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Wheel on the plane


Daan
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Just wanted to share my experience of bringing the Solowheel Xtreme on the plane from Seattle to Prague via Amsterdam. The photos are from the first plane -- as you can see plenty of space in the overhead bin; same for the second flight with the smaller plane. It all went surprisingly well -- no questions asked, and nothing remarked. Great :-)  Let's hope it is the same on the way back.

For those interested, the regulations are a bit vague, but the FAA (US airline association) allows for 2 (two) 160wh lithium-ion batteries in carry-on luggage. The Solowheel Xtreme has exactly a 160Wh battery. The IATA is the international association and they say the same. I believe that inside the US domestic flights sometimes allow up to 340Wh batteries but you may need to check with your airline.

FAA: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/passenger_info/media/faa_airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf

IATA: http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/LithiumBattery_PassengerFlyer.jpg (IATA states that between 100Wh-160Wh it is also up to the airline discretion)

I didn't ride much on the airports even though that was my goal: it was just too busy :-( At least for my skills :-)  So, I carried my wheel a bit (which quickly becomes quite heavy) and carted it around at Schiphol.

 

solowheel-plane.jpg

solowheel-plane2.jpg

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Hi Daan,

Nice to hear you didn't have any problems bringing the Solowheel.
For me, the EU is not only a stand-alone transport device (like a car), but it most useful when it can be combined with others.

It, IMHO, is the BIGGEST advantage of the EU over a devices like a Segway or normal bike.

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Riding the Wheel to get to your gate must be one of life's great pleasures. On a recent trip through Dubai airport, I was seated at the back of row 83 on an A380; because the distance to the connecting terminal was so great, with the assistance of the King Song (removal battery), made it first to the gate. It was all a bit of a Pyrrhic victory, as there were 3hrs to kill for the next flight—still, you'll never get so many looks of envy as your gliding around the airport...-_-    

Edited by Jason McNeil
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Riding the Wheel to get to your gate must be one of life's great pleasures. On a recent trip through Dubai airport, I was seated at the back of row 83 on an A380; because the distance to the connecting terminal was so great, with the assistance of the King Song (removal battery), made it first to the gate. It was all a bit of a Pyrrhic victory, as there were 3hrs to kill for the next flight—still, you'll never get so many looks of envy as your gliding around the airport...-_-    

I still don't see how you guys can do it without security telling you you're not allowed. :P

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There's reason to hope that the with precedent of those rather lame converted milk-wagons people-movers, that EV mobility will be tolerated. As we all know, a reasonably skilled EU'er occupies a smaller physical footprint than his more primitive biped cousin. 

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From Prague to Amsterdam just the same: no questions, no problems, and enough space in the overhead bin. But this time I could zip around nicely at Prague airport -- very sweet. I needed to carry again at Schiphol but wow, the 12kg quickly becomes quite heavy :(  -- I wish they would make 6kg monowheels with the same range B) current wheels are not made for carrying...

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Final leg of the journey back to Seattle from Amsterdam. This time I got a bit of trouble:

  • First the lady at check-in didn't know the regulations and asked her co-worker if the wheel would be allowed. She didn't know either. Fortunately, I had printed out the FAA and IATA regulations so everything was fine -- it helped a lot that that the 160wh Li-Ion battery was mentioned on the metal plate on the Solowheel. If you have a wheel that doesn't have this, I would probably have one made that looks somewhat official and attach it.
  • At the security scan, the guy was unsure whether the wheel was ok because on the inside there are many wires etc. and he asked if I could take it apart easily -- which of course is not possible. Security was ok though if I could turn it on and demonstrate it :) That was fun actually and I got quite an audience :huh: and applause lol. The reason is similar that sometimes security wants you to turn on the laptop (basically to make sure it is really a laptop/ewheel and not something horrible).
Edited by Daan
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I also just got back from the trip from San Francisco to Barcalona, via London Heathrow.   Flew with the xtreme no problem.   Nobody even cared about the battery size or even asked about the battery.  A couple of security people wanted to see it working, but out of curiosity, not concern.

I also rode it in all four airports (San Fran, Philiy, London, Barca) but only in wide open spaces, when I didn't see any security folks around, and only at ~5mph.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do you guys know how it works with easyjet.. Next week I'm going to see my family from London Gatwick to Nice in France and I would like to bring my wheel with me, but I'm scared that they will take it and I'm not gonna be able to have it with me... 

