**UPDATE** Alaska has been joined by American, Delta, United, Air Canda, British Airways, Jet Blue, and Virgin America in banning hoverboards
Alaska Airlines is among the first airline to publically announce that Hoverboards, the hottest Christmas toy, will no longer be allowed on board their aircrafts as checked bags or carryon luggage due to fire hazards and risks of the toy spontaneously catching on fire.
At Alaska Airlines, we do not allow hoverboards as checked luggage or as carry-on. Hoverboards are usually powered by lithium ion batteries, which are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as hazardous materials. Internal short-circuits can occur with lithium ion batteries, which can then lead to a “thermal runaway” where the battery overheats and bursts into flame.
Hoverboard battery ratings are unreliable and have been known to catch fire, which makes them more concerning to transport on a plane. In some models, we’ve found that the batteries claimed to be under the legal limit, but upon examination, they actually exceeded what the FAA allows on a plane.
In exceptional cases, as in times when you require one of these items as a mobility aid, we may allow you to bring your self-balancing device on board. However, these situations are very rare. Please see the assistive device section of our website or contact reservations at 1-800-ALASKAAIR for more information.
“Here at Alaska, we love technology and we’re always looking for ways to innovate. However, there’s one thing we prioritize above all: safety. We never want to endanger you, your family and friends, or our employees,” said Chris Hjort, Alaska’s director of airport policy and procedures. “So we hope you understand when we ask you not to bring your battery-operated self-balancing device on your next flight.”
In recent weeks, several viral videos have shown hoverboards spontaneously combusting and such fires have been blame for even a house fires that destroyed a families home. Alaska Airlines is taking no risk this holiday season and are asking Travelers to leave these toys at home!
Although the announcement comes as a surprise, it was just over the Thanksgiving Holiday that I saw a family of 4 speeding through DFW on hovercrafts. I thought the family looked pretty awesome, all on the board with carryon backpacks on their backs zipping through the terminal! Before then, I had never seen the new toy. Sadly, the days of seeing them on airplanes and airports may be over, as I expect more airlines to ban them from the planes.