Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane?

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to bring a drone on a plane. There are regulations regarding the placement and storage of batteries when bringing them on a plane. However, you can definitely bring a drone on a plane.

Hello to all you drone enthusiasts! My name is Lavelle and I am a long-time drone owner and operator. Over the past decade, I have flown several types of drones for professional and recreational purposes. I’ve also had the pleasure of traveling on planes with my drones well over a dozen times.

In this article, I will cover how to bring a drone on a plane, go over countries that require you to register your drone and countries that restrict the use of a drone, and then provide you with a few tips to consider when bringing your drone on a plane.

Key Takeaways

  • Remember to know the rules and be sure to check with TSA prior to boarding.
  • Be sure to have the appropriate travel case to protect your drone, as they are prone to be tossed around during loading.
  • Check if you have a separate travel case for your batteries as well.

Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane

The Transportation Security Administration has strict guidelines for checked luggage and for carry-on luggage. Their website states “Drones are allowed through the checkpoint. Please check with your airline for their policy.” 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also has regulations regarding bringing a drone on a plane. According to the TSA, “Drones containing lithium batteries, fuel cells, and components of certain parachute systems may be prohibited in baggage.” The TSA suggests that you go to the FAA website for more information.

Therefore, while the TSA allows you to bring your drone through their checkpoints, you have to check with your airline, prior to travel, to find out about their specific policy. You also should check your destination location for any rules they might have in place upon your arrival.

If your drone is small (.55 lbs or less), such as the DJI Mavic Mini, you can grab it and bring it on the plane with you as long as you meet the airline’s requirements for carry-on luggage. 

Most airlines allow one or two carry-on items, such as a purse or a laptop or a tablet. Your small (recreational or hobby) drone qualifies as a small electronic device. I suggest that you still have it in a travel case for safe storage while onboard the plane. 

If your drone is larger (more than .55 lbs), such as a DJI Phantom or Mavic Pro, it needs to be checked in before departure. In my experience, it is much better to check it in prior to going to the boarding gate. I have checked a larger drone in at the gate and experienced it not making it to my final destination.

The TSA seems to be most interested in drone owners not bringing dangerous goods onboard a plane, such as lithium batteries, which can explode at certain altitudes. The drone itself is basically an electronic device and is treated like other electronics such as laptops, game systems, etc.

How to Bring a Drone on a Plane: Quick Checklist

Here are some helpful tips to consider when bringing your drone on a plane.

1. Check the Flying Company Policies

First of all, check with your airline, prior to flying, regarding their specific policies about bringing your plane either onboard or by checked luggage.

2. Check the Policies of the Country You Are Traveling to

If you are having an international flight, you should know that many countries either restrict or ban drone usage. Therefore, check with the country you are traveling to know if there are any restrictions.

3. Check the Capacity of Your Batteries

Make sure that you understand what type of battery is used on your drone and what the regulations are regarding checking your batteries on your plane. In most instances, drone batteries need to be checked in as opposed to attempting to bring them on the plane.

4. Get a Proper Case

Ensure that you have a proper case for your drone. I highly suggest that you use a hard body case for your drone. You may also consider using foam cushions inside your case to further protect your drone during transport.

5. Keep the Batteries in Carry-on Bag

You can protect your lithium batteries by using a Lipo Safe Battery bag to transport your batteries. If your batteries are not in an approved travel case, they may be subject to being discarded. Also, the safe battery bags protect your batteries from extreme temperatures and fire hazards.

For International Flights: Countries That Require to Register Your Drone

Every country has its own requirement regarding bringing and using drones. Here is a list of some countries that require you to register your drone:

Canada: Transport Canada requires registration of drones weighing more than 250 grams in Canada.

Australia: In Australia, drones that weigh more than 250 grams must be registered with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) before they can be flown.

Japan: In Japan, drones that weigh more than 200 grams must be registered with the Civil Aviation Bureau before they can be flown.

European countries: In general, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has established a set of common rules for the operation of drones in Europe. The rules apply to drones that are used for non-recreational purposes.

Under these rules, you must register as a drone operator with the National Aviation Authority of the first EASA state.

For International Flights: Countries That Restrict Using Drones

In some countries, you can not use a drone at all. So it is always a good idea to check the relevant authorities in the country you are heading to. Below is a list of countries that do not allow drone use:

  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Morocco
  • Iran
  • Antarctica
  • Tunisia
  • Syria
  • Senegal
  • Nicaragua
  • Bahrain
  • North Korea
  • Madagascar
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Kuwait
  • Iraq
  • Brunei
  • Bhutan
  • Barbados
  • Algeria

Final Thoughts

When traveling, it’s important to understand the rules for taking your drone on a plane. It is also important to know about the regulations for the destinations that you are traveling to. 

Make sure you ease your travel stress by using the tips we’ve listed above. Most of all, enjoy your travels and enjoy your drone experiences!

Have you ever traveled with your drone by plane? Do you have any tips for drone owners who are going to do it the first time? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

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