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Airline Drone Policy: Are you going to travel with a drone? Learn more about each country’s regulations and general tips to avoid problems. The use of drones by travellers has become increasingly common. We, from the blog Viagens e Caminhos, use it a lot in our travels. It is a powerful device for capturing extensive images at unimaginable angles.
But watch out! It’s not just arriving at the place and taking off the drone, especially in other countries. It is essential to know the legislation of the country you travel to, and in some instances, it is better not to take it. You can have your drone seized while still at the airport.
Travelling With Drone To Other Countries
Each country has its regulations. Some prohibit entry into the country with the equipment, such as Egypt and Cuba. Others require bureaucratic records and some rules to fly, like France. We recently travelled to Bolivia, and as there were no regulations, we took it. Generally, the countries that allow it has very similar rules, which are identical to Brazil’s. The central airline drone policy is as follows:
Airline Drone Policy
- Do not fly within 5 km of airports and military areas.
- Do not fly above 120 m in height.
- Do not fly above crowds of people.
- Fly only in the distance where the drone is visible to the naked eye.
- They respect people’s privacy.
- Of course, these rules vary from country to country, but generally, they are very similar.
- Drone usage rule in each country
As we said, some countries have stringent airline drone policies for the irregular use of drones. Breaking these rules can result in problems such as confiscating the drone, hefty fines and even jail time.
For example, our friend Guilherme Goss from the blog Viajante Inveterado had his drone confiscated at the airport in Havana. Luckily he would return through the same airport and can redeem on the return flight.
Have you ever thought if he was going to continue his journey through another airport? He would have to choose between losing the drone or spending much more to alter his trip.
But how do you know the rules of the country you intend to travel to with a drone?
It is a question that many people ask, and to make it easier, blogger Anil Polat created a world map with the laws of each country. You can check the official rules by clicking on each country’s icon. The map records the laws of the appropriate government agency in each country and is updated frequently. In addition to the airline drone policy, there are links to websites and registration forms to request permission to fly in each country. In the case of the US, as laws vary from state to state, there are also separate state laws.
The map will divide into four colour-coded categories – Airline Drone Policy
- Green – The use of drones is generally allowed.
- Yellow – Drone use is limited or may require bureaucratic records.
- Red – The use of drones is prohibited or has strict restrictions.
- Gray – There are no established and applicable laws for drones (UAVs).
Another site that has a map with drone laws by country is Drone Regulations. Click on the desired country, which opens the page with the information.
How To Transport The Drone On The Plane
ANAC does not have specific rules on the transport of drones on planes. But airlines have their own rules, especially for Lithium batteries. The idea is to carefully consult the dangerous baggage rules on the website of the airline you are going to travel with. However, I confess that until now, I have travelled without doing this, taking my Mavic Pro as hand luggage along with two spare batteries.
But some companies are banning the drone as carry-on luggage and allowing it only in the hold. And as for batteries, the opposite applies; they are prohibited in storage and allowed as hand luggage. See what Tap’s rules say about drones.
As the original Mavic backpack is tiny, I always took it inside another giant pack with my camera and GoPro. I’ve never had any problems with the X-ray, but there are always risks, and more and more, I’m in doubt about whether to take it on the trip or not. I also had a much bigger Phantom, and its backpack hardly fit as hand luggage.
The rules for Lithium batteries are a bit confusing and depend on the Wh (watt-hour capacity), which in the case of the Mavic is 44Wh. Reading Latam’s rules, for example, I assumed that it is allowed to take both drones (not explicitly mentioned) and batteries in hand luggage.
Lithium batteries are restricted because they run the risk of spontaneously combusting and catching fire. However, there are bags with fireproof insulating material for batteries, called Lipo Guard, for sale on the market. I bought one at Mercado Livre to take the two spare batteries.