Can You Take an RC Car on an Airplane? Essential Guide to Navigating Air Travel With Your RC Car

Ever wondered if you can take your favorite RC car on your next flight? You’re not alone. It’s a common question among RC car enthusiasts planning a trip. Whether you’re heading to an RC car race or simply want to enjoy your toy during a vacation, knowing the rules about flying with RC cars is crucial.

Air travel regulations can be complex and confusing. It’s not always clear what items are permitted in your carry-on or checked luggage. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This article will provide clear, easy-to-understand information about taking RC cars on airplanes.

So, buckle up and get ready to learn everything you need to know about traveling with your RC car. You’ll be well-prepared for your next journey, ensuring your RC car arrives safely at your destination.

Key Takeaways

  • An RC car can be taken on an airplane, but there are stringent rules related to carrying potentially hazardous materials, especially regarding lithium batteries used in RC cars.
  • According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, lithium batteries with energy up to 100 Wh, can be carried on a flight without special approval. Those with an energy rating between 100 Wh to 160 Wh require airline approval, and batteries over 160 Wh are not allowed.
  • You can place your RC car (minus batteries) in your checked baggage and the batteries need to be safely packed in your carry-on luggage to adhere to airline policies.
  • If you’re packing the RC car in your carry-on luggage, it and its battery should be packed separately, ideally in their original packaging or in bubble wrap and separate plastic bags.
  • Clean your RC car thoroughly before travel and try to disassemble it for easier security screening. If possible, use the original packaging. If that’s not available, bubble wrap each part and place them in separate bags for protection.
  • The journey through security screening may involve X-ray screening and possibly a physical examination. Disassembling your RC car before travel can ease this process. Be prepared for the security process to prevent surprises on the day of your flight.

Traveling with an RC car involves understanding airline policies and preparing for security checks. Informative videos like those found on YouTube offer guidance on flying with RC cars, drones, and batteries, addressing common questions and concerns. The RC community on Reddit provides a platform for sharing experiences and tips on using RC vehicles at airports and during travel. Furthermore, for detailed legal and safety considerations, R/C Tech Forums discuss transporting RC cars as luggage, ensuring hobbyists are well-prepared for their next adventure.

Understanding Air Travel Regulations

Getting a firm grasp on air travel regulations is the first step to resolving your question: can you take an RC car on an airplane? Know this truth: airlines have a stringent set of rules when it comes to carrying potentially hazardous materials – and yes, that includes items like RC cars.

RC Cars and Lithium Batteries

The main issue with taking RC cars on planes is usually the lithium batteries they use. These batteries are considered a potential fire hazard by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). High-energy lithium batteries can overheat and ignite in certain conditions. So there are very specific regulations governing the transport of such batteries on airplanes.

Here’s a nugget you probably didn’t know: you’re permitted to bring lithium batteries with an energy rating of up to 100 watt hours (Wh) on your flight without needing any special approval. If you have Lithium batteries with more than 100 Wh but not more than 160 Wh, you’ll need airline’s approval. Finally, lithium batteries over 160 Wh are strictly prohibited.

Energy RatingPermission Required
Up to 100 WhNo special approval required
More than 100 Wh but less than 160 WhAirline approval required
Over 160 WhNot permitted

But how do you check the watt hours of your RC car’s battery? It’s simple: the packaging of many battery packs feature this information. If it’s not there, you might be able to check it out within your car’s manual. If you still can’t find the information, try reaching out to the manufacturer directly.

Checking in Your RC Car

When it comes to how you should pack your RC car, it’s usually recommended the RC car be placed in checked baggage. Why so? It’s because loose batteries, often housed in RC cars, are required by many airlines to be transported in cabin baggage.

So, here’s the deal: place the RC car (minus batteries) in your check-in luggage and the batteries need to go into your carry-on luggage. Ensure both are packed securely and properly to avoid any damages during transit.

Your journey to successfully bringing your RC car onboard begins now: gather this newfound knowledge, check your batteries and prepare for a smooth take-off.

Carry-On vs. Checked Luggage: Where to Pack Your RC Car

Naturally, you’re curious about where to stow your RC car: carry-on or checked luggage? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think and primarily depends on the energy rating of your lithium battery.

If you have anything bigger than a 100 watt-hour (Wh) lithium battery, unfortunately, it must be transported in checked luggage. Batteries exceeding 160 Wh are outright prohibited on flights and those between 100 Wh and 160 Wh require airline approval. Here’s a quick rundown of the FAA regulations:

Energy ratingCarry-onChecked
Under 100 Wh✔️✔️
100-160 Wh✔️ (With approval)
More than 160 Wh

Packing your RC car in your checked bag? Keep in mind that the lithium battery needs to be removed and transported separately. You can place the battery in your carry-on bag, provided it meets the energy rating restrictions. Above all, be sure to closely adhere to these regulations to avoid any unwelcome surprises at the airport.

