Flying with eboards

Electric skateboards are exploding in popularity, and as more and more people turn to them as their primary transportation, they want to take their boards with them when they travel. Some dream of traveling the world with their eboards, and others just want the ease and convenience of bringing their boards with them so they don’t have to rent a car or pay for an Uber.

At the same time, airlines seem to have endless lists of what can and cannot be taken on a flight. Those rules rarely follow common sense, either, with plenty of seemingly benign options banned and other items allowed that don’t seem quite safe. The rules can change from airline to airline and country to country, to, leading to lots of confusion. 

You’d think that you could check with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), but airlines, while required to uphold the FAA’s rules, can also add additional regulations on top of them. 

If you aren’t well-informed, you could easily wind having to choose between leaving your board behind or missing your flight. 

We’ll break down the different rules you need to know, looking at different airlines and flight routes to give you the most comprehensive guide we can on flying with your eboard.

 At a glance

 

Can I take electric skateboards on planes?

Major airlines and their regulations

Southwest Airlines

Can you bring an electric skateboard on Southwest Airlines

If you’re flying domestic in the US, Southwest Airlines is a popular choice. Southwest doesn’t have a specific rule about electric skateboards, but it does have one about regular skateboards. If you happen to have a board that will fit under the seat in front of you, you can store it there, upside down with the wheels up. Since it seems unlikely that even a penny board would fit down there, you can also store it in the overhead racks, still upside down with the wheels up.

You’ll also need to put the board in a bag or cover the wheels with a trash bag, to avoid damaging someone else’s bags. If you’d prefer not to carry it you can also check it. Just remember that if you do that, you’re substituting the board for your free checked bag, and you’ll have to pay for any luggage you check.

United Airlines

Can you bring an electric skateboard on United Airlines

United specifically bans e-bicycles and hover boards, but not electric skateboards. Electric scooters are also named in that policy. Even though electric skateboards are not named specifically, it’s safe to assume that if electric scooters and bicycles aren’t allowed, they probably won’t allow you to bring an electric skateboard, either.

If that’s not enough, United Airlines’ official sports equipment policy states quite clearly that only non-powered skateboards are allowed as either checked or carry-on luggage.

If you’re flying United, you definitely can’t take your board with you. If you haven’t booked your flight yet, go with a different airline if you can.

Can you bring an electric skateboard on Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is a lot bigger than it used to be, after the acquisition of Virgin America. Alaska prohibits hover boards or any other powered, two wheeled devices. That’s quite clearly not a ban on electric skateboards, since they all have four wheels.

They do allow regular skateboards, too. The only hiccup you might have with them is the size restriction on carry-on luggage. All carry-on luggage has to be 22x14x9 inches or smaller, and your board is almost definitely longer than 22 inches, so you’ll need to check it.

Baggage fees will apply, which might be frustrating, but at least you can still take your board with you.

Can you bring an electric skateboard on American Airlines

As long as your board is shorter than 126 inches and weighs less than 70 pounds, you can bring your board with you on American Airlines. It does appear, though, that you cannot take it as a carry-on; you’ll have to check it.

Note that while the absolute weight limit is 70 pounds, you’ll be charged an extra fee for a board that weighs over 50 pounds. A 50 pound eboard is unlikely, though.

It’s also worth noting that American Airlines bans hover boards and electric scooters, and their policy does state that they do not allow personal transportation items powered by lithium-ion batteries as either checked or carry on luggage. Most electric skateboards use lithium ion batteries, so, even though they aren’t listed as a specifically banned item, it’s unlikely that they’d be allowed.

That said, not all boards use lithium ion batteries, and if your board uses a different battery type, there’s no reason you couldn’t take one as checked baggage.

Can you bring an electric skateboard on Air Canada

Air Canada allows skateboards as long as the total linear dimensions are under 62 inches. That’s the length, width, and height added up. A lot of boards will exceed that, and you’ll have to pay an oversize fee, although you’ll still be able to check it.

That seems promising at first, but unfortunately, electric skateboards are not allowed in either checked or carry-on luggage. Unlike American Airlines, which only bans a specific battery type, Air Canada is banning the boards themselves, regardless of the type of battery they use.

You might be able to get away with disassembling your board and putting it in your checked luggage, but there’s no guarantee. 

Can you bring an electric skateboard on Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines, the second largest airline in the world, also bans electric skateboards.

They do allow skateboards with linear dimensions of less than 115 inches, so, as with Air Canada, it might be worth it to try disassembling your board, checking the board and motor and bringing the battery with you as a carry-on.

Again, there’s no guarantee that would work, but, without the battery, an electric skateboard is just a heavier skateboard.

