Drones have become increasingly popular among hobbyists and professionals alike, and many owners want to bring their devices with them when they travel. However, taking it on a plane can be a gray area, with different rules and regulations depending on where you travel. In this article, we’ll explore the FAA and TSA regulations on planes and provide you with everything you need to know before you pack your drone in your carry-on or checked luggage.
1. Can I Take My Drone Through TSA In My Carry-On Baggage?
Yes, you can take your drone through TSA in your carry-on baggage. However, ensuring any accessories are securely packed and will not shift around during the flight is important. The TSA also requires that you remove your drone from its case or bag and place it in a separate bin for screening, similar to laptops and other large electronics.
2. Can You Bring A it On A Plane? What To Know About TSA, Packing And More
Yes, you can bring it on a plane, but checking your airline’s policy before traveling is important. The TSA allows drones to pass through security checkpoints, but it’s up to the TSA officer to determine whether an item is allowed. Those that contain lithium batteries, fuel cells, and certain components of parachute systems may be prohibited in baggage.
3. Bring Your Drone on A Plane
If you’re planning to bring your it on a plane, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure safe transport:
1. Always carry it as carry-on luggage to prevent damage and ensure the crew can deal with any issues efficiently.
2. Any spare batteries should also be transported as carry-on luggage and protected against short circuits. If the battery power rating exceeds 100Wh, you may be limited to two spares and will need airline approval before the flight. Lithium-ion batteries allowed for air transport must meet the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your batteries comply with these regulations.
3. Feel free to contact your airline and inform them that you carry it with lithium batteries, especially if you are unsure of the applicable requirements.
In the event of an incident during the flight, immediately inform the cabin crew to ensure prompt and safe resolution.
4. Flying With Them Internationally
If you plan to fly internationally with your drone, it’s important to check with your airline before traveling to ensure that they allow them on their flights. While small machines are generally allowed on international flights, there may be restrictions and regulations specific to each airline. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of any restrictions on items containing lithium batteries, fuel cells, or certain components of parachute systems, as these may be prohibited in checked baggage.
5. Traveling with A Drone: Rules Upon Arrival
When you arrive at your destination, it’s important to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding your drone. Each airline may have different rules regarding whether it can be checked in or carried on as luggage. Generally, smaller ones are more likely to be allowed as carry-on luggage, while larger ones may need to be checked in. Some airlines may not allow them to be kept in the cargo, so check with your airline before traveling is important.
6. Airline Rules Versus TSA Rules For Bringing a Drone on A Plane
While both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and individual airlines have regulations regarding bringing them on planes, it’s important to note that each airline may have different rules regarding whether you can check it or carry it on as luggage. Generally, smaller drones are more likely to be allowed as carry-on luggage, while larger ones may need to be checked in.
7. TSA Limits Flying with Drone Batteries
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific rules regarding the transportation of their batteries on planes. Those that contain lithium batteries, fuel cells, and certain components of parachute systems may be prohibited in baggage. To ensure that the battery is allowed on the plane, reviewing the FAA regulations and checking with your airline before traveling is important.
8. Taking Your Drone Through Customs
When traveling internationally, knowing the laws and regulations in the country you’re visiting is important. Most countries have a national or civil aviation authority that regulates the operation, and it’s important to check each country’s regulatory agency online to see what guidelines have been put in place.
Some countries may not allow drones at all, while others may have foreigner-specific laws that require permission from the appropriate agency before flying. Additionally, some countries may require aeronautical knowledge tests or flight proficiency demonstrations to determine your competency as a pilot.
9. Do Drones Need to Be Packed in Checked Luggage?
Depending on their size, they can be taken on a plane as carry-on luggage or checked luggage. It’s important to check with your airline before traveling to determine their specific policies regarding their transportation. However, carrying your drone with you in the cabin is generally recommended as carry-on luggage to prevent damage and ensure the crew can deal with any issues efficiently.
