Can You Bring Walkie Talkies On A Plane? (TSA Rules)

Last Updated on October 21, 2021

Walkie-talkies are often used by security and law enforcement to communicate.

But you’ve seen the movies…

The bad guys often use two-way radios to communicate too.

So will you look suspicious if you pack walkie-talkies in your luggage when you fly?

And what about the batteries in them? Do they cause any problems?

Are you allowed to pack walkie-talkies in your carry-on luggage or do they need to be packed in checked luggage?

Let’s find out.

TSA Walkie Talkie Rules

The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t specifically mention walkie-talkies on their website.

They do have this listing about bringing radios.

So you can bring a radio on a plane in either carry-on bags or checked baggage.

But a walkie-talkie is a two-way radio. It’s slightly different.

To find an answer I looked on Twitter and I found that Jeron had already asked the TSA.

The TSA replied. “Two-way radios are allowed in carry-on bags. Please remove all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone and place them in a bin for X-ray screening”.

You can pack walkie-talkies in carry-on luggage. Take them out of your bag when you get to airport security and put them in a bin so that the TSA officer can carry out additional screening.

You can also pack walkie-talkies in checked luggage. However, it’s rarely a good idea to pack anything valuable in hold luggage. They could easily go missing.

There is also the issue of lithium batteries. If your walkie-talkies use lithium batteries then remember that loose lithium batteries are not permitted to be packed in checked baggage.

Installed lithium-ion batteries are allowed to be packed in hold luggage but make sure the device cannot be switched on accidentally. It could overheat and cause a fire.

To be on the safe side, where possible pack walkie-talkies using lithium-ion batteries in hand luggage.

Still Unsure? Ask The TSA

If you have any questions about bringing items on planes you can ask the TSA on Twitter and they’ll get back to you.

Jim asked about talking a portable HAM radio or VHF-UHT walkie-talkie in his carry on bag:

And the TSA gave him the go-ahead.

This passenger asked if a GMRS hand radio was permitted on the plane:

The TSA answered, “Hand radios are allowed in carry-on bags”.

Big Daddy asked about packing a handheld shortwave FM radio:

Michael wanted to bring a handheld weather radio for storm chasing on the plane:

All electronics larger than a cell phone need to undergo additional screening by TSA officers at the checkpoint.

But there shouldn’t be a problem to bring a weather radio on the airplane.

It’s only lithium batteries that you need to worry about. Larger lithium-ion batteries like those used in portable chargers are prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage. The size of batteries used for handheld radios won’t be an issue even if they are lithium-ion.

However, you can never pack loose lithium-ion batteries in checked baggage in case they set fire to the plane.

The final decision is always taken by the TSA agents that inspect your belongings.

The Bottom Line

Walkie Talkies are maybe an underrated travel accessory.

They are a great way for families to stay in touch when they are out and about exploring.

You can pack walkie-talkies in both carry-on bags and checked bags.

Remember you can’t pack any loose lithium batteries in your checked bag. If your walkie-talkie has an installed lithium battery you can pack it in checked luggage. However, it’s generally a lot safer to pack all electronic devices with lithium batteries in hand luggage when you can because of the fire risk and because of the risk of theft.

And lastly, you can’t use walkie-talkies on the plane so pack them away until you reach your destination.

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