Walkie-talkies can be a very handy communication device to carry during vacations. They allow communication between family members and friends without the drawbacks of cellphones. This is because walkie-talkies utilize direct transmission of radio signals for establishing communication.
Since these radio signals are directly transmitted and received between handsets, they allow people to communicate even during times of disaster when cellphone towers are damaged or a signal cannot be found due to any other reasons.
However, one of the primary questions that many walkie-talkies raise is whether these handheld radio communication devices are allowed to be carried on flights.
It is natural to be confused about this fact, considering how electronic devices are notorious for causing trouble in airplanes by interfering with the signal.
The good news is that a person can indeed travel via air while carrying walkie-talkies, or as they are formally called, handheld two-way radio devices.
However, it is important for every walkie-talkie user to get all of their doubts cleared before they take their decision of traveling on planes with a walkie-talkie. This will ensure that the person has a hassle-free traveling experience.
Are Walkie-Talkies Allowed on Planes?
For a long time, walkie-talkies were prohibited on airplanes. This was simply based on the logic that all kinds of transmission devices would interfere with the flight’s systems.
This is because at times, these devices function on a similar, or even the same, frequency as the flight’s communication and navigation system. This will easily result in interferences if the radio is switched on and transmits signals.
As a result of these possible consequences, the decision to allow or not allow two-way radios on airplanes was a decision completely dependent on the guidelines issues by individual airlines.
However, with time, these guidelines were relaxed and also made consistent throughout all the airlines. Currently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for regulating various means of public transport, This includes air travel.
According to the TSA guidelines, walkie-talkies or two-way radios, as they are more formally referred to, are allowed on carry-on bags as well as checked baggage.
However, this rule has not been specifically made for two-way radios i.e. walkie-talkies but rather is extended to radios of all types and forms which are used for communication purposes.
Thus, there is no problem, at least in the USA, to travel on flights with walkie-talkies as long as a person is taking proper measures and cooperating with authorities and flight attendants.
How to Carry Walkie-Talkies on Planes?
The Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) clearly specifies the guidelines which allow walkie-talkies in carry-on bags as well as checked baggages.
However, despite this, there remains a lot of confusion surrounding carrying walkie-talkies on planes. Users of walkie-talkies must note that cooperation is the key point when traveling with walkie-talkies.
This is because despite having specified radios as items that have no prohibition on carrying them when traveling by air, individuals have at times been put under scrutiny because of their radio devices.
There are no legal or official troubles involved, so walkie-talkie users need not worry. However, at the same time, authorities might put them through certain questioning when they choose to travel with walkie-talkies.
The following is a list of the measures that a walkie-talkie user must take when traveling on planes with walkie-talkies:
1. Carry in Cabin luggage
It is preferable to carry the walkie-talkie in your carry-on bags rather than checked baggage. This is because when undergoing x-ray screening prior to the flight, authorities might detect the walkie-talkie and wish to examine it.
In such a case, having the walkie-talkie set in your checked baggages can be a hassle since they are so big and securely packed.
On the other hand, having the walkie-talkie in the carry-on bag allows the user to easily get the walkie-talkie out of the bag at the request of the TSA officials.
2. Carry License if Applicable
A lot of walkie-talkies require licensing. If an individual is carrying a walkie-talkie that requires proper licensing, it is essential to carry this licensing with them. This will allow authorities to cross-check that the walkie-talk you are carrying with you does actually belong to you.
Walkie-talkie licensing is regulated by Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Walkie-talkies that function on the General Mobile Radio Services (GMRS) and the Business Band require licensing.
These licenses are granted, provided that the user meets all the rules and regulations stipulated by the FCC. The GMRS is a radio service much like the Family Radio Service (FRS) i.e. it is open to the general public except that it needs proper licensing to make use of it.
The Business Band consists of the set of industrial/business pool frequencies that are utilized by advanced walkie-talkies, marketed as two-way radios, for carrying out professional and commercial communication.
3. Remove Batteries
Users of walkie-talkies are advised to always remove the battery pack of their walkie-talkie when they are carrying them during travel, especially air travel.
This is because if the battery pack is fitted inside the device, the device can switch on accidentally while traveling. This can be problematic since, as mentioned earlier, radio signals might interfere with a plane’s communication and navigation system.
In case of such incidences, especially if the individual whose walkie-talkie was causing the issue had been warned by officials about the possibility of this problem, the walkie-talkie user might end up in trouble.
4. Safe and Secure Packing
Keep the walkie-talkie safe and in optimized storage conditions while traveling with it. This rule applies not just for air travel, but for any kind of travel, in general.
Proper storage is a necessity to ensure a long life for walkie-talkies, and the guidelines for safe storage must be followed during travel too. The best way to ensure that a walkie-talkie is being stored and carried safely is by inspecting the instruction manual that accompanied it when it was bought.
These instruction manuals usually contain all the guidelines in detail that need to be followed for keeping the device safe.
Can Walkie-Talkies Be Used in Planes?
Walkie-talkies, or in fact any kind of communication devices that make use of radio signals for establishing communication, are not allowed to be used on planes.
Hence, all types of walkie-talkies will have to be switched off along with all other electronic devices when the flight attendants request passengers to do so.
This is because radio signals sent out by electronic devices have the chance of interfering with a flight’s various systems. This can include the navigation, sensory, and collision-prevention systems.
Though advancement in technology has allowed an aircraft’s equipment to be almost fully shielded from these intrusive radio waves, flight personnel still do not want to take any risks in case there is any interference that causes things to go astray.
Thus, a walkie-talkie user must follow all the instructions given to them by flight attendants regarding switching on and off as well as usage of electronic devices on the plane.
Traveling on planes with walkie-talkies is fairly easy. A person just needs to be aware of all the finer details involved so that the authorities do not raise any objections to the walkie-talkie being carried and there are no disturbances caused during the journey.