How To Travel With a Drone on an Airplane

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What’s up guys Billy here and today I want to talk about what you should do when traveling with your drone on an airplane. Now a lot of people have questions about this. It’s kind of a prevalent topic throughout the community and I just got back from LA – I traveled with this thing cross country, so I figured give you guys my experience as well some of the different things that I did to prepare.

Now I want to start this video off by saying that my experience was by no means bad. It was super easy getting my drone through TSA and then onto the aircraft or the actual plane itself. But anyway there are basically two separate ways to travel with your drone through an airplane. First of all you can check it in with your baggage, that will go underneath of the plane and that’s where you give them all the big suitcases, luggage, etcetc. And they put them underneath of the plane just to save some room, and then from there you could also choose to carry it on – which is what I did as airliners definitely have a reputation for losing bags. I never wanted to let this out of my sight, so again you can choose to put it underneath of the airplane, or carry it on with you. If you have a smaller drone like the phantom or the maverick pro I would definitely recommend bringing it with you through your carry on luggage. But if you have something bigger like an inspired series drone or a typhoon drone, your definition going to have to check that underneath of the airplane as they’re just too big to bring onto the actual plane with you.

Now no matter what you choose to do whether you bring the drone with you as a carry on or you put it underneath of the plane you’re always going to need to stow your batteries in your carry on backpack luggage whatever you’re bringing with you. And this is just kind of a precautionary step just because with the low pressure underneath of the aircraft, these things could explode they could catch on fire, and you definitely don’t want that to happen if you are on an airplane.

Now with that being said there is a lot of different rules about the batteries. First of all you’re going to need to drain them. What I did was just pretty much take my drone, fly it back and forth in sport mode, and get it down to around 10 percent, land it from there. If you don’t have that you know ability, if you can’t go outside and fly a drone around I would just recommend starting the drone up letting it sit around and wait for the battery to drop down until there’s about one bar. Right now I have three separate bars but wait till there’s about one bar and you should be good.

Another thing that you’ll need to do with your batteries is take electrical tape and cover the terminals wherever that may be on your battery. This is just another precautionary step to make sure that your batteries don’t short circuit, cause a spark then leading to a fire, obviously fires are definitely a bad thing on airplanes.

The last thing that I want to mention about batteries is that you are restricted as to how many you can bring on the plane by the watt hours – and you can check the watt hours by looking on the battery. If you have anything over 100 watt hours you can only bring two of them. Anything under that you can bring three, four, really as many as you can fit inside of your bag. For me I’ve got the Phantom 4 pro battery. The high capacity Phantom 4 intelligent flight battery, and it comes with 89.2 watt hours so I should be good to bring three or four of these with me on the plane. Now if your battery doesn’t give you the watt hours on the side directly written there you can do a quick equation which is volts x amps which will easily give you watt hours.

So now that you’ve gone over the different ways to travel with your drone as a carry-on or checked luggage and we’ve gone over some of the different things we need to do with the batteries – let’s go over some different preparation steps that I went through to ensure getting through TSA was a breeze.

So first of all you want to make sure your drone is registered. I never got checked like they never asked me you know where’s your registration for this drone. But you just want to make sure you’re doing the right thing and you’re being responsible by registering it with the FAA. You can easily do this by going onto their website. The next thing that you want to do is make sure you’ve brought everything. Honestly I did a triple check, I checked at home, I checked in the car, I checked at the airport, just to make sure that I brought everything. And if you forget just one thing like the propellers or the remote. That’s it. You’re done, you can’t fly. And honestly that was one of the reasons I went on this trip. I was able to get some great footage with both my camera and my drone. And you don’t want to fly all the way across country bring the drone with you and just end up forgetting one component.

Another thing you want to do is make sure your bag can fit as a carry on. So I was using the Polarpro Dronetrekker. This is a very big backpack that can fit a lot of different things like all of my cords, my external batteries. I did a whole video on this thing. I showed you guys what I put in my drone backpack. You can click in the top right corner up on a link to that video. But anyway you want to make sure that this fits as a carry on. If you are bringing your drone on as a carry on item. I got to the airport and I didn’t do some checking in the beginning and this thing just fit. I’ll put a picture up on the screen. I mean it literally was right along the edges just fit. And once I got on the airplane it also just fit underneath the seat. So I was definitely lucky in that regard, but you want to make sure that your drone or your backpack will fit as a carry on item.

For the final thing on my preparation is make sure that the batteries are drained. Again this isn’t something that they’re going to check but make sure you do all the necessary steps when bringing the batteries with you on the aircraft.

The fourth area that I want to cover is what to do at the airport. And it’s fairly limited. Honestly it’s kind of self-explanatory. But first of all go through all the necessary steps, get your boarding pass, put your checked in luggage on the scale, send it off. But once you get to TSA you want to do two things.

First of all get that drone registration card out, the little piece of paper you have printed and also put the batteries in their own bin when sliding your backpack and everything through the TSA little conveyor belt, the X-ray scanner or whatever they call it. You just want to kind of be open that you bring a drone. You know it’s not like you’re bringing a gun with you, I don’t even want to say that when talking about planes, but just be open about it. Don’t be all sketchy about it and scared to talk to people about it. Honestly it’s cool. Everybody who’s asking you questions about it probably are interested in it and they’re not scared of it. So again just be open with them. Make sure you put the batteries in their separate compartments or their separate bins, and also carry that registration with you in your pocket.

So guys that’s about it. Just to recap the whole video first of all there are two separate ways to travel. You can either carry it with you onto the plane or you can check it in with your checked baggage. Also you want to do some preparation.

So first of all make sure that you register your drone, also make sure your carry-on will fit, make sure you’ve brought everything with you. and make sure you do all the necessary steps with the batteries such as drain them. Make sure you check the kilowatt hours, cover the terminals, etcetc. And then finally when you’re at the airport make sure you have your drone registration with you, and also make sure you put these batteries in their own separate bins. It honestly is really easy to travel with this thing on an airplane. I thought it is going to be way harder, I think it was just psyching myself out. But it was super easy getting it through TSA getting on the airplane, etcetc.