Updated at 10 a.m. ET on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015
Hoverboards may be gaining popularity as Christmas presents this year, but they’re falling out of favor with an increasing number of big airlines.
Southwest became the last of the USA’s big airlines to say it would no longer allow the devices on their planes, making the announcement during Friday. That followed similar moves Thursday from American, Delta and United — the nation’s three biggest carriers. With the changes, all big U.S. carriers now bar hoverboards.
“As cool as they are, there’s one big problem: they are not safe to transport on an airplane,” Alaska Airlines, explained Thursday via its corporate blog.
“Poorly labeled, powerful lithium-ion batteries powering hoverboards are the issue,” Delta added in its own statement. “Delta reviewed hoverboard product specifications and found that manufacturers do not consistently provide detail about the size or power of their lithium-ion batteries”
They’re called hoverboards, or electric scooters. New York City just banned them for safety reasons and they can cost anywhere from $350 to $2,000, so what do you need to know before buying one?
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After a series of explosions, fires and injuries from boards made by various manufacturers, Amazon has stopped selling most models.
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More airlines ban hoverboards as a fire danger as concerns a raised about their batteries.
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Police in London say a man swiped a box of soda at a supermarket then left the scene on his hoverboard. They are now asking the public for help identifying the suspect.
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‘Hoverboard’ scooters are one of the hottest holiday gifts of 2015, but reports of battery fires and injuries are raising concerns with consumer safety advocates. (Dec. 9)
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What’s the number one gift item the young man in your life craves? It’s probably the Hoverboard, which Jefferson Graham says is the most coveted – and hard to get–gift.
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Delta said it found that the strength of the batteries in hoverboards “often” exceeded government limits for what’s allowed onboard an aircraft. “While occurrences are uncommon, these batteries can spontaneously overheat and pose a fire hazard risk,” Delta added in its statement.
American and United each indicated to Today in the Sky late Thursday afternoon that they would do the same.
“Given the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American has decided to prohibit hoverboards from its planes, both as checked and carry-on luggage,” American spokesman Matt Miller said. “This policy will go into effect on Saturday.”
“In the interest of safety for our customers and employees, we do not accept hoverboards as checked or carry-on baggage,” added United spokesman Charles Hobart.
The moves came after social media has exploded with a series of videos showing hoverboards bursting into flames.
Against that backdrop, American, Delta, Southwest and United now join a growing number of carriers that have decided not to allow the devices.
JetBlue was among a handful of U.S. airlines that had already prohibited hoverboards.
“Due to federal regulations covering lithium ion batteries, JetBlue does not accept Balance Gliders — also known as Hoverboards, Self-Balancing Scooters or Gravity Boards — as carry-on items or in checked baggage,” JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw said in a statement to Today in the Sky.
Beyond the U.S., British Airways is among the global airlines to ban hoverboards, a move that The Wall Street Journal says comes as aviation safety organizations have begun discussing how to handle the devices.
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