can you bring a drone on a plane

Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane? Things you SHOULD know

Drones have been around for years, but with the boom in quadcopters and other commercial models, many people are wondering whether they can take their drone on an airplane. In this blog you will know, can you bring a drone on a plane and everything related to it.

The short answer is yes, but you should know about the various FAA rules and airline policies and guidelines before you decide to bring it on your next flight. For international flights, you need to check the rules of bringing a drone on a plane of that other country.

Here’s what you need to know about whether you can bring a drone on an airplane, and some of the most important things to remember when traveling with your drone or quadcopter.

Table of Contents

What is the legal definition of a drone?

Any aircraft or unmanned vehicle that is controlled remotely. This includes everything from large military-style drones to small toys. Even balloons, kites and model planes are considered drones in FAA guidelines. Legally, anything that isn’t an airplane or helicopter falls under FAA regulations governing model aircraft. 

This means they must be flown within line of sight of their operator, at altitudes below 400 feet and speeds below 100 mph. In other words, you can fly your drone around your backyard but not over downtown New York City, unless you get permission from air traffic control.

Will your flight be domestic or international

Flying your drone via domestic or international flights is slightly different, depending on which airline you choose. Here’s what you need to know to have your drone onboard, either way. 

If you are flying your drone via domestic or international flights, you’ll need to check with your airline before bringing it onboard. Most major airlines will not allow drones in checked bags, but will allow them to be transported as carry-on luggage. Drones should be stored in their original packaging when carrying them aboard. 

While most airlines won’t let you take a drone out of its case while onboard, they do require that all batteries and propellers are removed from their device. Some may even ask that you remove any additional accessories such as camera mounts. 

If you have any questions about whether your specific device is allowed on board an aircraft operated by your chosen airline, contact customer service directly for more information.

Is it big enough to be a threat?

To answer that question, you need to know how big your drone is and what it’s made of. For instance, can you bring a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ or Parrot Bebop, both of which are small and light enough to fit in an overhead bin. 

What about if you have a larger drone, like a DJI Inspire 1 or 3DR Solo? They might not fit in your carry-on bag, but they also aren’t likely to cause any problems if they get loose during flight. 

Just remember, if you do decide to take your drone on board, make sure it fits within whatever size limits apply for carry-ons. For a starter, check out TSA guidelines. You also need to see the guideline of FAA regarding the drone. 

How many batteries does it have?

While flying, you will want to make sure that your drone has extra batteries. Since your drone will most likely use up its power quickly with all of those fancy features and flight time and especially if you are taking long distance flights, it is best to have extra batteries. 

This way, you can swap out in between flights without having to land and lose some of that precious time!

Drones with more flight time tend to have larger and heavier batteries, which can make them cumbersome. 

However, longer flight times are also helpful for long distance flights. 

The two main types of batteries that you will find in drones are lithium polymer and lithium ion batteries. Lithium polymer is lighter than lithium-ion, but it may need to be charged more often, while lithium-ion lasts longer but weighs more. 

If you plan on using your drone frequently, then it might be best to invest in a higher quality battery. 

If not, then there’s no need to spend too much money! It’s always good to have extra batteries around, just in case your first one runs out of power before you get back home.

It’s important to check if your drone comes with spare batteries or if they can be purchased separately because some drones don’t come with any spares at all!

Can you take drone batteries on a plane?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has taken some heat for how they handle firearms and ammunition, so it’s no surprise that they also have different rules regarding drones. 

These regulations change frequently. Before you leave home, check out current rules to make sure you aren’t bringing anything on board that shouldn’t be there. You can find more detailed information at

For your convenience, a screenshot is attached to this blog below.

TSA website

Before you get to your gate, check in with airport personnel. They will have a list of any prohibited items and may not allow your drone past security if it’s on their no-fly list.  

If your drone is too big to fit into a carry-on bag, make sure you know how you’ll transport it from point A to point B. 

Many airports offer lockers for travelers who need to store bags or other items while they fly. If lockers aren’t available, consider renting space in an offsite storage facility.

