How to transport a drone in an airplane?
Planning to fly abroad with a drone in the near future? You're wondering, how to safely transport a drone on an airplane? Then you're in the right place. In this article, we will show you practical guidelines for transporting your drone. We will point out that depending on the airline and a country's regulations may differ, and traveling with drones is actually easy if you follow a few simple tips.
Drone on a plane. Can it be carried in hand luggage?
The drone is subject to very similar rules as other electronic equipment such as cameras. It is best to carry the drone in your carry-on luggage, as this allows you to better control over its security. Ensure that the device is protected against accidental activation and damage. In addition, it is recommended that additional batteries are secured in a special lipo bag which protects in the event of a short circuit - but more about that later in the article.
How to carry a drone on an airplane?
Before you leave, check whether using a drone in the place you are going will be possible. In certain countries, the use of a drone is completely prohibited and it can be confiscated by customs officials. You can read more about it in our article ,,Flying a drone abroad. Regulations and guidelines". For international travel or strict security regulations, it is possible that your drone will be scanned at the airport. Be prepared to possibly hand over your drone for security screening.
Before the trip prepare the drone properly for transport. Turn it off and secure all moving parts, such as propellers or the gimbal. Embrace the drone with special protections, such as a gimbal cover or a waterproof, hard case. You can also use foam or soft material to wrap the drone to minimize the risk of damage during transportation.
If you are taking the BSP with you in your carry-on luggage, placing it in a secure case, pouch, or packaging will provide adequate protection. The batteries should be secured in a special Li-Po bag. If you choose to ship your drone via checked baggage, be sure to remove the batteries beforehand, as in most cases the batteries must be carried in carry-on baggage. Pack any items that may be considered dangerous, such as screwdrivers, in your checked baggage.
Pay attention to the requirements for transporting drones by specific airlines, on which you will travel. We will provide more details on this subject later in the article, using the most popular airlines in Poland as an example. If you plan to fly with an airline not mentioned in the article, consult or get information from the respective carrier's website.
How to carry drone batteries on a plane?
In accordance with airline regulations, lithium-polymer (LiPo) batteries should be carried in carry-on luggage, and not in checked baggage. The rule may differ in particular from the chosen airline. Secure it in a separate, non-conductive package, to avoid accidental short circuit.
For lithium-polymer batteries, special bags are available to help reduce the spread of fire in the event of a battery short circuit or spontaneous ignition. We are advised to use lipo bags for extra safety during travel. Be prepared for the fact that airport staff may ask you to open the Bag and do additional checking.
First of all, check what kind of battery your device has. For drones that are powered by lithium-ion/lithium-polymer batteries with a capacity of 100 Wh or less, it is allowed to be carried in both carry-on and checked baggage, while for capacity greater than 100 Wh and not exceeding 160 Wh approval of the airline operator is additionally required.
You can transport batteries for regular, popular drones with peace of mind. For example - the battery for the DJI Mini 3 has 18.1 Wh, and the larger DJI Mavic 3 Pro has 77 Wh. Only drone batteries for specialty applications such as the Matrice 200/ 300/ 30 have capacities exceeding 160 Wh. To read and convert the capacity from mAh to Wh, the following equation can be used:
Wh = (mAh * V) / 1000
- Wh - capacity expressed in watt-hours
- mAh - capacity expressed in milliampere hours
- V - voltage expressed in volts
The most popular airlines in Poland and their guidelines
Below you will see the guidelines of the most popular airlines operating in Poland, which can be useful when traveling by plane.
Ryanair - can drones be carried?
Drones powered by a lithium battery can be carried on board an aircraft, provided that the battery power does not exceed 160 Wh. If the battery power exceeds this value, the device will not be allowed on board the aircraft.
In the case of Ryanair, batteries for the drone can be carried only in hand luggage in the amount provided for personal use. A maximum of 15 personal electronic devices and 20 lithium batteries per passenger can be carried on a single flight. They should be protected from short-circuiting - battery terminals should be protected or closed to avoid contact with metal objects, including terminals of other batteries.
It is worth visiting the site Ryanair before the flight to stay up to date.
Batteries for the drone o capacities up to 100 Wh may be carried only in hand luggage, in number up to 20 spare batteries. It is important that such batteries are adequately protected against the possibility of a short circuit.
For batteries with a capacity of 100Wh to 160 Wh, you can carry a maximum of 2 batteries in hand luggage with the approval of the carrier. It is important that each battery is individually protected.
In order to carry a drone in checked baggage, the following is required permission from the LOT airline. To do this, contact the service. Drones stored in checked baggage must be completely deactivated and care must be taken to properly secure them to avoid damage. In addition, the consent of the carrier is required.
Wizzair - drone in hand luggage: Is carriage possible?
The airline Wizzair on Jan. 9, 2023, announced on its Twitter account that the carriage of drones is not allowed. This is also found on their website Can I bring my drone/hoverboard with me? - "No, unfortunately, for security reasons, you are not allowed to take such devices either on board or carry them in checked baggage." Such information was also obtained in the chat room.
For Lufthansa airlines, carrying a drone is possible in both carry-on and checked baggage. However, if you're broadcasting your drone, you'll need to remove the batteries (up to 100 Wh) and take them with you in your hand luggage. It is worth remembering that both the devices in checked baggage and the batteries must be completely turned off and secured before damage. Each person is limited to a maximum of 20 spare batteries.
For devices from 100 Wh to 160Wh, it is possible to carry only in hand luggage with the consent of the carrier. It is forbidden to carry batteries over 160 Wh.
It is worth visiting the site Lufthansa before the flight to stay up to date.
KLM airlines allow you to carry up to 15 electronic devices with a lithium battery with a capacity of up to 100 Wh. In your carry-on luggage, you can take to 20 spare lithium batteries with a capacity of up to 100 Wh. It is important that all these devices are completely turned off. If you want to transport a device with a lithium battery with a capacity of up to 160 Wh, it is necessary to submit an application for a special permit. Note that batteries with more than 160 Wh are not allowed.
Spare lithium batteries are accepted only in hand luggage. Before traveling, make sure to pack your devices properly to protect them from possible damage. It is important that none of them are damaged or defective.
It is worth visiting the site KLM before the flight to stay up to date.
You can carry up to 20 drone batteries of up to 100 Wh in your carry-on luggage. It is not allowed to send them in checked baggage. Remember that all these devices must be completely disabled while traveling. You can ship your drone in your checked baggage, but be sure to remove the batteries from it.
For spare lithium-ion batteries, with a capacity between 100 Wh and 160 Wh, special regulations apply. Each person may carry a maximum of two such batteries, that are allowed in carry-on luggage only. Before the trip, it is necessary to obtain the relevant approvals from the carrier to transport such batteries.
To keep up to date it is worth visiting the website Norwegian before the trip.
When traveling by air with a drone, follow the rules and regulations listed above. Zake familiar with airline and destination country guidelines, as regulations may differ. Mostly the drone is better to carry in your carry-on luggage, to keep it under control and minimize the risk of damage. For batteries, pay attention to capacity and quantity limits, depending on the airline. Protect your drone from damage during transport and enjoy the flight!