Does Airport Security Require You to Remove the Drone from its Bag?

We will be discussing in this post about taking your drone through the Airport Security. You can ask us questions here!

We received a question earlier about taking one’s drone through the Airport security. The person who threw up the question owned a DJI Phantom 3 and wanted to know if it was mandatory to remove the drone from the bag while going through airport security.

While travelling with a drone, there could be different possibilities.

Keep in mind that you can take a drone with you through airport security while travelling in the United States. The TSA’s website articulates that drones can be carried through the checkpoint but the airline has to be contacted to get to know their policy regarding drone carriage.

Having said that, the answer to the part of the question where the removal of drone from the bag is involved, becomes ambiguous.

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The TSA makes it mandatory to remove electronic stuff such as laptops and printers from bags but it we are uncertain whether drone falls in the category of large electronic items or it is similar to small electronic stuff such as smartphones which need not be removed. More often than not, passengers are even asked by TSA to remove books from the bags while passing through checkpoints.

We believe that all of this depends on the person who is doing the inspection and may vary from one airport to another.

We were travelling this summer in Canada as part of our trip to the Arctic Circle with Quark Expeditions. The person doing the inspection at the airport in Edmonton, Canada, asked us not to remove the drone from its bag. However, the security personnel at Calgary, Canada, checked in on our bags.

We would advise you to enquire of the screener whether you need to remove your drone from the bag or not.

Inspection procedures tend to be different from one place to another so it is prudent to politely ask the inspector so that the line is not slowed down and it could also help you avoid having your bag checked again and again.

It is important to remember that drones are allowed by TSA but there are certain airlines that may prohibit drones. You can check on your airline’s website to get to know whether they are allowing drones onboard or not.

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Another important aspect to keep in mind is that restrictions are in place on flying with batteries. Every passenger is allowed a maximum of three batteries at a time. You can give your travel companion the additional ones if you feel like travelling with more than three batteries. The batteries should remain below 100 watt hours per battery and a specific airline approval needs to be acquired if they exceed this limit. You can consult your drone’s instruction manual to check your battery’s watt hours. Here is a comprehensive description of airline battery rules.

Keep in mind that all of this information is relevant to travelling within the US. International travel has its own restrictions. There have been reports of drones getting detained and travelers getting informed to leave their machines at the customs and asked to get them back as they return.

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