There are different policies of FAA and TSA regarding drone batteries. According to FAA’s hazardous materials policies, drones with a lithium battery can be either in checked-in baggage or carry-on. Extra lithium batteries are only allowed for carry-on baggage and may still have restrictions.

There are some notable aspects with it.

  • If the battery is 100-watt hours or less then there will not be any limitation on the numbers of batteries that you can bring.
  • When batteries are more than 100-watt hours to 160-watt hours then the permission is granted to carry it only in carry-on baggage subject to the airline’s approval, yet there will be a limit of 2 batteries.
  • The battery needs to be for personal use only not for business or distribution purpose.
  • Packing the batteries well essential to avoid short-circuiting.
  • The exposed terminals needs to be covered by tapes so that it remains unexposed to the other materials.
  • Keeping the original packaging is advisable.

These are only rules based on TSA and FAA. You can not skip checking the airline’s policy before packing for your trip.

Are there any sharp parts that could damage the airplane seats

Yes, that’s why it’s a good idea to remove props and blades before you fly. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn’t allow flying an aircraft while transporting hazardous materials, so your best bet is to carry them as carry-on luggage. 

If you want to bring your drone onboard as checked baggage, make sure you can prove that it can be safely stowed during flight, the FAA recommends using hard cases and cushioning material when necessary. 

Also, keep in mind that most airlines have weight restrictions for checked bags, so if your drone weighs more than 50 pounds or 55 pounds depending on its size, it might not be allowed onboard. 

If you’re flying with a small toy drone, however, you should be able to bring it as carry on luggage without any problems. 

Are there any sharp parts that could damage other passengers? No, if anything, you should worry about hurting yourself when your drone crashes! 

As long as you take care to avoid other people and objects while flying and follow FAA regulations, there shouldn’t be any issues with damaging anyone else’s property.

Do you need to register your drone when you are traveling?

The short answer is no, you do not need to register your drone when traveling with it. The FAA has issued statements making it clear that people are responsible for following local laws and restrictions while they are flying their drones. 

It is your responsibility to know what these laws are, and if they exist, you need to abide by them. This means making sure you never fly your drone over a military base, government facility, prison or any other place where it would be prohibited.

But being a hobbyist, when you purchase a drone you need to register it according to the regulation of the FAA. The policy of FAA is pretty clear to understand. You can check out there register drone webpage to know more about it.

So, yes, after purchase you need to register your drone, but it is not something you need to do each time you travel along with it.

Could it fall and injure someone if it falls from above?

The last thing you want to do is give your drone to an overzealous security officer and see it confiscated. 

In most cases, it’s better to leave your drone at home. Many airports will have restricted areas for drones even if they aren’t specifically mentioned in their list of prohibited items. 

If that’s true for your airport, then there’s no sense in bringing it with you on your trip. It’s also worth noting that many airlines are starting to ban drones from flights altogether. If you plan on flying with your drone, call ahead and make sure it won’t be an issue.

Some places like Disney World require special permission to fly, so always check first before attempting to take off.

Why there are such restrictions? Well, there could be several reasons for it.

If it might interfere with air traffic

There’s not much room for error when you’re traveling hundreds of miles per hour through busy airspace. If something goes wrong mid-flight and your drone falls out of control into another plane or near an airport runway, people could get hurt or killed. 

It may be tempting to fly your drone during takeoff or landing, but don’t do it. It’s illegal in most places, and even if there aren’t any immediate consequences, you can still face fines from law enforcement later on.

If you have no idea how to fly one

Flying drones is pretty easy once you get used to them, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should take off just because they feel like it. 

In fact, there are some places where flying drones are completely banned, and others where you need special permission before taking flight. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then it’s probably best to leave your drone at home or at least ask someone who does if it’s okay to fly near an airport or over people. 

If you’re not sure about its battery life

While most modern drones can stay in flight for around 20 minutes or more, it’s still important to keep an eye on your battery life when planning a trip. 

Many drones will alert you when they’re getting low on power. But if yours doesn’t have any of these features, or you don’t notice until it’s too late, then you could find yourself with a dead drone mid-flight. 

