Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane? TSA Rules Demystified

Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane? TSA Rules Demystified

Are you a photographer who needs to fly with a drone? Well, may not necessarily be for your profession, but you could be carrying a drone just to capture the best moments of your life spent on a vacation.

Well, no doubt, you might also need to pack it as you are on a task or an assignment, and need to record long-shot visuals for the project. However, what does the TSA drone policy say? Since a drone is an electronic item powered by batteries, there could be certain issues involved with it.

If you are baffled by this question, can you bring a drone on a plane, don’t worry! We have got you covered with all the relevant aspects. There is much more than just TSA regulations. So, let’s go ahead and explore everything in detail.

TSA’s Advice: Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane?

As per the TSA drone policy, you are allowed to bring it on a plane. It can be packed in your carry-on and/or checked luggage.

are allowed to bring it on a plane

However, the TSA advises you to take a look at certain crucial instructions issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is in charge of managing the operations of civil aviation in the USA.

As per the FAA, drones are allowed on planes, provided, they have been permitted by your airline. Hence, it is your task to confirm all the relevant details and familiarize yourself with the guidelines defined by your airline for flying with drones.

Well, there is a reason behind the same. A drone could contain dangerous items or goods such as lithium-ion batteries. Moreover, some parachute drone systems may also contain pyrotechnics, CO2 cartridges, or lithium batteries, which have the probability of catching fire or getting exploded. Hence, it could lead to disastrous consequences.

The FAA also recommends you to completely study the operating manual of the drone or consult its manufacturer before packing it in your bag.

Important Points to Remember

Well, if your airline permits you to bring a drone in your hand luggage, you are required to take it out, along with other electronic items such as a PC, from your bag, and keep it in a separate bin for X-ray screening.

There could also be a chance that drones are allowed in checked bags by your airline. However, you are strongly recommended to pack such an expensive item in your hand luggage, if allowed, otherwise, there will be a risk of theft or damage in the checked bag. If there is no option then you may consider packing it in your checked bag.

Can I Bring a Drone on a Plane in a Carry-on Bag?

There are no restrictions defined by the TSA. In fact, such security rules are broadly governed by the FAA, according to which, as long as you follow the drone policy set by your airline, you are good to go with it on a flight.

Well, this is really important because drones could contain lithium-ion batteries and other dangerous items, which may be prohibited by your airline on its flights.

Can I Bring a Drone on a Plane in a Carry-on Bag

All the airlines have different policies regarding batteries. Some allow batteries up to 100 Watt-hour and they need to be packed in a cabin bag, while other airlines may have defined their own restrictions.

Similarly, there could be rules about stowing your drone and batteries under the seat in front of you on an aircraft, while you may find a different set of instructions from any other airline. You will also get to see such a guideline that if the size of your drone is as per the carry-on size limit set by your airline, you can take it on board.

Anyways, as a general TSA rule, you are not allowed to pack spare batteries in your checked baggage. They are allowed to be taken in carry-on bags or hand luggage only. While packing batteries, make sure to keep the terminals covered so as to prevent short-circuiting. It’s fine if the drone is in its original packaging. You are also advised not to take the fully charged batteries.

If your airline allows you to take it in a carry-on bag, you need to take it out, along with other electronics such as a laptop, from your bag for a separate screening at the TSA security checkpoint.

Can You Take a Drone on an International Flight?

The TSA drone policy remains the same whether you wish to bring a drone on an international flight. You are recommended to collect details about the rules established by your airline by contacting its backend team.

Can You Take a Drone on an International Flight

You can also browse through the website of your airline. In fact, asking a query through Twitter is the most convenient option nowadays. You can write your question in a tweet and tag the handle of your airline to get a response or to seek guidance from them.

Apart from this, it is mandatory for you to stay informed about the rules set by your destination country. If your products are confiscated at the customs department, you will end up facing disappointment.

Can You Bring Drones on a Plane in Checked Baggage?

It is again about taking a drone on a plane in your checked baggage, as per the guidelines issued by your airline. Even if you are permitted for the same, please be mindful that spare or loose batteries need to go in your carry-on bag only.

They are not allowed in a checked bag due to the risk of catching fire. Also, you need to keep the terminals of batteries covered properly in a carry-on bag.

Can You Bring Drones on a Plane in Checked Baggage

On the other hand, passengers are not advised to pack such an expensive product in their checked bag or suitcase. No wonder, a huge risk of bags getting stolen or items inside getting damaged, is associated with the same.

Your bag could be managed by a careless handler who just roughly throws it and thus, it damages your belongings packed inside. Many passengers have reported such cases in the past that their drones were stolen.

Well, if you believe there is no way other than to pack your drone in a checked bag only, you can proceed with it. But, also make sure to be aware of the rules defined by the country you are visiting, if it is an international travel.

Bottom Lines

This is how we reflected upon a query that bothered you, can you carry a drone on a plane? So, the FAA and the TSA certainly have no issues with passengers carrying drones in their cabin bags or checked luggage.

It’s just that you should abide by what your airline has defined in this regard. Since drones could contain lithium batteries and other dangerous goods, your airline might have mentioned its own limitations or restrictions.

Therefore, whether you visit a domestic or an international location, proceed as per the drone policy set by your airline. But, don’t also forget to collect complete details about the laws or instructions set by your destination country for the same. We hope your drone also flies well after you fly down to your destination. Wish you a safe journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions asked by travellers on can you bring a drone on a plane? Make sure to take a quick look so as to make a well-informed decision before travelling.

Can you take a drone on an airplane?

The TSA allows you to take a drone on a plane. However, it advises you to go through the instructions issued by the FAA, which says that drones must be taken in your hand luggage or checked baggage only in compliance with the guidelines issued by your airline.

Are drones allowed on planes in carry-ons?

A drone can be taken in a carry-on only if it is allowed by the airline you choose to travel with. Also, if it can be packed in a carry-on, you are required to take it out and keep it in a separate bin for X-ray screening at the TSA security checkpoint.

Can you fly with a drone packed in your checked baggage?

Yes, a drone is permitted to be packed in your checked bag, provided the same has been allowed by your airline. All the airlines have set their own rules. However, you are recommended to pack such a costly product in your cabin bag, if allowed by your airline. Packing in a checked bag could be unfavorable due to the chances of theft or damage during transfers.

Can I take my DJI Mini 3 Pro on a plane?

Yes, you can take your DJI Mini 3 Pro on a plane. If the same has been allowed by your airline, the TSA doesn’t have any restrictions. Also, keep in mind to gather information about the rules set by your destination country if you are travelling with it to a foreign location.


    Early Bright
  • For those who have travelled with a drone, did you keep it in your carry-on or check it in? Any thoughts on the safest way to transport it during a flight?
  • Ada Newman
  • Do different countries have varying rules about bringing drones on planes? I'll be travelling internationally and want to make sure I comply with all regulations.

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