws and city ordinances is a good idea, but don’t stop there. You also want to know what rules private businesses have regarding hoverboards and hands-free scooters. Let’s start by looking at airlines, who are notoriously picky regarding what you can and cannot bring on the plane.
Many Airlines Have Banned Hoverboards
There’s no one answer to the question of whether or not you can bring the scooter on a plane, as each airline is different. At this point, there’s no national law that you have to follow. It’s up to the airlines themselves. You don’t have to worry about fines, tickets or being arrested.
That being said, over 60 airlines have put hoverboards on the banned list. You can’t travel with them, and the airline doesn’t technically have to tell you this until you get there — though you may get notice far sooner. Most airlines have the information you need on their websites, if you take the time to read it over, and you may be sent a link to the right page when you buy your tickets.
Ignorance of the Rule Doesn’t Matter
One thing that’s important to note, though, is that it doesn’t matter if you know about the rule. If you show up with the hoverboard and it’s been banned for your flight, you can’t take it. You’ll be told that you either have to stay behind while the flight goes without you or you have to leave the board at the airport. In some situations, you may be able to have someone come get it from you, but you may not always have time. You know how busy airports can be, and they’re not going to hold the flight while you wait.
This is significant, since a lot of boards cost $1,000 or more. That’s often more than a plane ticket. In most cases, giving up a ticket — which you’re not going to be refunded, by the way — over a banned item doesn’t make sense. When the item costs more than the ticket, though, you have a big decision to make. It’s much better to know the regulations in advance and find a solution, such as shipping the hoverboard to yourself before you leave.
Checked or Carry-On
Another key point to remember is that some airlines have banned hoverboards as carry-ons, some have banned them for checked luggage, and some have banned them for both. Know what your flight allows and consider all of your options. If the board is just banned as a checked item, for example, you may be able to get around the issue easily by taking it out of your suitcase and carrying it with you. The opposite is also true if you can have it in checked but you can’t have it as a carry-on. However, that can get a bit more tricky since you may not have access to your checked bag by the time the TSA stops you from bringing it on the plane. Your bag could have been checked and loaded hours ago, so you’ll have to leave the board behind. Again, the best solution is to check the regulations for your specific flight in advance. Never assume anything one way or the other.
Airlines Don’t Waver for Kids or Celebrities
You may think airlines will make exceptions. They won’t want to ruin the day for a child, for example, or they’ll let celebrities get away with things most of us couldn’t. You may think they’ll let you through if you say you’ll get off the plane and never use the airline again. However, the reality is that these threats don’t work and airlines almost never make exceptions.
For example, one Twitter user named Ava Ancelin was at the airport on December 26 and watched agents take a hoverboard away from a child. She wrote:
“Just saw a little kid get his hover board taken by a TSA agent. Merry Christmas from the airport lol.”
In another example, movie star Russell Crowe decided that he was going to take on Virgin Airlines in the ring. He tweeted at them, saying:
“Ridiculous @VirginAustralia. No Segway boards as luggage? Too late to tell us at airport. Kids and I offloaded. Goodbye Virgin. Never again.”
When Virgin replied to his comment — that’s the difference when a celebrity is involved — and said that they hoped he’d still use the airline, he said:
“Why did you not inform me when I booked my ticket? Where is your duty of responsibility in this?”
Though Crowe was understandably annoyed, this goes back to the way that airlines don’t have to tell you about the regulations at the time of booking in order to ban your hoverboard. Additionally, some other users pointed out that the information was available to Crowe, suggesting that he simply hadn’t read it. There is a lot of small print whenever you buy a plane ticket, and people don’t always read every word. In most cases, that doesn’t matter, but it may have played a large role here.
One thing to keep an eye on are upgrades to this technology. Newer devices are coming on the market all of the time, with a strong emphasis on safety. As these upgrades arrive, will the airlines’ policies change? It could even be that some brands are deemed safe and allowed on planes, while others are not. If that happens, it will be just as important to know these brands as to know the regulations that the airlines lay down. Keep an eye on any developments moving forward.