This is the battery: ( it's not removable) 

 

DSC_3363.JPG

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A 174Wh battery is too big to carry on a passenger plane, by IATA regs. The biggest is 160Wh at the discretion of the airline. See here, page 13:

http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/lithium-battery-guidance-document-2015-en.pdf

There is also provision, with the approval of the airline, for larger lithium ion batteries with a watt-hour rating in excess of 100 Wh, but not more than 160 Wh in equipment and no more than two spare lithium ion batteries as set out in subparagraph 2.3.3.2 as follows:

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Great info! I will try taking my SoloWheel Xtreme on a trip from USA mainland to Puerto Rico in a couple of months, and report back.

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See the link to the PDF I gave a couple of posts above. The battery capacity limit applies to both checked and carry-on luggage, but each airline may set its own restrictions The IATA document only provides guidelines, but it would be rare for an airline to allow something in excess of that. It's also possible that an airline might reject an EUC as a carry-on due to weight if they were to examine it, see the limits listed here: http://flyingwithfish.boardingarea.com/2009/06/28/carry-on-weight-baggage-limit-chart-for-65-world-airlines/

Note that article is from 2009 so it may be out of date!

 

Edited by dmethvin
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Does anyone know: is an EU with a larger battery permitted on a plane in checked luggage? Does the 160 Wh limit apply only to carry-on items or to all luggage, checked or otherwise?

Actually no LiPo battery (no matter how small) is permitted in the checked in luggage. LiPo batteries are permitted only in carry-on (the idea is that a LiPo fire in the baggage hold could take down a plane, while a fire in the cabin can be contained by the crew)

Do no carry a EUC with a >160 Wh battery on a plane: even if you get lucky and get thru once, you might end up with your EUC grounded and no way to get it to your destination

I hope manufacturers start building removable 100Wh batteries (you can carry a lot of those with you, as many drone enthusiasts know)

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Incorrect; at least in the USA. FAA & TSA rules (linked to in a previous post) clearly limit lipo battery capacity to <160 watt/hour. They may be carried in checked baggage. It is up to the individual airline to permit them in carry on baggage.

I suppose that is why a few manufacturers are offering batteries under 160 watt/hr, so you can carry one in the EU and one spare.

It's up to each passenger to read the rules, then inquire with their specific carrier to see what is permitted.

Safe trips.

P.S.  I just did this for my nephew last week, when he wanted to take his two-wheel self balance scooter back with him. 158 W/hr battery - carried on board.  RC flyers do the same when traveling w/ their lipos.

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Spare lithium batteries cannot be in checked luggage, here's what the TSA has to say:

  • Spare lithium batteries (both lithium metal and lithium ion/polymer) are prohibited in checked baggage.

An EUC with a <100Wh battery can be checked in. An EUC with a battery between 100Wh and 160Wh cannot be checked in. From the TSA:

  • Lithium ion batteries (a.k.a.: rechargeable lithium, lithium polymer, LIPO, secondary lithium). Passengers may carry all consumer-sized lithium ion batteries (up to 100 watt hours per battery). This size covers AA, AAA, cell phone, PDA, camera, camcorder, handheld game, tablet, portable drill, and standard laptop computer batteries. The watt hours (Wh) rating is marked on newer lithium ion batteries and is explained in #3 below. External chargers are also considered to be a battery.
  • Passengers can also bring two (2) larger lithium ion batteries (100-160 watt hours per battery) in their carry-on. This size covers the largest aftermarket extended-life laptop batteries and most lithium ion batteries for professional-grade audio/visual equipment. Most lithium ion batteries for consumer electronics are below this size. 

The wording is vague about the <160Wh rule, but in most cases this is interpreted to be "anything above 100Wh can be carried in your cabin baggage, not checked baggage. And the 160Wh applies only with the airline permission, so it's always a bit of a risk

So, yeah, if you can find a EUC with a <100Wh battery, it can be checked in... but I doubt that an EUC like that would be that useful ;)

 

 

 

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I'm not trying to be confrontational - just clarify the facts so people know the rules. When people are misinformed on either side of the checkpoint, knowing the facts can mean the difference between getting onboard or dealing with unnecessary headaches.

