Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane?

Traveling with a drone is not an easy task as there are many rules to respect, even more, if you travel by airplane. Among the most popular questions we get asked there are: can you bring a drone on a plane? Are drones allowed on planes? Can you take a DJI Mavic or DJI Phantom on a plane? Here we’re going to answer exactly this!

can you bring a drone on a plane
Can you bring a drone on a plane?

With this guide, I’ve collected the most important policies and rules that need to be followed if you want to bring your drone on a plane.

As you’ll see, often the term drone is not even mentioned on their websites, rules or policies – but almost all the time there’s a lithium battery regulation that applies also to personal electronic devices.

I’ll try to keep this guide updated (together with the carry on guide) and if you have any suggestions or spot any errors just leave a comment below. Of course, it’s always highly recommended to directly contact the airline before departing to avoid any issues.

I’ve grouped the rules and policies of airlines in alphabetic order so you can easily find them and use it as a reference.

Airlines Drone Rules and Policies

Tip: click the navigation link to jump to the specific airline section below

TSA Drone Rules

The Transportation Security Administration outlines that drones are considered portable electronic devices with lithium batteries and that the allowance is determined on the watt-hour rating of the batteries.

Up to 100Wh, the batteries are allowed both as checked or carry-on baggage
Over 100Wh up to 160Wh airline approval is required
Over 160Wh is forbidden to be carried on the airplane

TSA also recommends checking directly your airline’s rules if drones are allowed on the aircraft.

AirAsia Drone Policy

AirAsia doesn’t mention any drone policy on its website and also doesn’t have a clear policy regarding lithium batteries on their website.

The only related topic is concerning transportation devices such as hoverboards, which are totally forbidden.

Air France Drone Policy

Air France is very clear with their drone policy – they accept Electronic devices with batteries up to 100Wh. If the batteries are contained in the device they are allowed as hand luggage and checked baggage.

While additional replacement batteries need to be carried with you in the hand baggage and are not allowed in the checked baggage.

Air India Drone Policy

Air India doesn’t exactly clarify the drone policy and also the battery policy isn’t clear.
They state on one page that battery cells in any electronic devices are allowed, while spare batteries may be removed if carried with your hand luggage. Therefore they suggest to carry them in the checked baggage.

But, on another PDF document on their website they state the following: PED (Portable Electronic Devices) are allowed as checked and hand luggage if the lithium battery doesn’t exceed 100Wh without approval. Between 100Wh-160Wh, they are again allowed as checked or hand luggage prior approval. While over 160Wh they are forbidden in all cases.

American Airlines Drone Policy

American Airlines allows to bring drones on board if the battery doesn’t exceed 160Wh, additionally, if carried on, it needs to be (or the box in which it is contained) max. 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

If you’re looking for more details on American Airlines and more specifically:

  • What can I carry on American Airlines?
  • What is allowed in carry on baggage?
  • Can a backpack be a personal item on American Airlines?

I’ve answered all these questions on my guide carry on luggage rules by airlines – make sure to check it out!

British Airways Drone Policy

British Airways states that you can generally take electronic devices in your hand luggage or checked baggage.

However, you need to follow specific rules for lithium batteries.
Up to 100Wh: allowed in checked baggage if kept in the device, allowed in hand baggage up to 4 spares per person.
Between 100-160Wh: approval required.

Brussels Airlines Drone Policy

All electronic devices powered by lithium need to follow specific rules.
Up to 100Wh, they’re always allowed as hand baggage both in device and spare, while only in the device if checked in.

Above 160Wh they are forbidden. While between 100Wh and 160Wh they need to be approved by the operator for both hand luggage and checked in.

Delta Drone Policy

Also, Delta doesn’t clarify exactly what is their drone policy, but they do mention that lithium batteries are allowed up to 160 watt-hours. Anything above that 160 watt-hours is forbidden.

Lithium batteries can be transported in both carry-on or checked-in if installed. Otherwise, all batteries need to be carried in your carry-on baggage. Also, no more than two spare batteries in the 100-160 range can be carried per person.

Easyjet Drone Policy

Easyjet mentions that portable electronic devices containing lithium batteries can be carried on board as hand luggage and checked in if the battery doesn’t exceed 100Wh.