If your drone isn’t waterproof

Drones aren’t all created equal, some are built for indoor use only, while others are made to withstand rain and snow. 

It’s important to check your manual and make sure that your drone is ready for whatever kind of weather you might encounter during your trip. 

If you don’t want anyone else using it

Most drones come with passwords or other security measures designed to protect their owners from theft. These days, many also come equipped with GPS trackers, so you can locate them if they go missing. 

However, these features won’t do you much good if your drone ends up somewhere far away from home. Always lock down your drone so nobody else can use it without your permission. 

If you plan on bringing accessories

There are plenty of great add-ons available for almost every model of drone out there, but those accessories won’t do you much good if they end up lost or broken during transit. 

Before leaving home, make sure everything is packed safely inside your carry-on bag. 

That way, you’ll be able to enjoy it later on instead of worrying about how to replace something that got damaged or lost during travel.

Can we carry drone in international flight?

As drones have become increasingly popular, so too has public interest in their use. And as people are flying more frequently, it’s no surprise that people want to know, “Can I bring my drone on an airplane?” 

The short answer is yes, but there are some important limitations and considerations that you should know about before you board your flight with your beloved drone in tow.  

At first, you need to know about your destination country’s rules and regulations regarding the drones. There are some countries in which this is absolutely prohibited, and there are some that requires registration before you reach there with your drone.

Then, you must need to know the policies of the airlines.

How do we get a drone through airport security?

In order to take your drone onto an airplane, you will first need to pass through airport security.

At many airports, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers will be stationed at checkpoints specifically for screening carry-on items like drones. 

When going through these checkpoints, TSA officials may ask you questions regarding your plans for traveling with a drone.

These questions can include where you purchased your drone, how much it cost, and whether or not you built it yourself. It’s best to be honest when answering these questions because lying could lead to complications later on in the screening process. If you don’t feel comfortable telling TSA agents about your drone, then consider leaving it behind. 

If you do choose to travel with your drone, make sure to remove any batteries from its battery compartment. Leaving batteries inside a device is one of the most common reasons why devices trigger alarms during security screenings. 

What are some exceptions made by airlines for people who want to fly their drones in-flight

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations permit certain small drones to be packed in checked luggage. This is not guaranteed, and TSA may still decide to physically inspect your bag. If they do, you’ll need to remove your drone before showing it to them. 

They won’t fly it for you. Also, even if TSA does let you pack your drone in checked baggage, that doesn’t mean every airline will allow it, it depends on their own policies and restrictions. So check with your airline ahead of time to make sure flying a drone as carry-on or checked baggage is an option for you. 

If you plan to bring your drone on board, make sure it fits within FAA guidelines.

For more information about traveling with drones, you can visit FAA website to know how to get started with your drone. 

How to pack your drone for air travel

One of today’s most common questions asked among drone owners is can I bring my drone on an airplane. With drones ranging in price from $5,000 to well over $1 million, it is not hard to see why many would be worried about taking their pricey quadcopter onto an aircraft. 

However, it is far less risky than you might think and with a little precaution and planning before you travel, it is entirely possible to take your drone with you wherever you go. 

So how do you know if it is safe to fly your drone on a plane? 

Well that depends on where you are flying and what type of drone you have. For instance, if you are flying domestically within the United States, then there are no restrictions placed upon carrying your quadcopter as long as it fits into your carry-on luggage or backpack.

However, if you plan to take your drone abroad, then things become slightly more complicated. The TSA and FAA are responsible for implementing any rules around flying drones on airplanes and as such they have different restrictions depending upon where you are going. 

However, if you want to travel with your drone outside of Europe then things get a little trickier. So, it is crucial to understand why we need to look at what each country has implemented when it comes to carrying consumer drones onto an aircraft. 

Some reminders while traveling with a drone

If you plan to fly your drone while traveling, keep in mind that there are restrictions when bringing drones with you. 

Make sure to research what is and isn’t allowed before packing up for your next trip. Many airlines are starting to allow drones to be packed in checked luggage, but each airline has its own rules, so make sure to contact yours before flying with your drone. 

