Can You Bring External Monitors on Planes?

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Two external monitors on a desk

Carry-on bags

Yes, with conditions

Checked luggage


Rules for Flights in the USA

On United States flights, external monitors aren’t specifically mentioned as allowed or banned from planes. However, TSA allows computer parts and TVs in carry-on and checked baggage without any restrictions as long as they fit within the carry-on size restrictions. So it’s safe to assume that wired external monitors are allowed without any additional restrictions, just like any other common wired electronic device.

Depending on the airline’s size restrictions, passengers can carry monitors in the aircraft’s cabin as large as 22 inches. Larger monitors must travel as checked baggage.

Portable external monitors that contain a lithium battery are allowed both in hand and checked baggage, but when packed in checked luggage, they must be switched off and protected from accidental activation. TSA also asks passengers to take them out of their bags and place them in an individual bin when going through security. Furthermore, the external monitor must be charged, in case the TSA agent asks you to prove that it’s working and isn’t defective.

Rules for Flights in Other Countries

Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and China

On flights in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and China, it isn’t specified if external monitors are allowed in hand and cargo baggage. But, the rules are similar to the United States, and monitors are allowed in hand baggage if they meet the carry-on standards. Larger monitors must go in checked baggage.


European authorities don’t list external monitors as banned or allowed items, but they are allowed onboard for the most part. However, some airlines don’t allow larger monitors on planes at all, so passengers should consult with their air carriers before traveling.


On Indian flights monitors are allowed only in checked baggage and depending on its size, passengers might need to pay extra fees.


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 external monitors on planes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing External Monitors on Planes

What are the size restrictions for external monitors in hand and checked luggage?

Although it varies per airline, the general size restrictions for external monitors are the same as for normal hand and checked luggage. Most airlines restrict carry-on dimensions to approximately 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 35 x 23 centimeters) and 15-45 pounds (7-20 kg). External monitors must meet these requirements and be able to fit in the overhead bin or underneath the front seat. However, the measurements vary per airline, and passengers should learn their air carrier’s standards before traveling with an external monitor. External monitors over 21 inches must travel as checked baggage, which usually has a size limit of 62 linear inches (157 centimeters), which is the sum of height, width, and depth dimensions, and a weight limit of 50-70 pounds (23-32 kg).

Read Next: Can You Bring Gaming Consoles on Planes?

What’s the largest external monitor I can travel with (17, 24, 27, or 32 inches)?

Generally, the largest monitor you can travel with is a 32-inch monitor. Depending on the airline’s standards, you can carry monitors of 17, 21, and 22 inches inside the cabin as part of your carry-on allowance. However, larger 32-inch monitors will have to travel as checked baggage, either individually or inside your cargo suitcase. Some airlines might allow larger monitors as checked baggage, but you’re likely to pay extra fees for it. Keep in mind that the average size allowance for checked baggage is 62 linear inches in total. This means your external monitor’s total dimensions must amount to 62 inches (height + width + depth).

Should I pack external monitors in hand or checked luggage?

Overall, it’s best to pack external monitors in hand luggage when traveling in the United States. Monitors can easily break or get lost in checked baggage. If they fit in the overhead bin it’s best to bring them into the cabin. Generally, external monitors are allowed to travel as hand baggage as long as they comply with the airline’s standards for carry-on. If your monitor is too large to travel with it in the cabin, then your next best option is to pack it in a hardside suitcase or in its original packaging.

Read next: Is It Safe to Put a Laptop in Checked Luggage?

Can I have an external monitor in a cardboard box as my carry-on?

Yes, you can have an external monitor in a cardboard box as your carry-on with certain restrictions. External monitors are generally allowed as cabin baggage, but they must fit in the overhead bin with their packaging included. Packing your external monitor in the cardboard box is recommended if you don’t have a hard-case suitcase. This way, the brand and features of your monitor are easily recognizable if TSA has any questions about it, and the plastic foam protects the monitor from any damage.

Will I need to pay taxes when buying an external monitor overseas and returning home?

For the most part, you will have to pay taxes when you buy an external monitor overseas and return home. Passengers have to declare everything they buy overseas when they return home and pay duty on those items depending on their classification, value, and where it comes from. The US Customs and Border Protection allow duty-free exemptions of $200, $800, and $1,600 in merchandise as long as it’s for personal use. But, which exemption applies will depend on where you bought the monitor and how long you were traveling. If you buy your monitor in an insular possession and you’ve been out of the country for more than 48 hours, then the 1,600 exemption applies. If none of the exemptions cover your monitor or it surpasses the value of the exemption, you will have to pay taxes.

Read Next: Do They Check Hard Drives at Airports?

How many external monitors can I travel with?

Overall, there isn’t a specific limit to how many external monitors you can travel with. But, you can only pack as many monitors as each airline’s weight and size restrictions allow. In addition, if your monitors operate with lithium batteries, they might be subject to the electronics limit imposed by each airline. For example, American Airlines only allows a maximum of 2 electronics of the same type. As a result, passengers can only travel with a maximum of 2 external monitors if they operate with a lithium battery. The number of electronics permitted onboard changes per airline, so passengers should confirm the restrictions with each air carrier.

What’s the best way to pack an external monitor for travel?

The best way to pack an external monitor for traveling is to pack it in its original box, a hard case, or in a monitor carrying case. Packing the monitor in its original box is the best way to travel with an external monitor as a carry-on. Not only is the monitor protected by the plastic foam padding, but it’s easy to identify the model and specs in case TSA has any questions about it. If you’re carrying an external monitor that is small enough to fit underneath the front seat, and you’re taking a short trip, you can use a monitor carrying case. This makes it easy to carry your monitor wherever you go, and it protects the screen. But, the safest way to pack an external monitor, whether it’s as a cabin or checked baggage, is to use a hard case suitcase, like a hardcase Pelican suitcase. This type of suitcase can fit larger monitors and keep them protected with a padded interior.

Read Next: Can You Bring Desktop Computers in Checked and Hand Luggage?

Can I travel with an Apple iMac monitor?

Yes, you can travel with an Apple iMac monitor in the United States with certain restrictions. To travel as a carry-on, the Apple iMac monitor must fit in the overhead bin or underneath the front seat. For this, the Apple iMac monitor must be under 21 inches / 53 centimeters. Larger Apple iMac monitors of 27 inches / 67 centimeters inches or more will have to travel as checked baggage in a hard case suitcase or its original packaging.

What’s the best external monitor for traveling?

The best external monitor for traveling is the ASUS ZenScreen MB16AMT. It’s lightweight, portable, has USB C ports, mini HDMI ports, and a touch screen. A more powerful option is the NexiGo 144Hz Portable Gaming Monitor with a 144Hz display perfect for streaming and playing video games. It also works with a variety of devices including Mac and PC. Both monitors fit with most airlines’ carry-on standards and can be taken in the cabin when traveling.

Read Next: Everything You Need to Know About Traveling with Laptops

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