On A Wing and Some Air

Russell Crowe doesn’t understand: Exploding Lithium Ion batteries and airplanes just don’t mix

Russell Crowe doesn’t understand: Exploding Lithium Ion batteries and airplanes just don’t mix

This past week, well known actor Russell Crowe and Virgin Australia Airlines went head to head via twitter after the airline told the actor and his family that his son could not check in his self balancing scooter called a “Hoverboard” onto the aircraft last Tuesday.

Both the Airline and Richard Branson, founder of the world wide known Virgin brand reached out to the actor and his family to explain that the reason for the ban of the hoverboard was due to safety, yet the actor said he would “never again” fly the airline.

Virgin claimed that the Segway ban is, in fact, listed in their flight rules when booking a ticket:

@rusellcrowe Hi Russell, this information is outlined in the Dangerous Goods section in the booking confirmation and check in reminder emails you will have received,” the airline noted. “We have also communicated this on Facebook and Twitter, as well as through the media. We understand your frustration, however please appreciate that safety is our number one priority.”

Airlines all over the world have banned the self balancing scooter called “the Hoverboard,” and for good reason. A simple search on google will show these new toys don’t have the best safety record. An article by CNet states points out that the US Postal service has discontinued shipping the items by air due to safety concerns. Our friends over at Wired magazine published an informative article on why these hoverboards keep exploding and catching fire: the Lithium Ion batteries used in hoverboards are low quality.  

We are all familiar with Lithium Ion batteries in our phones and high the devices, but companies like Samsung and Apple use much higher quality batteries. But this isn’t the only reason, they list defective chargers as another reason which is being cited in multiple hoverboard fires which resulted in the loss of entire homes over the recent holiday.  

When Boeing built their brand new 787 long range aircraft it was plagued for months with problems due to its lithium ion batteries catching fire. The problem with battery fires and fires in general on airplanes is that there is no where to stop, pull over, and fight the fire as you would when driving a car. There is also that pesky problem of the toxic smoke produced by lithium ion battery fires, you can’t exactly roll down the windows at 35,000 feet to let the smoke out. A recent video was shot of a hoverboard fire showing just how much fire and smoke that tiny little battery can produce.  

Even after it was explained to the actor the notification was listed in his email of his contract of carriage when purchasing a ticket, the actor still didn’t seem to understand asking why he wasn’t advised of this when booking- yet, another twitter follower was quick to point out just that:

Mr Crowe, there is a lesson here: read what you are agreeing to and you won’t make a fool of yourself on the World Wide Web. One should be so happy that safety is priority for every airline they fly.


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