In addition, remember that most airports have restrictions on where you can fly within their boundaries, even if it’s just to take pictures. 

While it may seem like fun at first, remember that airports are full of people who don’t want drones buzzing around them! 

So, think twice before taking off near an airport or any other heavily populated area. This will help ensure that everyone stays safe and enjoys their travels!

Some essential drone travel tips

Bringing your drone with you when you fly isn’t always easy, but it can be done. 

For starters, make sure you know exactly what your airline’s policy is regarding personal drones. Many airlines ban all types of unmanned aircraft, so check before you go to avoid any surprises at security or while boarding. Once you have that information in hand, here are some tips for flying with your drone If possible.

Ship your drone instead of carrying it onto a plane. 

Shipping your drone will save you time and money and prevent any accidents during travel. If shipping isn’t an option, then plan ahead by packing and preparing your drone as early as possible. 

Packing extra batteries for your drone

Pack extra batteries if necessary and keep them stored safely until they’re needed during flight; don’t forget to charge them fully before departure! 

Checking the laws

Check local laws about drone use. Even if your destination doesn’t explicitly ban drones, there may be regulations about where you can fly. It’s best to do your research beforehand, so you aren’t left surprized once you arrive at your destination. 

Buy suitable insurance for your drone

Consider buying insurance for your drone. While most major airlines allow travelers to bring their drones onboard if they follow certain rules, many carriers won’t cover damaged or lost equipment even if it’s accidental damage caused by another passenger! 

As such, it might be wise to purchase insurance from a third-party provider. The cost of coverage depends on several factors, including whether you want full replacement value or just compensation for repairs. 

Some providers also offer coverage for delays, cancellations, and loss of income due to delayed flights which can help ensure you get back home safe and sound after your trip. 

Before purchasing drone insurance from any provider, read reviews online first. 

Make sure you understand what each policy covers before deciding which one is right for you.  Be aware of FAA regulations. 

Know the flying limit

Drones must weigh less than 55 pounds and must remain within visual line-of-sight at all times. They cannot be flown over 400 feet above ground level, near airports or air traffic areas, or over people who aren’t involved in operating them. 

In addition, drones cannot be used for commercial purposes without special authorization from the FAA. Always ask permission before taking off and be aware of your surroundings at all times. 

You need to be careful

Don’t fly too close to other people or property or try to take photos or videos without permission from others nearby. And never let children operate a drone unsupervised, even if it has safety features like geofencing capabilities.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can I take a small drone on an airplane?

Yes, you can bring your drone on an airplane. However, there are some regulations that need to be taken into consideration before your trip. First, check with your airline before flying your drone to see if they have any specific rules regarding where or how you can fly it within their facilities or during boarding or landing. Some airlines will only allow small drones to be flown in designated areas. If possible, plan ahead and leave enough time for security screening, so you don’t miss your flight!

Can you bring a drone on American Airlines?

Yes, you can bring your drone with you when flying with American Airlines. However, some specific restrictions apply, the drone box has to be less than 22”x14”x9” or 56x36x23 in centimeters. Also, the battery of the drone has to be at most 160-watt-hours it can not exceed this range.

Can I take my mavic mini on a plane?

Yes, you can bring your mavic mini drone with you when flying. In that case, it needs to be packed in its original packaging. If possible, let air traffic control know about your intentions beforehand and fly no higher than 400 feet within 5 miles of an airport. You can take it and all the accessories with your carry on luggage if there is no issue about it with your airlines.

Final thoughts on traveling with a drone

Drones are incredible little pieces of technology. It’s no wonder that enthusiasts want to take them with them wherever they go, but if you’re traveling by plane, you may be wondering can you bring a drone on a plane? 

Fortunately, most drones can be brought onto planes without much trouble as long as you adhere to FAA regulations and check with your airline first to make sure there are no restrictions. And don’t forget about security! If you’re flying out of an airport that requires TSA screening, you’ll need to remove your drone from its case and let it undergo screening before boarding. If your flight doesn’t require TSA screening, however, simply pack up your drone in its case before heading through security.

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