To give you a better understanding of how to prepare your drone for a flight, our guide offers plenty of information that covers all aspects of travelling with a drone. From airline policies and how to store your drone on a flight, to what you should do with your drone batteries, you should be ready to fly with your drone after reading our guide.
Before you go about booking your flight, there are few things to think about to ensure your travel plans get off to a ‘flying’ start.
Airline Drone Policies
First things first, once you find a flight with a particular airline, it’s well worth researching or contacting them to find out what their stance is on taking a drone on the flight with you. They’ll have their own airline policy in place that details how their passengers should travel with drones.
Can I Take a Drone Through Airport Security?
It’s wise to carry out the same research for the airport you wish to travel from. Some airports may have different procedures when it comes to carrying a drone through security, and finding out all the relevant information beforehand could save you a lot of time and effort when you arrive.
Invest in a Protective Carry Case for your Drone
Once you know how you plan to fly with your drone, you can make an informed decision on how is best to carry your drone to, from and during your travels. It goes without saying that your drone should be stored in a high quality protective carry case, to minimise the risk from any knocks and bumps it may sustain during travel.
Our rugged protective drone cases are tough enough to withstand the harsh toing and froing of travel, so you can rest assured your drone is safe and secure during your trip. Better yet, they don’t display any well-known branding, such as the DJI logo, so they’re less likely to pique the interest of others.
Carry-On or Hold? The Size of your Drone may be the Deciding Factor
Smaller drones such as a DJI Spark, are usually compact enough to fit within a protective carry-on case, whereas owners of larger drones like the DJI Mavic Pro will probably be asked to store the gadget in the hold. If possible, we would recommend taking your drone as a carry-on item, as there’s never any guarantee for how safe it will be in the hold or on its way there. However, if this simply isn’t possible, then your best bet is to make sure it’s secured in a durable case, with foam inserts. Be it custom foam or DIY foam, we can help you secure your drone.
You may also find there are certain restrictions and requirements when it comes to certain accessories or drone features, depending on legal requirements or airline policy. In this case, the drone and its accessories may have to be packed separately for the flight.
Top Tip: When packing your drone and its accessories for a flight, make sure to pack any stored media or data separately from the actual drone. This will help to protect any previously recorded images or videos, should you unfortunately lose your drone during travel. Alternatively, make sure your media is backed up on another system before you travel.
What About Taking a Lithium Battery On a Plane?
Rechargeable lithium batteries are the heart of drones, providing the vital charge needed to power your drone into the air. It’s these lithium batteries that usually cause drone owners problems when heading to a flight, however, if you know how you should pack these batteries before you check-in, you shouldn’t have a problem boarding your flight with a drone in tow.
Pack your Drone Batteries as Carry-On Luggage
Your lithium batteries should never be packed into any luggage that you are planning to have in the plane’s hold. This includes both your standard batteries and any spares you plan to take with you, so remove any batteries from your drone before you check-in. This is due to the risk of fire that can occur with these batteries, in an environment with sudden changes in air pressure or temperature.
They should be packed as part of your carry-on luggage, where the environment is much more controlled. It’s also recommended that you protect the battery’s terminals using tape, if possible.
Deplete your Batteries’ Charge Before Flying
It’s recommended that you deplete your batteries’ charge prior to packing for a flight and heading through security. Frequent travellers who take their drones with them tend to suggest that you reduce your batteries’ power to as little as 30% if possible.
This shows that your batteries function, whilst adding another precaution to help reduce the chances of a fire being caused by a lithium ion battery; a battery with less charge is much less volatile than a fully charged battery.
Pack a Variety of Different Batteries if Possible
If you need to take more than one set of batteries with you on your flight, then it’s recommended that you take a variety of different batteries in order to meet regulations.
Regulations state that a passenger can bring a maximum of 2 lithium batteries with over 100 Watt Hours (Wh) and a maximum of 160 Wh, onto the flight with them at any time. However, there seems to be no limit to how many lithium batteries with less than 100 Wh that you can take in your carry-on with you. It’s because of this, why some drone manufacturers choose to provide a variety of different batteries to use with their drones.
Pack your Batteries in Lipo Guard Battery Bags
Battery bags are recommended for both storing and charging lithium batteries, and they come in especially handy when travelling with your drone.
Carry your drone’s batteries within a battery bag, to prevent chances of a fire starting from them as a result of the flight environment. Additionally, you can ensure that you have a protective space for your battery bag in your drone case by using our custom foam service.
Taking your Drone Through Security
If your drone is small enough to take in a carry-on bag, you will be required to transport it through airport security.
Like with many other large electrical items, you will be asked to present your drone and its accessories when passing through. This will mean removing them from your luggage and displaying them within one of the trays provided. As such, it’s recommended that you pack your hand luggage efficiently so that your drone, its batteries and any other accessories are easily accessible for when passing through security.
Top Tip: Make sure you place your drone’s batteries in a tray of their own, as they will be checked when passing through security. Having them readily displayed will make these checks much quicker, saving you enough time to relax ahead of your flight.
When travelling with your drone, you’ll want to keep it as safe as possible from any potential damage. From knocks and bumps during transit, to extreme weather conditions, or even accidents caused by yourself; there are a number of risks that your drone could face during a trip.
That’s why it’s essential that you store your drone and its accessories in a hard-wearing protective drone case that can minimise the impact these risks have on your gadget. To opt for additional protection, take a look at our custom foam inserts.
Here at Case Farm, we specialise in providing custom and DIY foam inserts at affordable prices. If you’re looking for a specific size to line your drone case, check out our foam calculator page to get a quote, or get in touch with a member of our team for more information.
What’s more, we’re constantly working to offer a wider range of tips on the world of DIY, and videography, check out our blog here!