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Airport customs and security check regulations
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14039 67 2015-11-23 23:40:39
DJI-Tim
DJI team
Hong Kong
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Since DJI products are very portable, taking your aircraft on trips and getting some spectacular shots has become a passion for many pilots. Many airport security checkpoints can be a hindrance on the way of getting a great photos and video.

Perfect situation would be like this:
                              
perf.JPG
But this world is not perfect, and sometimes it’s going like this:
  
not perf.JPG
Here on our forum we can share our “drone-traveling” experience with each other.

For those who do travel, please let all of us know your experience around traveling with your gear:

1. Date
2. Departure- Arrival (Airport)
3. DJI aircraft model
4. Battery model and quantity
5. Result

We hope this thread will help DJI pilots to make some preparations before going somewhere with their bird with less trouble. Share and learn here, because in our community one for all, and all for one!
*This thread is just  for users to share their experience, DJI is not responsible for any information provided in this thread.

2015-11-23 23:40:39
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rodger
First Officer
Flight distance : 291231
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United States
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Tim, it seems that different Airlines have separate policies applying to baggage and the battery size (amperage).
2015-11-24 05:51:56
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Joe Blow
Student Pilot
Colombia
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July 2015 flew American Airlines from California to Colombia with DJI3P and 4 batteries.  No problem in fact no one really cared or asked about my DJI3 and batteries I carried on the flight
2015-11-24 08:50:31
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Zdrone
Student Pilot
United States
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The one consistent policy between airlines I've seen is they all require lithium batteries to be carried on.
Lately I've flown American, Southwest, Hawaiian  and Alaska and always carry on my P3P in my Think Tank
Backpack with 4-6 batteries.  Fits in the overhead and no problems with TSA.  Couple weeks ago I also took
my Osmo in my regular backpack to Vegas on Southwest.  No issue.
2015-11-24 08:52:59
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mike.wildlight
Intern Pilot
Flight distance : 1714
Australia
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In Aus the regulator (CASA) produced a brochure CASA brochure
I take this with me when I fly domestically (Usually about twice a month) in Aus with my P3P and to date haven't had major problems. It REALLY helps that DJI have the Wh on the smart battery with the Aussie regs as it used to be a bit of a pain with normal LiPos.
2015-11-24 11:56:15
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fred.miller
Beginner
United States
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I flew from Madison, WI to Phoenix, AZ in September with Phantom 3 Professional in in hardcase backpack with 4 batteries (3 in the case and 1 in the craft-all discharged).  I was asked if the batteries were discharged going through gate security in Madison.  Although FAA regs would allow them to be carried on without discharge, the manuals that come with the batteries clearly state to discharge batteries before traveling.  So I chose to be safe rather than sorry.  Security took extra time with the backpack because they said the batteries were too close together in the pack to get a clear x-ray of each one of them.  So on my way back in Phoenix  I took the batteries out of the pack and set them in a separate bin when going through security.  I wasn't asked about the charge state of the batteries and went through with no problems. So really no problems.

Just wondering if anyone else had an opinion on charged vs discharged batteries for travel?
2015-11-24 12:05:56
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ricoba
Beginner
Italy
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interesting in December I have to go to mexico from italy via miami some experience?
2015-11-24 12:28:44
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Golfo
Hobbyist
Mexico
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I flew with P3P and 4 batteries from Mexico to the UK, UK to Spain and then Madrid to Mexico. A total of 5 flights. Was never asked anything by security in all the 5 airports. Asked a security guy in Mexico City and they said they see around 10 per day and no big deal.
2015-11-24 16:32:20
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ronnydsosa
Intern Pilot
United States
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Flew from NY to the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico to Turks and Caico and back to NY... Phantom 3 Pro, 4 Batteries at 75% Charged, all 4 batteries on my carry on bag... P3P in luggage compartment (gopro hard case)... No questions asked by TSA/Ariline or by anyone at any of the 4 Airports i went thru.. The only rules across all airlines/airports is that your batteries must be n your carry on bag.....
2015-11-24 19:27:16
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ronnydsosa
Intern Pilot
United States
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fred.miller@sub Posted at 2015-11-24 15:05
I flew from Madison, WI to Phoenix, AZ in September with Phantom 3 Professional in in hardcase backp ...