Can you bring an electric skateboard on Ryanair

The name might be unfamiliar, but Ryanair is the largest European airline, so if you’re flying in Europe you’re likely to be on one of their planes.

Ryanair’s policies are somewhat vague, but they don’t ban electric skateboards. They specifically ban electric bicycles too, so it’s not a case of being intentionally vague on their policy. You do need to notify them in advance that you’ll be checking sporting equipment, and you can’t take your board as a carry-on. 

Can you take an electric skateboard on Lufthansa

If you plan on flying to or in Germany, Lufthansa is a common choice.

Lufthansa doesn’t specifically ban electric skateboards, but they do ban all battery-powered transportation devices. That ban applies regardless of the size of the battery.

Can you take an electric skateboard on easyJet

easyJet, another major European airline, bans hover boards and Segway boards but makes no mention of electric skateboards.

They don’t have any specific regulations on skateboards, either. You can take take your electric board on easyJet flights, but you’ll probably need to check it. If you want to take your board as a carry on, call the airline first to check and see if that’s OK.

Most airlines don’t allow electric skateboards for now, but a handful do. It seems like the bans are mostly based on some perceived safety issues around hover boards, and electric skateboards are being lumped in with them. 

Keep checking with the airlines that ban electric skateboards; since the ban is based on hover boards, which are drastically different, it’s possible that those airlines will start to update their policies with specific regulations for electric skateboards soon. 

Some people report being able to take their electric boards on any flight as long as it’s disassembled first, but that’s purely anecdotal- we haven’t been able to confirm with any airline that this is ok. You can try it, but you’re doing that at your own risk. 

All we’ve discussed so far, though, is the restrictions that the actual airlines have placed on electric skateboards. Authorities like the FAA and TSA have their own rules and restrictions that the airlines have no control over, and if you’re flying internationally, you have to worry about customs and then about the securtiy agencies in the country your flying in.

In other words, just because the airline you’re flying on says it’s ok doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to take your electric skateboard with you.

Transportation Security Administration

The TSA is in charge of all airport security in the United States. If you fly in the US, they will determine what you can and cannot bring on the plane and especially what you can have as a carry on. 

The TSA is fine with regular skateboards, and places no regulation on them. The TSA makes no mention at all of electric skateboards, so, in theory, the airlines are the only ones who might have a problem with you bringing your electric skateboard. 

Some people have had problems though, seemingly because the battery is larger than 99wH. It’s unclear why that would be a problem- battery regulations apply to spare batteries only, not batteries that are attached. And TSA, again, makes no mention of electric skateboards or batteries.

One common suggestion is to remove the battery, check the board with your luggage, and take the battery with you as a carry on, being sure to put it in its own bin when you go through security.

Again, it’s not clear why this is necessary, since there are no TSA regulations on electric skateboards and the only regulations for batteries are for loose, spare batteries. Still, enough people have had problems with it that it’s worth taking the precaution.

Other than that, TSA is content to let the airlines determine policy when it comes to electric skateboards. Just be sure to keep the battery detached, as it seems to be difficult to bring the whole board through security in one piece sometimes.

That’s just for US flights, though. Other countries all have their own security administrations.

Canadian Air Transport Security Administration

CATSA is Canada’s equivalent to the TSA. CATSA has no regulations on the boards themselves, just like the TSA. They are a little clearer on their battery regulations, though.

There’s an easy-to-follow guide here, but the gist of it is that if the battery is still in your board, it’s allowed as a carry on, but only allowed as checked luggage with approval from your airline.

Unless, that is, your battery is larger than 160wH, in which case you are not permitted to bring the battery as a carry on, but you may be able to check it with approval from your airline.

Essentially, just check with your airline. If your airline allows it, so will CATSA.

United Kingdom Department for Transport

The Department for Transport is the primary governing authority in the UK for airport security.

Once again, there are no specific regulations on electric skateboards. And, like CATSA and the TSA, there are regulations about how you can transport the large battery your board will require.

They prefer that you bring it as a carry on, but you can still put it in your checked luggage, provided you’ve ensured that the battery is properly secured and the board can’t be accidentally switched on.

That means that a hard case might be a good idea. You could also keep the remote throttle in your carry on with the batteries removed, since there should be no way of activating the board without the remote.

European Commission

The European Commission establishes the regulations for air travel within the EU, and most EU member states follow its guidelines. However, its guidelines are very broad, and most member states add additional regulations. In fact, its quite common for each airport to adopt its own regulations, and these are often more important for you to know than the European rules.

