Rules for Flights in the USA
The US flight authorities allow bringing radio devices both in carry-on and checked luggage in the United States. That said, most airlines prohibit using radio devices during flight because they might interfere with the hardware on airplanes.
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand
The rules for bringing radio devices on planes in Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, are identical to the US – they’re allowed in hand and checked luggage, but passengers are forbidden from using them on the plane.
The United Kingdom and China
The United Kingdom and Chinese flight authorities don’t have specific rules for radios, but they’re considered “Portable Electrical Devices”, which are allowed in hand and checked luggage. However, the use of all types of radio during the flight is forbidden.
Radio and stereos aren’t listed as dangerous goods by Indian authorities, but satellite phones are prohibited from entering India without a special permit. In India, using certain radio frequencies requires a special license. Owning equipment that can syntonize and transmit those frequencies without a government license is illegal. It’s best practice to avoid packing any type of radio device when traveling to India.
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 stereo and radio devices onboard airplanes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Stereo and Radio Devices on Planes
Are all types of Radio devices allowed (handheld, VHF, CB, HAM, marine, etc.)?
All types of radio devices are allowed on airplanes in the United States including handheld FM Radios, VHF, HAM, and marine radios both in carry-on and checked luggage. But, the use of radios is restricted on planes due to the possibility of interference with the plane’s systems. Passengers traveling with radio devices should also pack their cables neatly by using velcro cable ties since multiple loose cables might be a motive for additional inspection.
Can I bring radio devices on planes that use dry, single-use, disposable batteries?
Travelers can carry radio devices that use dry batteries (A, AA, AAA, C, and D) on airplanes in the United States. Although they’re allowed both in carry-on and checked baggage, it’s recommended to pack electronics in the carry-on suitcase to prevent any fire incidents in the cargo area.
Can I bring rechargeable radio devices on planes that use lithium batteries?
Travelers can bring rechargeable radio devices that use lithium batteries on flights in the United States with certain limitations. Devices with lithium batteries over 100 watt-hours are allowed only in checked baggage. Devices with batteries under 100 watt-hours are permitted in carry-on and also in checked baggage if the batteries are installed on the device.
Do I need to remove radio devices when going through security?
You should remove your radio devices along with other electronics when going through airport security in the United States. Current rules establish that every electronic device larger than a phone must be removed from hand luggage for screening.
Is it better to pack radio devices in hand or checked luggage?
Overall, it’s advisable to pack your radio with other electronics in your hand baggage if the batteries follow the on-flight battery standards, and if it fits in your carry-on.
Can I bring car stereos and amplifiers on planes?
You can bring your car stereo and amplifier on flights in the United States. Although car parts without any fuel are allowed both on carry-on and checked suitcases, to travel inside the cabin, the stereo and amplifier should comply with the airlines’ carry-on standards. It’s advisable to consult with your airline about how to travel with your car stereo and amplifier ahead of your trip.
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