Just a word of caution while packing your RC car in checked luggage. Although it may feel counter-intuitive, it’s better to disassemble your RC car as much as possible. It’s not just for the safety of the car – it also makes it easier for security personnel to identify its parts during screening.

When packing in carry-on luggage, your RC car and its battery should be packed separately, ideally in their original packaging. If that isn’t feasible, wrap the car and battery separately in bubble wrap, place them each in separate plastic bags, and pad the remainder of the space with clothing.

Preparing Your RC Car for Air Travel

Now that you’re aware of the important battery considerations, let’s talk about preparing your RC car for the journey. Keep in mind that preparation is key for a smooth travel experience with your RC car. Whether it’s bound for checked luggage or your carry-on, your toy needs some special attention.

First and foremost, clean your RC car thoroughly. Like any other item, dirty or dusty objects can raise questions during screenings. Ensure all dirt, sand, and unsure materials are removed to avoid any holdup.

Next is disassembling the RC car. While this isn’t a strict requirement, taking it apart may ease the screening process. Disconnect body clips and shocks, remove wheels, and extract the motor if possible. This leaves no room for doubt in the screening process since all parts are separately visible.

Another recommendation is using the original packaging if available. It not only provides optimal protection but also validates the authenticity of your gadget. Sometimes, original packaging can even assist in faster screening as it may include all necessary product information.

On the off chance you don’t have original packaging, bubble wrap each part individually and place them in separate bags. This ensures each part remains secure and protected during the journey. Remember that the lithium battery should also be packed separately as discussed in the previous section.

Adherence to transportation rules is vital. But equally important is the physical condition of your RC car. Investing a little preparation time can save you a lot of trouble at the airport. Therefore, ensure each step is diligently followed while packing your RC car for flight. Keeping the FAA regulations in mind, with a little preparation and patience, your RC car can safely fly with you.

Security Screening Process for RC Cars

When you’re all set to head for the airport with your RC car, it’s key to understand the security screening process. RC cars are often subject to closer scrutiny compared to conventional luggage items due to their particular make-up and potential safety concerns.

Initially, your luggage will pass through an X-ray screening. By disassembling your RC car, you’ll ensure that the RC components are clearly visible to the security personnel, reducing the likelihood of additional checks. Bear in mind the potential for extra screening; it’s always a good idea to allow a bit more time for this component of your journey.

After the X-ray screening, there may be a physical examination. This might include a visual inspection or a wipe-down test for explosive traces. If you’ve cleaned your RC car properly, this won’t pose a problem. Remember to pack small parts in clear bags so that they can be easily inspected without losing or damaging any pieces.

However, the screening process can vary depending on the airport’s security protocols and the personnel you deal with on your travel day. Indeed, some airports might have stricter rules than others. You might want to do a little research on the specific airport for peace of mind.

Throughout the process, your adherence to the security protocols and transparency about the RC car components will be instrumental in ensuring a smooth, hassle-free process. And remember, keeping your RC car in spotless condition is not just about presentation, but also about maintaining good condition for playing after you’ve arrived at your destination.

So, keep these factors in mind and disarm the potential hurdles of the screening process. With adequate preparation and understanding of the procedures involved, you’re paving the way for a seamless journey with your prized RC car.


So, can you take an RC car on an airplane? Absolutely! With a bit of preparation and knowledge of the screening process, it’s possible to travel with your RC car hassle-free. Remember to disassemble your car and pack its components in clear bags to facilitate the screening. Researching airport-specific rules can also save you from unexpected surprises. Don’t forget, keeping your RC car clean not only helps during security checks but also ensures it’s ready for action when you reach your destination. So go ahead, pack your RC car and get ready to enjoy it on your next adventure. Safe travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare my RC car for air travel?

To prepare your RC car for air travel, disassemble it to make the components visible for security screening. Pack little parts in clear bags for better visibility, and remember to maintain cleanliness to preserve its condition post-flight.

What is the importance of understanding the security screening process?

Understanding the security screening process allows you to prepare your RC car adequately, facilitates security checks, ensures adherence to airport rules, and avoids unnecessary delays.

Should I disassemble my RC car before traveling?

Yes, it is recommended to disassemble your RC car for easier and smoother security screening.

What is the purpose of packing small parts in clear bags?

Packing small parts in clear bags assists the security personnel in performing more efficient checks, possibly including physical examinations or explosive trace tests.

Can the airport screening process for RC cars vary?

Yes, the screening process can vary by airport. Therefore, doing research on specific rules of the airport you are using is beneficial.

How does the cleanliness of the RC car influence the traveling process?

Maintaining the RC car’s cleanliness aids the screening process and helps preserve the RC car’s condition for use after the flight.