At Genesis, we’ll be the first to tell you that electric skateboards are awesome, and not just because we’re the number one producers of electric skateboards in the United States, but their portability and speed are changing how we maneuver our cities while lessening our dependence on automobiles and public transportation, while also reducing carbon emissions.
Because electric skateboards are so portable, we have a lot of customers who ask us about how they should go about flying with them: “What are airline rules? Are the batteries safe?” The quick answers are: it depends on the airline, and yes, our batteries are safe! The batteries we use are produced at the highest quality by Samsung, and quality checked for assurance. Our boards are UL certified, without one reported case of battery combustion.
So there are a few things to keep in mind when flying with your electric skateboard. First off, and this applies to all lithium containing batteries, you cannot put “spares,” meaning loose lithium-ion batteries, in your checked baggage. If you fly with lithium containing batteries, they either have to be installed in the device, or brought onboard as a carry-on.
All airlines allow for lithium batteries that are under 100 watt hours, and pretty much any regular consumer item falls in this range. Anything larger has to be approved by the airline, with a maximum size no larger than 160 watt hours. What does this mean? A watt-hour (Wh) is a unit of measuring power generated in an hour. Basically, a 50 watt bulb would last 2 hours on a 100 watt-hour battery. To compute how many watts your board has, take the Amp-hours (Ah) and multiply that by the Volts (V). If you see mAh, that stands for milliamp-hours, which you would divide by 1000 to find the Amp-hours.
The batteries on our Hellfire, Tomahawk, and Stinger have lithium-ion batteries rated at 154.8 Wh (4.3 Amps X 36V) and are all technically allowed by the FAA and TSA for air travel, but you should get permission from your airline beforehand. They may have restrictions on whether the board is brought on as a carry-on (or just the battery, if you’re using our Hellfire or Tomahawk), and may want the board checked for size limitations, which also depends on your board.
But say you’ve purchased an extra battery (or two) and want to also bring those with you. In this case, you would check your board, with the battery installed, and bring your spare batteries (up to 2 per passenger) as carry-on items. In this case, you will want to keep the battery protected. The FAA recommends a separate pouch, pocket, or at the very least putting tape over the battery terminals to insulate connectors from short-circuiting. We’ve found that bubble-mailers make a great protective sleeve, but there are a million options out there.
If you’re checking your board and still have the box, congratulations, you’ve got a great protective case with no additional cost. Unfortunately, you now have to deal with a bulky box. One solution we’ve heard from our customers is to actually use an electronic keyboard case. You can find a variety of low-cost cases that are about the same dimensions as our boards without having to go for an actual “electric skateboard case.”Do you have any travel tips or experiences (good or bad) with any airlines? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks again for Riding with Genesis!