If you’re anything like me, you may have become a huge fan of electric scooters over the last few years. Electric scooters are great for the environment and, in many cases, faster than public transportation or even driving. Scooters are a great way to get outside and explore your neighbourhood or an entirely new city.
I found myself renting a scooter to get to work or buzz around the city so often; I figured it was time to get my own.
The convenience of my scooter was unmatched. But, in all of my pre-purchase research, I neglected to find out if I would be able to travel on an airplane with my beloved electric scooter.
So, can I Take My Electric Scooter on a Plane?
The short answer is – maybe. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) regulates whether battery-powered devices are allowed on planes based on the watt-hours (Wh) of the battery, so be sure to check the power of your battery before flying. Battery-powered devices can be carried on planes as long as the battery capacity is less than 100 Wh.
These devices can be checked in as luggage if the battery power is between 100 Wh and 160 Wh. Devices with batteries higher than 160 Wh are forbidden on airplanes. A full list of battery regulations is available on the FAA website.
If you do want to bring your electric scooter on a plane and think that it meets these battery specifications, you will also be required to present the device to the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) so they can verify that the scooter’s battery power is within limits allowed on the aircraft.
Something to keep in mind is that most scooters do have batteries that are over 160 Wh, barring them from being allowed on any aircraft. You will likely be required to remove the battery from your scooter for this inspection.
When purchasing your scooter, the battery specifications should be available on the specs sheet for that comes with it or you can find the information on the manufacturer’s website. It would be helpful for future reference to print out this sheet, so you have the scooter’s measurements, battery power, and other specs easily available for when you are travelling.
To find the specs after your purchase, look up the scooter model you purchased, and the battery information should be easily available. It would be best to have this information handy before your flight in case TSA asks about it.
If your scooter is approved for travel on the flight, you will be required to fold your scooter up so that it is in its most compact form.
Bags are also available should you want to make your life a bit easier. Many different lightweight scooter bags available that come with shoulder straps make carrying your scooter through the airport a bit easier. They are easy to zip up and take off with. And, when you are done storing your scooter, the bag folds up and attaches to the handlebars.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you may be required to gate check your scooter if there is not enough room in the overhead storage on your flight. Most major airlines have the same basic size restrictions for carry-ons. For example, JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines only allow carry-ons 22 inches long and 14 inches wide or less.
These baggage specifications apply to both domestic and international flights. It’s Likely; your scooter will not fit in those dimensions as most scooters are at least 40 inches long and 17 inches wide when folded. It would definitely be best to have a bag to protect your scooter from getting bounced around in the plane’s cargo area.
While these battery regulations are supposed to apply to global flights, different regions have different rules regarding batteries on flights. The European Union’s list of permitted and prohibited items can be found here.
If you are travelling internationally, I would definitely recommend checking the regulations for your destination before departing as it is likely your scooter will not be permitted on the flight.
Airlines may charge extra for bringing a scooter on a plane, as an additional piece of carry-on luggage or as a checked item. I would recommend checking with your airline before your flight to be aware of any additional charges you may incur. With the additional time required to get through security with your scooter, it is recommended that you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight to get the necessary tags for your luggage and to make it through security.
When you consider having to go through all these necessary steps to make sure your scooter is actually allowed on the plane. Having to transport it from your home, drag it through the airport and on to the plane and again when you reach your destination, an easier option may be to leave your scooter at home and rent one at your destination. Most scooters are not particularly small, and travelling with a scooter is something that can add stress to your travel.
Most major cities in the United States and abroad have scooter rental companies. You can find these scooters on the street or at designated hubs and be on your way with the touch of an app. These scooter sharing apps also allow you to scope out the scooter availability at your destination beforehand, so you know before you travel.
I have found that the hassle of bringing my own scooter on an airplane is simply not worth it. It is easier for me to spend a few dollars renting a scooter at my destination rather than stressing about getting my one on the plane. This also eliminates the risk of your scooter being confiscated, only to never be seen again.
If you plan to take your electric scooter on a flight, you might have to be prepared to jump through a few hoops. It would also be wise to buy a specialised bag to put it in.