Spare lithium batteries can be carried only with carry-on baggage and protected to avoid short circuit.

Emirates Drone Policy

Emirates doesn’t allow drones as cabin baggage due to safety reasons. They are however allowed as checked-in baggage. Regarding the batteries, you’ll need to remove them and carry them with you or secure them with your drone. The policy applies also to connecting flights.

I’ve recently been lucky enough to try out the Emirates A380 First Class Suites on a long-haul flight via Dubai – make sure to check out my full review!

Finnair Drone Policy

Finnair allows drones as both carry-on and checked luggage without lithium batteries.
While the batteries have a separate regulation. Lithium batteries over 2 grams of lithium or 160Wh are totally forbidden.

Spare lithium batteries up to 2 grams of lithium can be transported as carry-on, while can be checked in only if inside the equipment.

Lithium batteries between 100Wh and 160Wh require approval from Finnair both if spare (max.2) or inside the device.

Iberia Drone Policy

Iberia doesn’t explicitly have a drone policy, but they do mention that spare lithium batteries are forbidden in the checked baggage. While they’re allowed in the checked-in baggage if installed in the equipment. No batteries over 160Wh are allowed.

Between 100Wh and 160Wh you can carry max 2 spare batteries with the hand luggage always isolating the terminals.

Jetblue Drone Policy

JetBlue has a specific drone policy which states the following: drones are accepted as both checked-in or carry on (if it fits the in the overhead bin or if it can be stored beneath the seat in front of you).
The clarify that, of course, the drone needs to be switched off for all the duration of the flight.

Regarding the batteries, two spare batteries between 100Wh and 160Wh can be carried if placed in plastic bags and the terminals isolated with tape.
Below 100Wh there are restrictions in terms of the number of batteries allowed on the airplane.

KLM Drone Policy

KLM has a drone policy, which allows drones to be carried in your hand luggage and your checked-in luggage. Prior approval is required if the battery is over 100Wh and up to 160Wh. Spare batteries can be carried as hand luggage only.

LATAM Airlines Drone Policy

LATAM Airlines has a lithium batteries policy which mentions that batteries are allowed between 100Wh and 160Wh in your carry-on only prior approval from the carrier. Additionally, no more than two spare batteries can be carried with your hand luggage. They don’t mention anything regarding batteries up to 100Wh so it’s probably safe to assume they’re allowed as carry-on without prior approval.

Lufthansa Drone Policy

Lufthansa doesn’t appear to have a drone policy. The only part that mentions something close is regarding portable electronic devices containing lithium batteries.
They are allowed as checked baggage with batteries up to 100Wh, while above 100Wh and up to 160Wh they require carrier approval for cabin baggage and are forbidden as checked baggage.

Malaysia Airlines Drone Policy

Malaysia Airlines defines the drone policy and for spare batteries. Batteries need to be carried with your hand luggage and can’t exceed 160Wh. They also need to be placed in the original packaging or isolated by for example taping the terminals.

While drones aren’t allowed at all (last check November 2018).

Qantas Drone Policy

Qantas has a clear lithium batteries policy.
Up to 100Wh in the equipment: batteries allowed as both carry-on and checked baggage only as carry on baggage.
Between 101Wh and 160Wh in the equipment: batteries are allowed as both carry-on and checked baggage only as carry on, but airline approval is required.
Over 160Wh batteries: forbidden in all cases.
Additionally, all spare batteries need to be carried with your hand luggage and only 2 are allowed between 101Wh-160Wh.

Qatar Drone Policy

Qatar Airways has a lithium batteries policy. Batteries up to 160Wh can be carried on the checked baggage inside the equipment and between 100 and 160Wh they also require operator approval. As hand baggage, they can be carried either inside the equipment or as spare. Everything above 160Wh is forbidden.

Ryanair Drone Policy

Ryanair allows drones to be carried with hand luggage if the battery doesn’t exceed 160Wh. While anything above that is forbidden.

Singapore Drone Policy

Singapore Airlines is clear about lithium batteries policies.
Up to 100Wh, they’re allowed both in your cabin baggage and in your checked baggage if inside the equipment. While no spare batteries are allowed in the checked baggage.
Between 100-160Wh: same as above, but spare batteries are limited to 2 per person.
Above 160Wh: not allowed.

