Summer is upon us, and as the world begins to open up, the call of the open road is stronger than ever. After being confined to our respective communities for over a year, the urge to drive across multiple state lines or impulse-book the next flight that catches our eye is very real. But wait, you can’t leave without your beloved quarantine addiction, the OneWheel. For many of us, our OneWheels got us out of our houses and opened up a world of exploration that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. For many of us, they have become essential.
Driving off into the sunset with your board riding shotgun and stopping off in a number of city and rural locations is the easy choice, but road trips aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe the thought of roadside restrooms makes you queasy, and you have nightmares about running out of gas, or your butt going numb in a car seat. If you prefer the convenience of flying, or are planning a trip overseas, you will also have to plan how to take your board with you.
The first question you might have is: Can I fly with my OneWheel?
A quick internet search will pull up countless success and failure stories of OneWheel air travel experiences. The short answer is this:
-OneWheel Pint: Yes
-OneWheel Plus: Yes
-OneWheel XR: NO.
While this may seem like a major roadblock, we are lucky enough to be in a community full of creative individuals who are addicted enough to do whatever it takes to keep their boards with them. One of these people is Albert Antiquera, aka Nosediver Worldwide.
As his Instagram handle might suggest, Albert has traveled across the globe. From the Philippines and coast to coast across the USA, he has managed to take his boards with him. Albert was generous enough to share with us what he has learned after years of OneWheel travel experience:
Do not fly with an XR battery at all cost. You are asking for trouble and could face serious penalties. Pint owners, you can technically fly with your board assembled as a carry on; but your mileage may vary depending on how strict the airlines and crew are during that day. My method so far has had a 100% success rate (:::fingers crossed:::)
You should also be comfortable at taking apart and assembling your board (both XR or Pint) to travel using this method. If you are not, and are not at all interested in learning how to disassemble and put your board back together, you’re just better off ground shipping your board.
- Pelican case (I used the Pelican Air 1615 model)
- Shipping address to where you are travelling to
- Tools to disassemble and put your board back together
- Zip ties and/or TSA luggage lock for Pelican Case
- Supporting documents/ Note for TSA inspector
- Disassemble your board
- Package and ship battery etc
- Important: You can only ship batteries via ground shipping domestically or sea cargo internationally.
- Ideally ship a few days or a week before you fly out, depending on shipping times to your destination. Up to you if you want to have down time before you leave your current location or after you get to your next destination.
- For US domestic I use UPS, for travel to the Philippines I used a sea cargo service like Forex Cargo.
- You can either disassemble your battery box and just ship the battery itself, or ship the whole battery box with the BMS with it. I tend to just ship the battery itself and hold on to the battery box and BMS.
- Print supporting documents (see pictures)
- Pack up the rest of the parts into the Pelican case including supporting docs (visible)
- Important: Deflate the tire completely
- Secure Pelican case with Zip Ties with spares inside the case (for TSA). Zip ties are recommended to make sure the case doesn’t open by accident while it’s being tossed around during travel. Also, by using different color zip ties, you can tell if your case has been opened (unless they used the exact color combination you used). TSA locks could break during the stress of travel (happened to me at least once) zip ties makes sure your case doesn’t open accidentally while being tossed around.
- If you have a Pint, the controller and battery units will have to be in your carry on luggage; NOT in checked luggage.
- Fly to your destination and pick up your parts
- Assemble your board and rip!
- Repeat the process when going back or proceeding to your next destination
The Pint is technically allowed as a carry on, but be sure to run down your battery before your flight. Give yourself extra time, approach TSA with confidence, know your stuff, have proper documentation to back yourself up, and of course, be respectful.
If you’ve done your research and it's turned you off of traveling with your OneWheel, you might look into finding a rental when you arrive at your destination. With the sport expanding and becoming more popular, there are shops popping up in most major cities that will help you get your floating fix!