NO.. TSA could care less about your batteries being charged/discharge.. As long as hey n your carry on bag.. Thats all they worry about.
2015-11-24 19:28:53
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ricoba
Beginner
Italy
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for the remote control, there are problems? the phantom 3 has not removable internal battery lipo
2015-11-24 22:12:16
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rolexian
Beginner
United States
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So I have several experiences to share:

All done with a DJI3 Phantom Pro. One battery, always with my drone in its hard case, always carried on unless otherwise mentioned. Blades are checked in when possible. I was fairly conservative when using the drone; I would never use it with crowds.

1. July 2015
2. Departing SFO to JFK and back
3. Not a single issue anywhere, anytime.


1. July 2015
2. JFK to CDG and back
3. Not a single issue anywhere. Escort agent did store bag up front. Was escorted through security, customs, and immigration going and coming. No issues taking it on trains, but I mostly avoided rush hour.


1. August 2015
2. JFK to FRA
3. No issues on main flight. Again, escorted right through security, customs, and immigration.

1. August 2015
2. FVA to TXL.
3. Rigorous security but nada with the drone; there was an issue where they wanted to check the baggage in due to size. I didn't want to say no, so I let them do it. In Berlin, some police officers asked about drone. Asked what I planned to do with it. They mentioned that there is a maximum height limit.

1. August 2015
2. TXL to JFK.
3. No issues on main flight. Escort tried to breeze me through security in Berlin, but they actively stopped her and subjected me to enhanced security; still no questions about the drone.


1. August 2015
2. JFK to DUB and back
3. No issues at all, no questions. I did travel first class, so they sped me through everything. Not a single issue with customs. Both times there was no space in suite for drone, so stored up front.


1. September 2015
2. JFK to MUM via Abu Dhabi.
3. No real issues pre-MUM. No space in suite for drone, so stored in business class space. Issue at customs....as I put the case through the scanner, and was about to walk out, their security guy goes "drone?". He brings his supervisor. We proceed to talk; he convinces me the drone costs like US$100,000 and that I have to pay a duty. He grills me about the use of it, specs, and of my profession. I tell him it is just for fun, I am not a professional photographer, etc. I tell him he can stamp my passport if he wants. He sends me ahead to go to the official customs area (for checked baggage), and sends the the security guy who first noticed the drone. As we walk, the guy tells me to downplay everything...repeat my backstory, say the drone is used, repeat American citizenship, repeat drone is at 2.4ghz etc. I get my checked bags (thinking they would surely have been stolen), go to customs. Meet a bunch of older guys who repeat the questions. When I say I just want to visit rural India, one guy immediately says no problem, you can do that. Once I say 2.4 and 5.1ghz, they all relax and say it is completely OK, no issues. One guy insists I need a devotional permit to fly it, and can get it from some office. This other guy says it is OK, as long as I don't fly it outdoors. Another guy basically says "let him go, he wants to just check out rural India". I am able to leave airport with my drone in hand. According to the locals, the guys where looking for a bribe.


1. October 2015
2. MUM to HKG
3. The ticketing agent said that the drone was too heavy and had to be checked in. I was OK with it; another agent pointed out I was in business class so had extra allowance. Agent corrected himself but insisted the drone would be too bulky. He checked something and said it would fit; no problems. There were several security checks at the airport; there were no problems save for my frayed nerves. No issues with customs.


1. November 2015
2. HKG to HND, then HND to SFO.
3. No issues with security at HKG or customs at HND. At this point, I just checked the drone in (putting battery in my backpack). Some parts of China and Japan had banned flying drones, with signs posted (in Japan they used the DJI picture). In China, I never actually stored the drone before entering such places; I just didn't use it. No one questioned me, though I was practically the only person with a rolling suitcase. No issue transporting on trains, but I avoided rush hour(s) for the most part. I used luggage delivery service a few times with no issues. My flight from HND was right after the Paris attacks, so I thought they might be extra cautious, but it was very lax security; no issues. No issues at SFO customs either.



