The scary headline below should be a warning to all of us who travel with drones in our checked or carry-on luggage. Here's what I do, and it's worked well for me so far:
- I carry the drones in a Pelican case, which is checked luggage
- I enclose a note in the case explaining what they are, for the TSA to read. I use phrases like "robots for a competition" rather than use the word "drones".
- I carry the LiPos in my carry-on luggage, in a bag that clearly marks them as batteries.
Anybody else have other good drone travel tips?
Quadcopter drone group held in London airport on suspicion of terrorism
From the article:
It was just as the three performers were disembarking from their Dublin flight in London that their suitcases were swarmed in upon by customs officers at the new London Southend Airport.
"We were returning to London with our suitcases full of drones, batteries and wiring equipment. Customs scanned through the suitcases and their eyes widened," said Young.
He said the officers then decided to call in the special branch, whose officers began questioning the three performers about their projects and asked them to describe what the electronic drones were all about in layman's terms.
"They asked us what electronic countermeasures we were trying to achieve! They took all of our materials and asked us for weblinks and references. Then they went away and Googled the project."
After that, Young said each team member was taken away for individual questioning. "They were also quite interested to know if we had cars."
Robotic ballet in the sky
Young said they told the special branch that their performance was a robotic ballet in the sky to show how communities in cities can use technology to gather and share information.
"My concern was they might have thought we were going to incite terrorism with the upcoming Olympic Games," he said.
But, after two hours of repeated questioning, the performers were eventually allowed to continue on their way. That wasn't before their conversations were recorded under the UK's Terrorism Act.
"Our stop and search is now on their file. We're now in the system, so they told us they would be checking us against our case file if we pass though the airport again," added Young.