Southwest Drone Policy

Southwest allows drones on their airplanes if they follow the general lithium-ion battery regulations. This means that the batteries need to be inserted in the drone and can’t exceed 160Wh. Additionally, any spare battery needs to be transported with carry-on baggage, well protected in a plastic bag with the terminals isolated.

Swiss Airlines Drone Policy

Swiss allows electronic devices with batteries up to 100Wh only in hand luggage.
Spare batteries can only be carried with hand luggage and up to 2 batteries between 100-160Wh with prior approval.
Any battery above 160Wh is forbidden.

Thai Airways Drone Policy

Thai Airways has a few policies mainly regarding lithium batteries.
Below 100Wh batteries are allowed only in hand luggage without prior approval, while between 100Wh and 160Wh they require approval from the airline.

Turkish Airlines Drone Policy

Turkish Airlines doesn’t appear to have a clear policy regarding drones – even though, based on some forum posts, there are folks stating that they have been able to bring a drone on a plane using this airline.
From their website, Turkish Airlines only mentions that portable vehicles (hoverboards, etc.) that use lithium-ion batteries are not allowed as carry-on or as checked baggage. They also don’t mention what is the maximum number of batteries and the capacity that you can bring on a plane.
It’s definitely necessary to contact the airline before departure.

United Airlines Drone Policy

UA doesn’t specifically have a drone policy – or at least I couldn’t find it on the official website. But they mention that some portable electronic devices can be carried in checked baggage.
The lithium battery cannot exceed 100 watt-hours and all spare batteries must be transported in carry-on baggage.

Don’t miss my review of the DJI Phantom 3 Standard with tips on how to fly your drone!




13 responses to “Can You Bring a Drone on a Plane?”

  1. Dan Avatar

    Great guide Mauro, I was looking exactly for this – bookmarked!

  2. Mauro Avatar

    Hi Dan, thanks!
    I’m glad you found it useful.

  3. Sw Avatar

    Hi all. Wanted to share that two days ago I was planning to travel with a drone from London. I called BA just to be on the safe side and were notified that BA redtirict drones completely. I had to find another airline for my drone. Crazy! My suggestion is to check before you fly as the policy depends not only on airlines but also on your destination airport policies.
    Good luck. 🙂

  4. Mauro Avatar

    Wow, that’s crazy! Yes, I agree, I would definitely recommend checking also the local regulations for the departure and arrival airport (as many folks probably have a return flight as well).

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  5. Passanger Avatar

    Where is the best airline Turkish Airlines???

  6. Mauro Avatar

    Thanks for spotting it! Even though they provide very little information regarding lithium-ion batteries and drones, I’ve added it to the list with what is available 🙂

  7. Craig Avatar

    Do you know if United Airlines accepts smaller drones like the Mavic as carry on?

  8. loz Avatar

    This info is either outdated or incorrect. Qantas does not allow drone batteries to be carried in checkedin luggage, carry-on only. Air Malaysia does not allow one to carry drone or drone batteries at all, yes not in checkedin or carry-on.

  9. Mauro Avatar

    Thank you Loz for pointing those out!

    As per their website, Qantas has changed the policy, as of November 2018 they don’t allow lithium batteries in checked baggage.

    While do you have any reference for Malaysia Airlines? I could just find that they don’t allow batteries in the checked-in luggage.
    Edit: confirmed – they don’t allow drones as both carry-on or checked-in.

  10. Jack Avatar

    Hi, this is a nice list! Does anyone have any information if you can bring a drone on a cruise ship?
    I’ll be going on a Carnival cruise to the Bahamas and I’d love to take a drone, but I’m not sure if it’s allowed.


  11. Oliver Avatar

    Hi, do you know if it’s possible to bring a drone on SAS stopping over in Stockholm or Copenhagen?

    Thanks for your help.

  12. Olov Lindgren Avatar
    Olov Lindgren

    I’ve travelled multiple times on SAS within Sweden with a Mavic Air + 3 batteries, Carry-on. Never been a problem.

  13. D'dos Avatar

    can i check in my drone on British airways with the battery in the drone? (battery less than 100wh)