2015-11-24 23:58:32
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Seb
Hobbyist
Poland
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1. Summer 2015
2. Gdańsk, Poland - Rome, Italy and back
3. Drone with battery inside and four additional batteries packed into DJI/Manfrotto backpack. In both directions absolutely no issues and no single question. I even wasn't asked to open the backpack, the only thing i did was to remove the tablet, but did it myself without being asked first by security officer. Accepted as a normal-size cabin luggage by Wizzair.
2015-11-25 01:02:19
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Prometheus Xex
Hobbyist
Canada
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Has anyone checked in the DJI hardshell case as carry on? I'm flying from Toronto to St. Lucia.
2015-11-25 11:41:43
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thebiomed.yahoo
Student Pilot
Canada
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I haven`t but I had one in my hands at DronesPlus Toronto, and I am very confident it will fit in overhead bin.
2015-11-26 07:42:01
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aadoat
Beginner
Australia
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In Sep-15, I travelled from Melb Australia to Vietnam, stopped over in Bangkok, then from Vietnam to Maldives via Singapore (stopped over in Singapore too) then returned to VN and back to Aus. I brought my I1 with 4 batteries: 2 TB47 & 2 TB48. I had no problem at all with security in Aus, Singapore, Bangkok, Maldives and Vietnam. The only time I was asked to show the baterries were when I was in Maldives and Bangkok. But not an issue at all. All good!
2015-11-26 17:41:41
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nicwilson
Hobbyist
Australia
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In Australia so far all airlines allow 1 battery to be in the unit if carried in checked luggage,   rest can be carried on board.  I have never had any issue carrying the P3P on board with me and fly 2 - 4 times per week.
2015-11-26 18:15:58
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ricoba
Beginner
Italy
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radio control passes at check in?
2015-11-27 05:13:15
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timothyjones
Beginner
United States
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I flew to Chiang Rai, Thailand and had no issues. Everything was under the plane. My Phantom 2 was in a pelican case. When we got to customs in Bankok, I had to get the case and return it to continue the flight the next morning. I wasn't asked any questions about the contents. NO WAIT!! I was asked once but only about why was I bringing it and I said because of the beautiful scenery we don't have like this in America.
2015-11-27 05:20:16
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blackfish77.hot
Beginner
Canada
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September 2015 Toronto to Nassau
carried on everything, Canada customs asked to open it up after x ray and were not concerned with anything but confiscated a very small screwdriver.
A post earlier mentioned packing blades on your checked baggage, excellent suggestion. ....I'm going to do this next trip
2015-11-27 07:40:58
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mike.wildlight
Intern Pilot
Flight distance : 1714
Australia
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blackfish77.hot Posted at 2015-11-28 01:40
September 2015 Toronto to Nassau
carried on everything, Canada customs asked to open it up after x  ...

Yes the blades thing is something I've done both ways; initially I did checked-in. but nowadays carry-on and had no issues in Australia.
I would definitely check-in any Carbon blades though.
2015-11-27 21:26:50
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Kilted Flyer (D
Student Pilot
Flight distance : 192576
United States
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What about ATL to FLL and back on DELTA? I want to take mine on a cruise. I have the P3P with a hard waterproof case with wheels and pull out handle.No worrys.. I will only use it OFF THE SHIP.... Before any of you start "flaming".... LOL.
2015-11-28 05:12:22
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jamesm.nl
Beginner
Canada
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Prometheus Xex Posted at 2015-11-25 14:41
Has anyone checked in the DJI hardshell case as carry on? I'm flying from Toronto to St. Lucia.

