Can I take my electric scooter in a plane? If you find yourself asking such question, trust me, you are not alone. The answer, albeit is YES and NO. Lol…interesting right? Well, the possibility of you tagging your scooter along as you fly round depends on two things; first, it depends on your carrier airline and second, the legal regulations in the countries you are flying in. However, the key matter is the battery type and capacity.
More generally, electric scooters or electric bikes are usually powered with a lithium-ion battery, and this battery usually goes beyond the capacity limits on lithium-ion batteries both in the cabin or checked luggage.
European airlines have specific guidelines on the size of batteries and the type of batteries that can be taken on board. The FAA regulation made it so lucid that only batteries up to 100Wh (cabin or checked) and in addition a limited number of batteries between 100 and 160Wh in cabin luggage (though, this depends on airline policies) are to be allowed. Batteries larger than 160Wh are generally prohibited. In Asia, you will more likely be faced with much stricter regulations, especially in China.
As we proceed, I will be unraveling some “codes” on traveling with the scooter. Sit tight!
The IATA On Flying With Scooters
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) official information on taking your electric scooter in a plane was necessary due to much questions raised by operators.
In response to those questions raised by the operators regarding the acceptability of small vehicles that are powered by lithium-ion batteries in passenger checked and/or carry-on baggage; the IAFA made it clear that the allowance for passengers or crew to have PED in their checked or carry-on baggage should henceforth, be determined by the size (Watt-hour rating) of the lithium-ion battery as follows,
- In cases where the lithium-ion battery does not exceed 100Wh, passengers may have
these devices in either carry-on or checked baggage. This does not beg for the approval of the operator.
- In cases where the lithium-ion battery exceeds 100 Wh but does not go beyond 160 Wh, passengers may have these devices in either carry-on baggage or checked. However, the
approval of the operator is required and finally,
- In cases where the lithium-ion battery exceeds 160 Wh, the device is utterly forbidden from being in either passenger or crew checked or carry-on baggage.
The FAA’s Take On Passengers And Battery
What about taking your electric scooter in a plane according to the FAA. Whell, FAA says that passengers are permitted to carry most consumer-type batteries and portable battery-powered electronic devices for their own personal use. The batteries labeled for spare must be protected from damage and short circuit. The devices powered by batteries must be given protection from generating much heat and activating accidentally. Batteries allowed in carry-on baggage include:
- Dry cell rechargeable batteries such as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
- Passengers may carry all the Lithium-ion batteries (rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium.
- Consumer-sized lithium-ion batteries which should not be more than 8 grams of equivalent lithium content or 100-watt hours per battery. This size extends to the AA, AAA, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, handheld game, tablet, and standard laptop computer batteries. Passengers are also permitted to bring two (2) larger lithium-ion batteries which should be more than eight but less than 25 grams of equivalent lithium content per battery or up to 300Wh per battery, in their carry-on. Most lithium-ion batteries are below this size. Lithium metal batteries (a.k.a.: non-rechargeable lithium, primary lithium). These batteries are often used with cameras and
- Other small personal electronics inclusive of the consumer-sized batteries, up to 2 grams of lithium per battery may be carried. This category also extends to all the typical non-rechargeable lithium batteries used in cameras (AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, CR22, 2CR5, etc.) as well as the flat round lithium button cells.
- The absorbed electrolyte type including the gel cells, AGM, et cetera, must have no electrolyte flow from the cracked battery case. Also, the batteries must be in strong outer packaging or installed in equipment. Passengers are limited to two spares of uninstalled batteries.
More On Battery Size Rule
Although you are allowed to carry on a device with a 1021Wh to a 160Wh battery, you must, however, get prior approval from the airline.
The rule, therefore, implies that you have to find an electric scooter with a battery that is below 160Wh, which would have to be an adventure. Laptops have the maximum battery size of 160Wh, and the battery rule is designed for laptops rather than an electric scooter. Most of the manufacturers list only the ampere-hour. To know what it should be in watt-hours you surely need to convert by multiplying that figure by the battery’s voltage. You’ll be doing well if you can find manufacturers that list both.
Electric Scooter Check-In
To check-in your electric scooter like Razor Power Core E90 (our review here), you should bear it in mind that any member of the airline staff will be appointed to take your scooter to the aircraft hold. To protect your scooter from damage, I recommend that prior to handing the scooter over to the airline staff; put some masking tape on top of the throttle control to ensure the throttle control in the lowest position. This tape should read the ‘Do not remove’ instruction. Always ensure that your key is safe. You can make use of cables like those used in fishing tackle, to fix the key. Be careful not to make use of a rubber band or elastic strap to secure the scooter key. Also, if you don’t want to lose your removable baskets and cushions, then remove it.