Germany, for instance, doesn’t place any nationwide restrictions on electric skateboards, even though their national airline doesn’t allow them at all.

Other nations and even specific airports may have different rules. It’s always worth calling the airport to check- European airport security is notoriously strict, far more so than American airport security. 

Every country is going to be different, but in general it seems like most nationwide security agencies are fine to let the airlines handle electric skateboard regulations.

What security agencies are concerned with, though, is the battery. Apparently, batteries are a fire hazard. Spare batteries, in particular, can be shorted out and start a fire if they accidentally come into contact with soemthing electrically conductive. The bigger the battery, the more dangerous they are.

For the most part, if the airline you’re flying with allows electric skateboards, you’ll be fine. It looks like most airlines have much stricter regulations on electric skateboards than the security agencies in the airports.

How to fly with an electric skateboard

Battery size is important

Each airline has different regulations on battery size. The links in the airline section above all include information on that airline’s battery policy.

Some airlines only allow batteries smaller than 99wH, and others are fine with batteries up to 160wH. Remember, the FAA and TSA let the airlines determine what batteries they allow on board the plane.

A detachable battery is best here, since most of the airlines that do allow electric skateboards specifically require that you detach the battery. 

Check with the airline first

Email the airline well in advance of the flight. Some airlines are fine with your board, but want you to declare that you have a lithium battery with you, others don’t care as long as you detach the battery.

A lot of the airline policies posted online are unclear, and checking with the airline first is always a good idea.

Make you email them, rather than calling. This way you can print off the email they send you and have clear, written proof of what they say. Then, if the staff at the airport start giving you trouble, you’ve got a written document proving that the airline is ok with you flying with your electric skateboard. 

Check your board, carry your battery

No matter what airline you’re flying with, this seems like a good idea. Check the board at the ticket counter with the battery already detached, and just carry the battery with you. 

Even if your airline (like Southwest) is fine with you bringing the whole board as a carry-on, it’s probably easier to just check the board, unless you don’t have a detachable battery.

Some people even report that airlines with policies that ban electric skateboards will allow you to fly with them if you detach the batteries. While that may be true, it’s important to understand that none of those airlines state anywhere that there are exceptions to their electric skateboard bans. Even if they’ve allowed some travelers to get by with a detached battery, that is not part of their official policy. Assuming that the airline was even aware of what was happening, it seems like those are cases of individual airline employees excercising their own judgment.

Buy a Different Board

Some companies have already started to consider this problem, and are making air-travel approved electric skateboards. Mellow, for instance, claims to be making boards with batteries that will be allowed on any airline. The reasoning here seems to be that, since these are all hub drive boards, once you remove the battery you’re left with a regular skateboard.

The Boosted Mini S is another small board with a small battery that should pose no problems with many airlines.

Most airlines that allow boards will require you to detach your battery- no one allows you to check a battery anymore, because of the fire risk. Hub drive boards may allow you to find a loophole in electric skateboard bans, though. A belt drive board is almost unusable without the battery, but a hub drive board can be used just like a regular skateboard once the battery is out. 

In fact, a hub drive board without the battery even looks a lot like a regular skateboard, so it’s possible that people who are getting them through are airlines that ban electric skateboards are just fooling the airline employees.

Image credit: techcrunch.com

 

Conclusion

It may not seem like it after reading all of this, but flying with your electric skateboard is easier than it sounds. At least, it is as long as you fly with an airline that doesn’t ban them.

The problem is, most airlines now prohibit electric skateboards. That’s kind of a recent phenomenon, apparently. A quick search of reddit or other forums will pull up plenty of posts from people claiming they’ve never had any trouble flying on any airline with their board. Most of those seem to be older posts.

The problem is hover boards and other cheaply made products with low quality batteries. They’re a lot more likely to burst into flames than a well-made electric skateboard, but airlines are lumping them all together.

So, hoverboards probably present a genuine risk on flights, and because electric skateboards are kind of like hoverboards, it’s assumed they present the same risk. This is frustrating, but it does mean there’s hope that things will change.

Keep checking airline policies; as electric skateboards grow in popularity without spontaneously combusting all the time, it will become apparent that they are not the same thing as hoverboards, and don’t present the same kind of risk.

In the meantime, call the airline before you book your flight. Better yet, email them. If you get a positive response saying your board is allowed on the plane, print it off and bring it with you (send a picture to [email protected]!)

It’s also a good idea to print off the TSA or FAA regulations on batteries and show them to the agents at the checkpoint, just in case they aren’t happy about the battery your bringing.

