With ever-changing technology and differences in TSA and airline-specific regulations, it can be hard to keep up with what is and isn’t allowed on planes these days. And unfortunately, it can be pretty difficult to find a plane that will accept your electric scooter.
The battery type and capacity of your scooter, as well as the airline you choose to fly with, will determine whether you can bring it with you when you fly.
Battery Type and Capacity
Most electric scooters are powered using a lithium-ion battery , which likely also powers your phone and laptop. However, battery type alone isn’t the problem when determining if you can bring your electric scooter.
Despite lithium-ion batteries being allowed in everyday electronics on planes, FAA regulations put limitations on the capacity a lithium-ion can have on a plane, in both carry-on and checked luggage. If a battery’s capacity exceeds 100 watt hours (Wh), you must get approval from the airline you’re flying with to bring it on the plane.
The limitations on lithium-ion batteries is due to the risk of this type of battery spontaneously overheating or catching fire, which is an obvious risk to the safety of the passengers and crew aboard the plane.
Electric scooters have batteries that typically clock in around 160 Wh. Batteries that exceed 160 Wh are prohibited on planes in the United States, so it’s important to double-check the capacity of your scooter battery to determine if it exceeds this limit.
Unfortunately, manufacturers of electric scooters rarely list the Wh of the battery, making just the amp hours (Ah) easily accessible. To calculate the Wh, you’ll need to multiply the Ah by the battery’s voltage, which can be difficult to track down for some electric scooters.
Your airline may require you to provide proof that the Wh of your scooter is lower than 160. You should have this proof available to you when requesting permission to bring your electric scooter.
Meeting Other Requirements
If you manage to get your electric scooter’s battery approved to be taken on the plane with you, you must also make sure you meet all your airline’s requirements for luggage size. If your luggage exceeds the weight or dimension limits, you could be charged an extra fee. You could also be denied permission to bring your electric scooter if it ultimately takes up too much room.
If you are looking to buy a scooter that can travel with you, go for one that’s sleek and able to fold to take up less space. Lithium-ion batteries are never allowed to be checked in the cargo hold, according to FAA regulations, so you will need to bring the scooter with you as part of your carry-on luggage.
A foldable scooter will be easier to store in an overhead compartment. You should also consider a narrower scooter, rather than a wide one. A narrow model will be easier to bring through the tight aisles of a plane.
United States Airline Policies
Here is a quick look at the policies of some major U.S. airlines when it comes to lithium-ion batteries and electric scooters to help make your travel plans a little less stressful.
While American Airlines does allow lithium-ion batteries up 160 Wh and between 160-300 Wh with special assistance and permission, they explicitly prohibit lithium-ion battery-powered personal transportation devices, such as electric scooters or hoverboards.
Delta has the same general regulations for lithium-ion batteries as the FAA, but they have specifically restricted hoverboards and other self-balancing electric boards that use lithium-ion batteries .
Their policy cites the reason for this as the inconsistency of manufacturers in listing the details of the batteries in their products. Because it can be so difficult to find the watt hours of an electric scooter battery, it’s very difficult to confirm whether a battery exceeds the 160 wh limit.
JetBlue’s policy does not explicitly prohibit electric scooters used for leisure transportation. It does, however, ban “scooters with spillable batteries,” hoverboards, and electric skateboard with lithium batteries .
You can always contact JetBlue to confirm, but it’s safe to assume that if a lithium-ion battery in an electric skateboard isn’t allowed, your electric scooter likely won’t be, either.
Southwest does not explicitly prohibit electric scooters on their own, but they do prohibit hoverboards and “smart baggage,” due to concerns with the lithium-ion battery used to power both categories of devices. Smart baggage is an umbrella term that includes baggage enabled with stand-up scooters that allow them to become personal transportation devices.
All smart baggage with non-removable batteries are banned from Southwest flights . If the lithium-ion battery can be removed from a smart bag device, the device may be allowed to accompany you in the cabin. If it needs to be checked, then the battery will need to be removed from the bag and carried into the cabin with you.
You’ve guessed it: United Airlines also prohibits electric scooters. Due to lithium-ion batteries’ unpredictability, self-propelled vehicles are not allowed on United Airlines flights. This includes hoverboards, electric skateboards, and explicitly electric-powered scooters.
When traveling by air in the U.S., there are a lot of restrictions and regulations you need to follow. Unfortunately, these restrictions make it challenging to bring electric scooters on major airline flights.
You may be able to find an airline that will accept lithium battery-powered transportation devices, or you may find a way to work around the restrictions (by, say, disassembling the scooter and carrying the battery separately).
Ultimately, though, it may be best to leave the electric scooter at home when flying someplace new .