ATW Editor's Blog

Actor Crowe, surprised by airline hoverboard ban, may be a good thing

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Australian actor Russell Crowe is in the news this Christmas week after getting in a huff because he was not allowed to take check in his sons’ hoverboards when they arrived for a Virgin Australia flight.

According to multiple news reports, Crowe was told of the ban on carriage of hoverboards – the hot (literally) Christmas gift of 2015 – when he arrived at the airport check-in desk. Lots of airlines have banned hoverboards because of instances of them catching fire, likely related to their powerful lithium batteries.

IATA execs briefed journalists on the subject earlier in December, saying that some airlines had reported fumes and small fire incidents related to hoverboards and, understandably, there is growing concern. IATA is developing guidelines on how to manage the problem.

While I can understand Crowe’s surprise, it was unfair of him to use his name and Tweet disparaging things about the airline, knowing it would go global. The airline responded well, with polite and apologetic Tweets, making clear that safety is the top priority. Even if he knew nothing about the fire reports related to hoverboards or the airline bans, the proper and gracious thing to have done was to have expressed surprise and maybe asked for assistance in getting the toys shipped by other means.

However, the thought also occurs to me that Crowe has done the airline industry and the traveling public a huge favor, albeit inadvertently. By Tweeting his displeasure, he has brought attention to the fact that many airlines have banned hoverboards from their aircraft. That may prevent a lot of hassles for passengers and airlines alike. So, good on ya Russ 

Meanwhile, take note. If Santa delivered a hoverboard to your home this Christmas, leave it at home if you plan to fly. (And you might want to leave it in a fireproof box at the bottom of the yard…)

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