Irrespective of the battery being approved for flying you need to make sure you fill up all the requirements your airline may have for bag size. Going above the bag size stipulated by your airline puts you in the position of probably incurring extra charges or refusal to take with you your electric scooter on a plane.
For safety reasons, some airline has the following regulations for electric scooters to comply to before they are accepted for carriage
- The batteries will have to be dry/gel cell or lithium-ion batteries. These lithium-ion batteries cannot exceed a total of 300 watts. For a device that its power source is from two batteries, each battery must not exceed 160wh.
- Scooters weighing more than 150kg must come with a pre-authorization. If the scooter has none, it will be most likely not be accepted for carriage.
- The battery power must be isolated and the exposed terminals protected from short circuiting, to protect the mobility scooter’s aid from inadvertent activation, you must have to remove the key; you can deactivate using the joystick or deactivate using an isolation switch or buttons, or any other isolation mechanism such as Anderson Connector or Airsafe plug.
Scooter Travel Tip
The fun part of choosing the right airline that allows you to take with you your electric scooter on a plane, it means you can go almost anywhere! Many people enjoy travel. You may love flying to exotic destinations or taking a relaxing cruise. You do not need the topic of mobility to create difficulty or even repress your desire to see the world.
When you are on a cruise or flight, the width and storage size of a power scooter becomes more important than at home. It is therefore wise to go for foldable scooters, allowing easy storage in a cruise cabin with limited space. Another cause of concern when taking mobile scooters on a cruise is the width. It is quite pertinent that you know the maximum width of the electric scooter you intend to purchase and ensure it can pass through the entryways of the ship you prefer to travel on.
Some airlines have charges for sports equipment, trying to prove the point that your scooter is transported and not sports equipment at the airport is more of a failed venture. If you think you are likely to be charged for sports equipment, bring this to the notice of your ticket seller. You might be let off the sports equipment charges by doing so!
Some of our top electric scooter picks you can buy from Amazon:
Electric Scooter Travel - by Airlines
The United Airlines permits all types of airline approved mobility scooters and electric scooters, including folding, collapsible ones which can weigh less than 40 pounds when they are fully assembled. The airline’s ground staff will, however, conduct a check on the rating to approve the battery for travel. The United airlines also require batteries from collapsible mobility devices to be removed, which is quite easy to do.
The British Airways requires of their passengers to remove the battery from their travel scooters and take it on board. The batteries are offered protection from short-circuiting by covering exposed terminals with electrical tape. Also, in a quest to protect them from damage, the batteries are to be placed individually in a protective pouch and taken in like manner as hand baggage.
For proper safekeeping of the travel scooters, British Airways usually requests for information about the device, data pertaining to the scooter’s dimensions, weight, type of battery, and instructions for preventing inadvertent operation. Airways always strive to place the mobility aid in containers to keep them safe. Also, it is always recommended to keep the British Airways informed on any changes, two days ahead of departure.
Apart from the two airlines as mentioned above, a good number of airlines happened to be Scooter’s friendly also.
The Delta standard requires that the Battery must be able to be visually inspected and disconnected. Therefore, they have to check the rating to approve the battery for travel.
For collapsible mobility aids, customers will be allowed two spare batteries if less than 160 WH for collapsible mobility aids, or one spare battery if less than 300 WH.
Dangerous goods that may not be transported for reasons of safety and security with Lufthansa
as they say on their web page either in carry-on baggage or in checked baggage.
So for reasons of safety, the following items are prohibited on the plane:
Means of transportation battery-powered (e.g. E-Scooter, mini-Segways, hoverboards, Solowheels, electric bicycles). This regulation applies regardless of the power capacity of the battery.
American Airlines Group
According to American Airlines, the folowing items are restricted on board the plane:
- Balance wheels
- Electric small scooters
- Intelligent scooters
They don’t allow Li-ion battery-powered personal transportation devices on board or as carry-on or checked bags.
Also traveling with mobility devices is accepted if is transported according to their guidelines and an advance notice is given when traveling transatlantic.
Knowing the battery of your e-scooter (and other components) shows how well one knows his/her scooter. This way, you’ll get an idea of why your device is quickly losing its battery and how you can fix it.
In conclusion, the longevity of the electric scooter life depends massively on the battery, the duration of the battery depends very much on the individual (that’s how well he maintains it).
The rules are very simple, easy to memorize and follow. If you take good care of the battery of your electric scooter, you can extend its life-span up to 2-3 years. All you have to do is simply plug it in regularly, keep it always charged, take care that your electric scooter and the battery of your e-scooter in a dry environment and at an optimal temperature and check for leakages or any damage on the battery when the electric scooter is not running the same after a full charge.