Traveled from St John's to Orlando through Pearson, no issues. P3 was swabbed twice and a couple of inquisitive questions but no issues. Carried onboard in a protective Pelican case that was designed to fit the over head storage.
2015-11-28 07:37:25
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mike.wildlight
Intern Pilot
Flight distance : 1714
Australia
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Prometheus Xex Posted at 2015-11-26 05:41
Has anyone checked in the DJI hardshell case as carry on? I'm flying from Toronto to St. Lucia.

Yep it means carry on standards, but that doesn't mean it will fit in all overhead lockers, some of the smaller turbo prop planes I fly in it's either No way, or a bit of a squeeze. in these cases it's under the seat and sacrifice the legroom :/
2015-11-28 12:15:27
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ARCTiC
Beginner
Italy
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P3 PRO with 2 batteries and the RC - Rome (Fiumicino) to Canary Islands (LPA) with Vueling/Iberia.
Sadly it was the morning after the Paris attack, they stopped the bag (soft bag for my Phantom 3) at the security, I had to open it, they asked what it was (including the model name), wrote the name down and get documented (I don't know where and how, probably on Internet), then they come back to me saying I was OK to go (5 minutes). I carried then carried it aboard without issue.
IMPORTANT: I didn't carried the propellers aboard, I was concerned about the lenght and I didn't want to risk it, so I put them into the checked-in bag.
2015-11-29 09:57:51
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lancegeren5
Beginner
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I flew from Atlanta, Georgia to Denver, Colorado and it was a breeze. DJI1 with 6 batteries and a (Go Professional case).
2015-11-29 12:18:10
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alanfullmer
Beginner
United States
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I went from SLC to Newark via Delta about a month ago.  I have a GoProfessional case for my Phantom 3 Pro.  It was a bit too big to carry on so I had to check it.  Both times they (TSA/Delta?) opened it removed the phantom.  They couldn't figure out how to get the gimbal lock back in place (we all know that can be challenging at times).  So it was just in there bouncing around next to my gimbal and camera.  

I recommend carrying it on if you can.  

2015-11-30 00:09:01
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Virtualphotogra
Beginner
United States
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Chicago-Seattle with an Inspire and 3 batteries (1 TB48 and 2 TB47s)  Was told the b48 couldn't fly as it was over the Wh limit.  Was eventually able to board with all 3 but got a warning not to pack the TB48s in future
2015-11-30 09:59:46
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kremer.rick
Beginner
United States
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Hi guys and Gals.

Here's my experience in Traveling from PBI to DFW. One of the trips was eventful the other no problems what so ever.

PBI to DFW:
American Airlines.
DJI3 in backpack, plus 1 carry one bag. Within the carry on bag I placed my two batteries in a lipo bag, and taped the ends of the batteries with black electrical tape. I left the lipo bag ( with batteries inside) inside my carry on bag. TSA DID NOT LIKE THAT. They had to bring a supervisor over and pat me down, as well as unpack my carry on and swab with a wand everything I brought. That included the quad, the back pack, batteries etc..oh and i got frisked as well. I did not get upset as I told them I read the TSA bylaws where it says you must secure the ends of lipo batteries so as not to accidentally come into contact with something else.

DFW to PBI.
American Airlines. This time i took out the batteries from the lipo bag and had the batteries and lipo bag separate from everything else, and that procces went smoothly.

I recommend placing the batteries in a lipo bag and tape off the ends.

Rick from Fl
2015-11-30 11:45:56
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Vasek
Hobbyist
Czech Republic
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Prague (CZ) to Fuerteventura Canary Islands (Spain) P3A plus three batteries in softshell bag bit smaller than a standard cabin case. No lipo bags.  Security at Prague asked only if I can remove the battery from RC. Said I cannot and they let me go. On the fligtht back no problems at all. BTW I was told max. attitude in Spain is 100m.
2015-12-1 04:53:22
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2015-12-1 20:24:17
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bgd121
Beginner
United States
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rolexian Posted at 2015-11-25 02:58
So I have several experiences to share:

All done with a DJI3 Phantom Pro. One battery, always with  ...