10. Use an Appropriate Drone Travel Bag or Case
When traveling, it’s important to pack it in an appropriate travel bag or case to ensure its protection during transport. The type of bag or case you choose will depend on the size and the accessories you need to carry with you. Shoulder bags are a common choice for smaller drones like the DJI Mavic series or Parrot Anafi, as they can be folded and fit easily in a small shoulder bag or even a regular backpack or suitcase.
Backpacks or soft shell bags are a good option for larger ones like the DJI Phantom, as they provide multiple pockets and compartments for your accessories and even personal items like a water bottle. Hardshell cases offer the most protection, but they can be bulky and not easy to travel with on a plane or train.
11. Can You Bring a Drone Through TSA?
They are allowed through TSA checkpoints, but checking with your airline before traveling for their specific policy is important. The final decision on whether it can be brought through the checkpoint rests with the TSA officer. Those containing lithium batteries, fuel cells, and components of certain parachute systems may be prohibited in baggage. It’s important to follow the guidelines set by the TSA and your airline to ensure your drone’s safe and compliant transport.
12. Packing Your Drone: Carry-On Versus Checked Luggage
When packing your them for air travel, it’s important to consider whether you will pack it in your carry-on or checked baggage. While the TSA allows drones through security checkpoints, individual airlines may set rules on whether they will accept it in your carry-on bag, in your checked baggage, or both.
13. Tips for Taking Your Drones Through TSA
It is important to note that the batteries should be placed in your carry-on baggage, not checked baggage. The FAA has special rules for flying with Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer batteries, the types of batteries. Passengers are advised to visit the FAA website to learn more about the guidelines for flying with these types of batteries.
14. What About Flying with Drone Batteries?
When flying, paying attention to the batteries is important since they contain lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries, considered hazardous materials. The TSA allows them to be brought through airport security checkpoints, but individual airlines may have rules regarding whether they can be carried on or checked. Regarding batteries, spare lithium batteries are prohibited in checked luggage, but batteries in a device are allowed. Lithium-ion batteries should be stored in carry-on baggage, and if they have 100 Wh or less, they can be packed in a plastic bag or protective pouch. In comparison, batteries with more than 100 Wh but less than 160 Wh require approval from the airline and should be stored in their original packaging, a battery case, or a separate pouch or pocket.
15. Drone Packing Tips
When traveling with a drone, following the guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and your airline is important. They can be brought through airport security checkpoints, but individual airlines may set rules on whether they will accept it in your carry-on bag, checked baggage, or both. You should also consider the type of batteries, as the TSA, FAA, and airlines have special rules for flying with lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries.
Lithium batteries, fuel cells, and components of certain parachute systems can all be classified as dangerous goods. Since lithium-ion (LIPO) batteries power most of them, you need to follow FAA hazardous materials regulations. In certain circumstances, you may be permitted to pack them in your checked baggage; however, the rules around traveling with lithium-ion batteries are clearer and easier to follow for carry-on baggage.
When packing LIPO batteries in your carry-on baggage, you’ll need to know your battery’s watt hours (Wh). If your batteries have 100 Wh or less, you can pack them using several different methods, including leaving them in their retail packaging, covering the battery terminals with tape, using a battery case, using a battery sleeve in a camera bag, or putting them snugly in a plastic bag or protective pouch. The batteries you bring must be for personal use, and you should check for any airline-specific requirements for bringing LIPO batteries onboard in your carry-on bag.
If your batteries have more than 100 Wh but less than 160 Wh, you’ll need to obtain approval from the airline to bring them onboard in your carry-on baggage. You should pack up to two spare batteries with at most 100 Wh and store batteries in their original packaging, a battery case, or a separate pouch or pocket to protect them from a short circuit.
When it comes to packing them, you have several options depending on the size. Smaller ones, like the DJI Mavic series or Parrot Anafi, can be packed in small shoulder bags or even a regular backpack or suitcase. Larger ones, such as the DJI Phantom or FPV with goggles, will require a backpack or soft shell bag with pockets and compartments for accessories. Hardshell cases provide the most protection, but can be very bulky and difficult to travel with on a plane or train.