Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about taking your drone through TSA in your checked baggage. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.
I’m going to Maui in three weeks, and I would love to bring my GoPro Drone. I was wondering if you know the regulation at SFO regards to having drone in my carry-on. Any tips in Maui? What spots are good to fly drones at?
I’m jealous you’re heading to Maui! And yes, it is totally okay to take a drone through a U.S. airport. It’s clearly written on the U.S.’s TSA site that drones are allowed to be brought through security in your carry-on.
That being said, before flying, check with your individual airline’s website to make sure drones are not on the prohibited packing items list.
As a personal tip, before I send my drone through the scanner, I usually give the person working it a head’s up there is a drone inside. Every time I don’t, they also see its weird shape and feel the need to inspect it! This always ends up just saving everyone time.
Remember that all of this applies to domestic flying in the U.S. If you were flying internationally, that would be a different story.. I’ve heard everything from drones being confiscated, to travelers being asked to leave their drone at customs and being told they could pick it up at the end of their trip. Just ask filmmaker Chafic Saad, who arrived at the customs department in Bali, which would not let them bring a drone through despite what they though was the proper paperwork.
“They thought I was going to sell it,” he said. “I had to put down a deposit of $2,000 US dollars and it would not have been returned if I didn’t bring the money back. That was scary.”
If you ever DO take your drone internationally, UAV Coach has a really excellent master list of drone laws by country. There you can find out if you need to register, if you need a license, and if you can even bring that drone into the country. Though, sometimes it seems laws change on an almost-daily basis, so I would also check with each country’s aviation regulatory agency’s website as well.
As far as flying specifically in Maui, I haven’t been to Hawaii since I was 5 years old! That was pre-drone life. I can’t speak from personal experience, but make sure you check Know Before You Fly to make sure you are legally allowed to fly in those areas.
If you have personal experience flying with a drone in Hawaii, or have broader drone travel tips, please leave a comment below!