Your trips were very helpful. thank you for that. I am traveling from JFK to CDG then to DXB onto MRU (Mauritius) and then back same way. I was a bit worried in reading your thread saw that it was pretty seamless. One questions though what do you mean that you were escorted. Thanks in advance
2015-12-5 10:56:50
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rolexian
Beginner
United States
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bgd121 Posted at 2015-12-6 02:56
Your trips were very helpful. thank you for that. I am traveling from JFK to CDG then to DXB onto  ...

If you fly Air France first class, they will take you through expedited security. It may result in a laxer standard (presumably, they treat everyone the same, but I could see how airlines want to make sure premium-fair passengers have less of a hassle).
2015-12-7 11:57:21
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thedave82
Beginner
United Kingdom
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Hi everyone.
I have had a bit of a look around here for a proper list of airports and countries that have no tolerance for our hobby but I didn't find much but there were a few stories scattered around. I think there should be a list we can make for all to check out if anyone has had any horror stories in particular countries.
For instance.
I bought a 2nd hand battery from a guy in London last week. I asked him what happened to his Phantom if it had flown away or something. He told me he was on going holiday to Morocco and when he arrived the airport security took one look at his P3A told him it was not allowed and apparently just took it from him controller case and all.
I really felt for him as I have had a similar experience myself when traveling through Guangzhou (hmm strange this I wonder where they make batteries for a Phantom3?) airport in China. Before I left I checked the regulations for the airline and thought all would be ok and when I left Heathrow it was perfectly ok to take as cabin baggage my P3P and 3 batteries.
When I left china however and had to go through their security I was robbed of one of my batteries as you are apparently only allowed to have 2 with you onboard the aircraft. I was absolutely fuming with rage and nearly got slightly abusive to the security guy, but thought it better to hide my rage after I had made my point lest I wind up in a Chinese goulag.

This must be happening to people on a daily basis and we need some way to find out about these horror stories before we ourselves become a victim.
Can we open a conversation pin it to the top of the forum for all to put their stories and warnings of these incidents so that it is easily read and updated by all?
Or has this been done before?
Cheers.
Dave.
2015-12-7 12:22:26
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jwallen543
Hobbyist
United States
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any one fly in to Cancun, Mexico? or any part of Mexico?
2015-12-7 20:18:26
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tedward13
Beginner
Romania
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Has anyone traveled by Lufthansa , Austrian or from Romania ?
2016-1-12 11:13:16
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tim.hulse
Hobbyist
Bermuda
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AA, Charlotte to Montrose via Chicago - no problem.
AA, Montrose to Philly - had to gate check, bag too big (for biz class)
AA, Philly to Bermuda - no problem (note, Bermuda has fairly strict drone regs).
2016-1-15 08:53:46
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HermosaDrones
Intern Pilot
United States
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Do you check your RC unit(s) or carry them on the plane.  

The batteries always fly in the cabin with me.  I've been carrying the  RC unit(s) in carry on luggage but have been told the RC unit can be checked because the battery is a lower power than the drone batteries and the RC battery is sealed up.  Anyone know the official word on this?  I'd like to regain the space in my carry on bag if i can.
2016-1-18 20:03:38
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HermosaDrones
Intern Pilot
United States
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I flew to Ecuador with the Phantom in my GPC backpack and no problem.  After that I found a suitcase the backpack fits in and packed it inside and checked it.  So all gear including props is checked now.  I've flown with the P2, P3 and Inspire.  Batteries and RC unit(s) in carry on luggage.  Everything else below the plane.  I've been to Argentina twice, Ecuador and Brazil.

Argentina tip - batteries should be in individual plastic bags.
Brazil tip - Make sure you have invoices for all your gear.  They will request them.

TSA has swabbed the batteries on some trips and on others everything cleared with no problem.
2016-1-18 20:06:44
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horizonstar
Beginner
Canada
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Is there non-US resident to report their experience entering US custom recently? I heard rumour saying from this year, LAX and some major airports are going to confiscate non-US resident's drone because of the registration thing. They did not acknowledge the foreigner registration.
2016-1-25 17:36:32
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