Can You Bring Cymbals, Drumsticks, and Other Drumming Instruments on Planes?

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A drum set in a dark studio

Carry-on bags


Checked luggage


Rules for Flights in the USA

Drumsticks and cymbals are allowed in carry-on and checked luggage on United States flights with certain limitations. When traveling inside the cabin, cymbals must meet the airline’s carry-on requirements, and they’ll be subject to additional screening at the airport.

Other drumming instruments can go in the cabin if they fit in the overhead compartments. For drumming instruments that don’t, some airlines might make special arrangements, like allowing passengers to buy an extra seat for the instrument. In any case, larger drums will likely have to travel as checked baggage.

Rules for Flights in Other Countries

Canada, Europe, the United Kingdon, Australia, New Zealand, China, and India

The Canadian, European, UK, Australian, New Zealand, Chinese, and Indian flight authorities don’t specify whether cymbals and drums specifically are allowed on planes. However, pretty much all musical instruments are allowed both in carry-on and checked luggage. However, musical instruments are subject to the hand and checked luggage size rules, which are different for each airline. If they’re too large, some airlines offer extra seats or reduced rates for instruments packed in checked luggage. If your drumming instrument is over the carry-on limits, you should get in touch with your airline and ask whether any special arrangements can be made.


Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.

Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring drumming instruments onboard airplanes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Drumming Instruments on Planes

Can I take drum mallets and brushes on a plane?

It isn’t specified if you can bring drum mallets and brushes on planes in the United States, but according to TSA, drumsticks along with other musical instruments/equipment are allowed both in carry-on and checked baggage. Still, the final decision on if drum mallets and brushes could be a potential weapon will be from the security agent at the airport.

Read Next: Can You Bring Drumsticks on Planes?

Can I bring drums on planes (bass, snare, tenor, timpani, conga, bongo, toms, etc.)?

You can bring drums both in carry-on and checked baggage on planes in the United States with specific instructions. Drums that travel inside the plane should meet the airline’s standards for carry-on baggage, and fit on the overhead compartment or underneath the front seat.

Some airlines might treat bigger drums as special baggage and allow passengers to buy an extra seat to travel with the instrument inside the plane. Otherwise, instruments that surpass carry-on size and weight must travel as checked baggage. Always contact your airline before your trip to learn about the best way to pack and travel with your instrument.

Read Next: Can You Bring Your Art Portfolio on Planes?

Should I pack cymbals in hand or checked luggage?

Travelers should pack cymbals in carry-on luggage when their size allows them to. Overall, it’s best practice to carry instruments inside the cabin to prevent any damage to the instruments while traveling in cargo and avoid them getting stolen or lost. Larger cymbals that don’t fit on the overhead bin or underneath the front seat must travel inside the checked baggage.

What’s the best way to pack cymbals in my luggage?

The best and safest way to pack cymbals for flying in the United States is using a padded cymbal bag or a hard-shell cymbal case and taking it as part of your carry-on allowance on the plane. You can store it in the overhead bin or underneath the front seat. If the case doesn’t have separators, use cloths to prevent contact between cymbals.

If they’re traveling inside checked luggage, use clothes or airbags to provide extra cushion around the cymbal bag. If you’re traveling with multiple cymbals, store the smaller ones inside/on top of larger ones, all facing the same direction.

What’s the safest way to transport a drum set?

The best way to transport a drum set in an airplane is by packing each drum individually, first in a padded drum bag, and later in a hard drum case. A drum set will exceed most airlines’ carry-on allowance, even for special baggage allowed inside planes in the United States. As a result, you will likely have to check your drum set. Stands, pedals, and drumsticks can travel individually packed inside the same suitcase.
You should also read: Can you take a snowboard on a plane?

Do I need to take out cymbals when going through security?

Passengers traveling with cymbals in carry-on luggage need to take out cymbals when going through airport security in the United States. According to TSA, cymbals need to go under physical inspection when going through the security checkpoint.

Can I take electronic drums on planes?

You can travel with electronic drums in carry-on and checked luggage on flights in the United States. TSA doesn’t classify them as banned items, so they should be accepted both in carry-on and checked baggage as long as they are packed correctly, and comply with weight and size standards. TSA limits only electronics with lithium batteries, and they don’t have any major restrictions for plug-in electronics, like electric drums.

Can I take hi-hats on planes?

Overall, cymbals are allowed as carry-on and checked baggage inside airplanes, and most musical instruments too. Still, hi-hats traveling in carry-on baggage will be subject to additional inspection and the security agent has the last call on if the hi-hat stand or the plates could be a possible weapon. Hi-hats in hand luggage are subject to the airline’s carry-on standards.

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