PAL, Cebu Pacific ban ‘hoverboards’ over safety concerns
HOVERBOARDS are among the must-have gadgets this Christmas, just make sure to leave them at home before your next flight.
Local carriers Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines announced Monday that they are banning the carriage of the self-balancing personal transport vehicle, saying their powerful lithium-ion batteries may spontaneously catch fire.
Hoverboards and similar devices will no longer be accepted for check-in and for hand carriage abroad all flights starting Dec. 21, 2015.
The move follows recent announcements by foreign carriers like Singapore Airlines, Delta, United, American and British Airways in recent days.
“Hoverboards run on high-powered lithium-ion batteries, which have been widely reported to have a tendency to overheat or spontaneously ignite,” Cebu Pacific said in a statement on Monday.
“These devices pose a fire hazard risk and are deemed unsafe for transport especially in an aircraft’s pressurized cabin and cargo stowage spaces,” it added.
A PAL spokesman said these devices, and other like it, will also be prohibited aboard their flights.
Delta said in its own statement that the issue revolved around the inconsistent labelling of the device’s lithium-ion batteries.
“Delta reviewed hoverboard product specifications and found that manufacturers do not consistently provide details about the size or power of their lithium-ion batteries,” it said.
The US carrier said some devices have battery specifications above their government’s mandated 160 watt hour limit allowed aboard aircraft.
“While occurrences are uncommon, these batteries can spontaneously overheat and pose a fire hazard risk,” Delta said.
Hoverboards, which do not hover, typically refer to two-wheeled devices, separated by a platform and controlled by the rider’s feet.
Their popularity has skyrocketed in recent months, and the devices are distributed and marketed under a variety of brands. Buyer’s guides have also cropped up reviewing hoverboards alongside other consumer devices like smartphones and television monitors.
Rocket Internet-controlled online retailer Lazada lists discounted Hovertrax hoverboards on its website, with prices ranging from P8,000 to P18,000.