Once you’ve found an airline that will accept your board, the process is simple. Detach the battery and check the board, and put the battery in with your carry on luggage. You’ll probably need to run it through the xray scanner separate from the rest of your luggage, and they may run a quick bomb test on it.

The thinking here is that if the battery causes a fire in the cabin, the flight crew are trained to handle that. If it causes a fire in the luggage, no one will know about it until it’s too late.

Disassembling your board or removing the battery is sometimes enough to let you get your board onto a flight that bans electric skateboards. Not one airline says this is true, though. This is purely anecdotal- meaning, some guys have said they were able to do this. It’s unclear though if that happened before or after those airlines enacted their ban.

It is very clear that none of those airlines have adopted any official exemptions to their ban on electric skateboards, so if you try that you do so at your own risk. We’re only mentioning this because it seems to be a common piece of advice online, and you should be aware of the risk you’re taking if you try it. We advise against it.

All of this is a very long winded way of saying: if you want to know if you can fly with your electric skateboard, contact the airline. There aren’t any nationwide restrictions on electric skateboards- not in the United States, not in Canada, not in the United Kingdom or Europe, nowhere. The only restrictions that government agencies have put in place are restrictions on battery size. 

That means each airline has the authority to determine whether or not they want electric skateboards on their planes, and each airline has different policies. 

Further Resources and Reading

If you still have questions about this or any other subject related to electric skateboards, these forums are all great places to ask them. They’re full of knowledgable people who love their electric skateboards and have lots of experience. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/ElectricSkateboarding/ – A popular forum with lots of users. Great for general questions about using electric skateboard

https://www.reddit.com/r/ElectricSkateboards/ – This forum is geared more towards questions and discussion about electic skateboards themselves- which models are good, how to build, repair and maintain your own board, etc.

https://www.reddit.com/r/eSk8/ – General forum for electric skateboarding

https://www.quora.com/topic/Electric-Skateboards – Similar to the above, but on Quora

Sources

https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/baggage/special-luggage-pol.html – Southwest Airlines official baggage restriction policy

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/baggage/dangerous.html#hoverboards – United Airlines official policy on baggage and dangerous items

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/baggage/prohibited-items – Alaska Air’s official list of prohibited items

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/baggage/special-baggage/traveling-with-sporting-equipment – Alaska Air’s official policy on sporting equipment

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/baggage/carry-on-luggage – Alaska Air’s official policy on carry-on luggage

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/specialty-and-sports.jsp – American Airlines official policy on special luggage and sporting equipment

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/restricted-items.jsp – American Airlines official list of restricted and banned items

https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/plan/baggage/special-items.html – Air Canada’s official policy on baggage and special items

https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/plan/baggage/restricted-and-prohibited-items.html – Air Canada’s official policy on restricted and prohibited items

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-s-largest-airlines-by-passengers-carried.html – World Atlas’ list of the largest airlines in the world

https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage/before-your-trip/restricted-items.html – Delta Airlines official policy on restricted items

https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/baggage/before-your-trip/special-items.html/#sports+equipment – Delta Airlines official policy on special baggage

https://www.ryanair.com/gb/en/useful-info/baggage/20-kg-check-in-bag – Ryanairs official policy on checked luggage

https://www.lufthansa.com/us/en/dangerous-goods – Lufthansa’s official policy on prohibited items

https://www.easyjet.com/en/terms-and-conditions/dangerous-goods – easyJets official policy on prohibited items

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/sporting-and-camping – The TSA’s official policy on what items can and can’t be taken on a plane

https://www.reddit.com/r/ElectricSkateboarding/comments/9roj47/taking_an_electric_skateboard_on_a_plane/ – A reddit conversation on flying with electric skateboards

https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/guidelines-batteries – CATSA’s official policy on flying with batteries

https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Before-you-fly/Baggage/Items-that-are-allowed-in-baggage/ – The UK Department for Transportation’s official guidelines for prohibited items

https://www.zoll.de/EN/Private-individuals/Travel/Travel-within-the-EU/Restrictions/restrictions_node.html;jsessionid=1A62ED4DBFDB93BC9E3A81C5AB1FEF9F.live4402 – The European Union’s official policy on prohibited items on flights

https://www.smartertravel.com/airport-security-abroad-not-standard-mumble-grumble/ – An article on the stringent security of European airports

https://www.mellowboards.com/en/blog/can-your-electric-skateboard-get-on-any-air-plane/ – Mellowboards claim that they make a board that can be taken on any plane

https://boostedboards.com/vehicles/shortboards/boosted-mini-s#buy-now – The Boosted Mini S, which should also be easy to fly with.

 

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Can You Take Electric Skateboards on a Plane?
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