Can I take my electric bike on an airplane?

No. Taking your electric bike on an airplane is usually not possible due to regulations regarding fying with batteries.

You cannot take lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of over 160-watt hours or wet batteries over 100 watt-hours on aircraft. Furthermore, you may only take lithium-ion batteries of between 101-160 watt-hours with airline approval.
Most bicycle batteries are 300 watt-hours or more. 

On the other hand, if you have a tiny eBike battery (100 watt-hours or less) you should be able to take it on aircraft without a problem.

Several airlines have implemented a blanket ban on carrying larger Lithium batteries in checked luggage.

To calculate watt hours use the formula:

  • Watt hours (Wh) = Volts (V) x Amp hour (Ah)
  • or for milliamp hours Wh = V x (mAh ÷ 1000)

If you do decide to take your electric bike on an airplane:

Bike Transport Bags
Good protection for your bike.

Different airport staff will interpret regulations differently. As a result, even if you have taken all reasonable precautions to check that your batteries meet aviation and airline regulations you may be told at check-in or security that your batteries cannot be carried.  For this reason, it is wise to have a contingency plan in case your battery is not permitted onboard.
Before heading to the airport:

  • Check with your airline for the latest regulations.
  • Check your battery complies with the current airline and FAA regulations.
  • Either leave the battery installed on your electric bicycle or pack it carefully in hand luggage.
  • Pack the battery with a 50 percent charge to minimise the risk of fire.
  • Carefully check general airline requirements for carrying bicycles (packing requirements, weight and size limits). Most airlines provide detailed requirements for how you should pack your bike.
  • Allow several hours to deal with check-in and security complications.
The danger of carrying Lithium-Ion batteries on aircraft is real. An amazing one lithium-ion battery fire happens on an aircraft every 10 days. What is more, lithium-ion batteries look to be the root cause of three aircraft crashes.  For this reason, a few airlines now carry special heatproof gloves and equipment for handling lithium-ion batteries that have caught fire in flight.

In response, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned airlines that fires from lithium batteries have the potential to bring down airliners. Onboard fire extinguishers are not up to the task of extinguishing the very hot fires that occur when Lithium-Ion batteries catch fire.

The FAA is expected to announce new regulations for flying with lithium batteries in 2018.

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