Your're glossing over the word "Spare" - which means not installed... next section

Q2. What kinds of batteries does the FAA allow in checked baggage? A2. Except for spare (uninstalled) lithium metal and lithium-ion batteries, all the batteries allowed in carry-on baggage are also allowed in checked baggage. The batteries must be protected from damage and short circuit or installed in a device. Battery-powered devices—particularly those with moving parts or those that could heat up—must be protected from accidental activation. Spare lithium metal and lithium ion/polymer batteries are prohibited in checked baggage—this includes external chargers.

P.S.  "protected from activation" can simply be taping a coin over the power button.o

2015-10-12_14-37-02.png

Edited by h00ktern
add "Q2" text
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Neither I am looking to be confrontational. My point is to warn people that anything above 100 Wh is at risk. Anything above 100Wh is at the airline discretion, and there is a non-zero risk that your expensive EUC won't be able to come with you. At that point you don't have a lot of options: lose your EUC or hope that there is a way to ship it to you (but given how much they charge to ship a small knife, I have no idea what they would charge to ship a big, bulky device with a big lithium battery). Airlines tend to be more risk averse when they do not understand the device, so something like an EUC might be something they are afraid of (and a lot of EUCs have bigger batteries, so they might be afraid, unless you can easily prove the battery capacity). There are plenty of stories of drones not allowed in the checked in baggage (and a story of a DJI Inspire fire in a cabin, put out by the crew)

So an EUC with a 158Wh battery might be reasonably safe to carry in the cabin, not always in the checked baggage. The only "safe" EUC would be a 100Wh one. In no case can a spare lithium battery be checked in

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Just to add to this all:

  • FAA sets the US federal airline regulations. Within the US it is clearly ok to bring two 160Wh batteries in your carry-on (if properly protected or installed in a device). (they say "100-160 watt hours")
  • The IATA set international guidelines that are generally followed by all airlines. They have the same rule here as the FAA  (they say "> 100 to <= 160Wh").
  • Both organizations just set guidelines -- it is always up to airline discretion. There is always a non-zero risk that the airline will not allow you to board the plane for whatever reason they feel like it -- does that happen in practice? no (or perhaps, almost never lol). If you are a reasonable person and show knowledge of the FAA and IATA regulations there should be no reason at all for them to reject your wheel if the battery is up to 160Wh. Actually, I think the main reason bringing the wheel  is a bit risky is due to weight! :-) Most airlines limit carry-on luggage weight to 12kg and most wheels are heavier than that. In the end, nobody is looking for causing trouble -- be reasonable and prepared to pay more for 'overweight carry-on' B)
  • Actually, I think you can even bring a 340Wh wheel if you can somehow physically disconnect the two 160Wh batteries in there -- that way it can count as two 160Wh batteries that you are allowed to bring.

Just my 2c. And btw, bringing your wheels on travels is just so fun -- especially in new cities it is just great to be able to just go ride and explore :D

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  • Actually, I think you can even bring a 340Wh wheel if you can somehow physically disconnect the two 160Wh batteries in there -- that way it can count as two 160Wh batteries that you are allowed to bring.

Good post and points, just a minor correction: a "340Wh" wheel actually has two 174Wh packs (2900mAh per pack @ 60V), so slightly above the 160Wh limit, but the limit seems pretty arbitrary anyway (if your pack would be 161Wh, would it suddenly become much more dangerous than 160Wh? ;)), of course they have to set some clear limits...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi

Tomorrow evening I'll have my first flight out of many if everything will go alright. 

I plan to fly Copenhagen -stockholm, I will fly with Scandinavian airlines and beside my carry on I'llhave an EUC IPS ZERO 130WH. ( I'm a silver member so I'm allowed to 2 PCS on board)

point is that it has no label visible for the battery specs and the guys in cph airport at the security had no idea if I could go with it or not until they will see it. 

Also had no idea where to look to see if is fine or not either. 

Any tips so I don't get stuck there?

Or even worse, upon my return? 

Edited by Paul Panait
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For my nephew, I gave him the link to the manufacturer's model page, which had the specs (it was a two-wheel hoverboard.) I also sent him the link to the TSA rules (US,) which showed his board was within the rules.

He didn't need either; they were more curious and wanted him to see him ride it.

Safest bet is to print your references, check with your airline (they do have final say,) and give yourself some extra time before the flight, in case there is a delay while they figure it out. Most of all, be friendly - until they become familiar with them, you have to expect a little bit of confusion.

Safe trips

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