Hoverboards might be high on the Christmas wish lists of gadget lovers, but Qantas is banning the motorised skateboards amid fears they pose a fire risk, reported AAP.
Similar bans were slapped on the lithium-ion-powered boards by several airlines including Emirates and American Airlines following reports they can explode unexpectedly.
Qantas says it will no longer accept self-balancing boards in carry-on or checked baggage for any domestic or international flights.
The ban includes two-wheeled hoverboards, air boards, smart scooters, mini Segways as well as single-wheeled uni-wheels and air-wheels.
“We’ve made the decision based on the inconsistent information about lithium batteries provided by many manufacturers and reported issues with the devices,” Qantas said as it announced the immediate ban on Wednesday.
Hoverboards were tipped to be a huge seller this Christmas, despite their hefty $800 price tag.
The self-balancing devices have sparked a wave of safety concerns around the globe after reports of hoverboards catching fire in England, the United States and Hong Kong.
Hoverboards are powered by inbuilt batteries which can overheat and catch fire if they are overcharged.
Consumer watchdogs Choice and the ACCC have warned Australians to be wary of the devices due to fire risks posed by the battery design.
Online shopping giant Amazon has dropped many brands of hoverboards from its US and UK websites because of safety concerns.
A man in Alabama in the US had a hoverboard explode beneath his feet in late November.
“I came outside turned it on, came down the sidewalk not even 100 feet, and it exploded,” Timothy Cade told local TV network WKRG.
‘Batteries started shooting out of it; you would not expect a fire like that to come out of a little thing like that.”
Earlier, hundreds of residents had to be evacuated from a public housing block in Hong Kong after a newly-purchased hoverboard burst into flames in one of the flats.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, the owner said she used the scooter once and was recharging it when fumes started coming out of it around two hours later. A fire then started, causing her to flee with her mother and brother.
Other cases include a family in England who said a hoverboard had exploded in their kitchen causing more than $52,000 damage. English fire crews have also attended blazes they said were caused by battery packs or chargers that don’t have a safety cut-off function. And in the United States,
And in the United States, a Louisiana woman claimed her home was destroyed after her son’s hoverboard caught fire while charging.