The more popular 'hoverboards' get, the harder it is to get around on them. After widespread reports of the personal transportation devices' tendency to spontaneously combust, the three biggest airlines in the United States have now banned passengers from bringing them on flights. This comes after a number of cities have pushed to make them illegal, as well as a mass confiscation of the scooters in the UK due to fire hazard concerns.
Delta, United, and American Airlines all either issued statements or added the scooters to their banned items lists on their websites yesterday. They're far from the first to do this, though — bans are already in place on Jet Blue, British Airways, Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, and more.
Delta found that many batteries exceed the power limit allowed on US flights
The concern is over the batteries inside these scooter, many of which Delta says are "poorly labeled." The company's statement says that "Delta reviewed hoverboard product specifications and found that manufacturers do not consistently provide detail about the size or power of their lithium-ion batteries." Delta found that some of the boards use batteries that breach the 160 watt hour limit allowed on airplanes. As a result, the airline has banned "all lithium battery powered self-balancing personal transportation devices."
Part of the reason for this mess is the fractured network of competing companies trying to capitalize on the hoverboard fad. As BuzzFeed found out last month, hundreds of different factories in China are currently manufacturing these scooters, which are then imported and sold by third parties in the United States.
This process makes it hard to account for a number of things, like where the parts are sourced from or whether or not customers have access to a reliable warranty. Razor is currently the only big or recognizable American company that sells them, but even Razor doesn't make its own hoverboard — instead, Razor's is made in a partnership with Inventist, the company behind the Hovertrax scooter that's at the center of a thorny patent battle.