Traveling with a Tripod on a Plane: Everything you should know

If you have got your first international assignment as a professional photographer, you must be concerned about carrying your photography gear onboard, especially, a big and bulky item like a tripod. Not just for the first assignment, even if you regularly travel by plane for photography but never took your tripod on international flights, it’s a matter of concern for you!

Fret not! You have landed on the right post as we will share in this write-up everything about traveling with a tripod in a plane. You will come to know how you can take a travel tripod in your carry-on bag. And what terms and conditions will apply to you for carrying this in your tote bag?

Can You Carry a Tripod On an Aircraft?

Can You Carry a Tripod On an Aircraft

So, the first question is can you bring a tripod in an airplane? The answer to the question isn’t straightforward.

Airlines and airports differ in terms of the rules about tripods for carry-on luggage and check-in baggage. These rules also vary depending on what country you are flying from or to. Not only that, the answer also depends on what type of tripod you intend to carry (monopod vs. tripod).

Taking all these pieces of information into consideration, it is very much possible that 20 people could all have different answers to the same question without any one of them being wrong.

To help break down some of these variables, here is a list of some common scenarios in which people would want to take a tripod onto their flight:

Some Rules for Traveling with a Tripod on a Plane

As we already mentioned, the rules of different airlines vary when it comes to taking a tripod on a plane journey. Take a look at some of the likely options below—

  • Get it on the plane as carry-on luggage and place it in the overhead bin or under your seat.
  • Pack it in your check-in baggage for transporting.
  • Pick up a distinct checked bag just for your tripod and get it checked at the gate
  • Pay an extra fee for your bulky tripod and carry it in addition to your carry-on and any personal items.

How to know if Your Tripod is allowed on board?

To know if you can fly with your tripod, a number of factors you have to note.

Look at the rules and regulations of what the country you are traveling says about flying with a tripod. Bear in mind, banned items’ list changes frequently. So, it is salient to double-check with your country and airline before packing your tripod.

Airlines too have different policies, so it is crucial to confirm the rules of your airlines and class of ticket. Just because one airline allows tripods on flights doesn’t mean that all do.

Check out some of the ways you can adopt to know about tripod allowance on flights—

  • One of the easiest ways to check the rules of countries and airlines is visiting the airline or country’s website. There you can find information about what is and isn’t permitted on board, including permitted size for carry-ons.
  • Another way is to call the customer service department directly through which you can speak with a representative who can provide you with specific information about whether tripods are allowed on board.
  • On top of that, social media pages like Facebook and Twitter of the airline and country can be used to ask questions or get answers, even though response time here may be more sluggish than other methods.

Can a Tripod Fit in your Carry-on Luggage?

Well, it entirely depends on the size of your carry-on luggage as well as the tripod. If your bag is smaller than the tripod, the bag can’t accommodate the tripod. On the contrary, if it is bigger or at least of the same size, your tripod can fit into your carry-on bag.

Hence, make sure to grab a bag that can accommodate your carry-on bag. Don’t forget to check how well your tripod fits into the bag beforehand, so you can avoid any hassle later.

Packing a Tripod for a Plane Trip

Packing a Tripod for a Plane Trip

As a tripod is a tall photography tool, you have to focus on a few factors while packing it for your plane trip. Firstly, the turntable should be placed inside a padded bag or zippered case.

While checking in at the airport, put the head on top of your carry-on bag so that they consider it as luggage and don’t take it away before boarding. Swap the screws holding the head in place with twist ties or rubber bands, so that nothing gets lost during transport.

It’s also important to inform the airline staff at check-in before departure as to whether you have a tripod and whether its legs extend below a certain height. And don’t forget to let them know if you have any fragile and sensitive items being carried onboard like glass or ceramic components.

Some of the Risks of Bringing a Tripod on a Plane

The disconnected tripod should fit into the bag without any hitch. But bringing a tripod onto an aircraft is not all roses. You may face problems from TSA as well as on the plane itself. Let’s check out some of the risks associated with carrying a tripod on a plane —

  • The tripod may get damaged during transit or you may be compelled to check it in, especially if your carry-on bag is bigger than the space under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin.
  • The TSA may not permit your tripod on board owing to its total length, even though it may fit within the permissible size limits for carry-on bags. Security agents have massive freedom here and can make their own rules at any time concerning what they consider perilous and what they don’t.
  • Your check-in luggage, including your tripod, may get lost or stolen during transit if you’re traveling with a shoddy airline that doesn’t commit to protecting your bags.
  • Your gear could be attached by security personnel if you’re traveling to a politically unstable country where tripods are deemed as potential weapons against authority figures like police, army, etc.

What If You Want to Snap Pictures While Flying?

What If You Want to Snap Pictures While Flying

While flying, it’s possible and allowed to take pictures. And I myself have snapped many pictures while flying. But there are certain factors that you must keep in your mind before shooting photographs —

  • Avoid shooting while taking off and landing as during this time, you should be seated upright with your seat belt on.
  • Don’t hinder and trouble flight attendants by moving on the aisle to take shots while they are in service
  • Be watchful not to discomfort and discommode your fellow passengers with your photo shooting.
  • Don’t take out optional camera accessories like a tripod, flashlight, external camera screen, etc. on board

Salient Tips for Flying with a Tripod

We have covered the most important points concerning flying with a tripod. Still, there are certain facets you should note before flying with a tripod in your carry-on baggage. Check them out underneath —

Leverage a Travel Tripod

Leverage a Travel Tripod

You might already know that there are different types of tripods available in the market. But we would always recommend using a dedicated travel tripod in flights. A small and light size travel tripod would do the job nicely. It would fit well under the height limit of the cabin baggage allowance when fully folded.

Paying for Early Boarding is a Good Idea

When you’re traveling with your camera gear, it’s always a smart and intellectual approach to get on the plane as early as possible. It highly enhances your chance of getting space in the overhead luggage bin without your bag being too closely inspected.

Be Nice and Cool

A smile and an amiable manner show a positive gesture with the airline staff. If you can win their hearts, they’ll go out of their way to assist you. On the contrary, if you are troubling them or making their lives hell, there’s a high chance they’ll look for opportunities to take revenge like sending your camera bag to the hold.

Keep other Passengers in Mind

Keep other Passengers in Mind

Flying with camera gadgets is tricky. It’s pricey and delicate, but also weighty. You should always go to toe the lines of what’s actually permitted by the airline’s policies. Keep your fellow passengers in mind and don’t bring unnecessary stuff on the plane. Whatever equipment you bring, you should always keep an eye on them.

Get Your Tripod Insured

You may be circumspect while flying with your photography gadgets, including your tripod but still mishaps can happen at any time.

A desperate passenger might accidentally drop your carry-on while trying to get to their seat. Even a passenger may end up taking your bag considering it’s theirs. So, as a precaution, it’s a smart approach to invest in a good insurance policy that covers your tripod and other camera gadgets.

What Various Countries Say About Flying with a Tripod?


As per the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website in the USA, tripods are allowed in both carry-on bags and checked bags. However, the final decision on whether a particular item is allowed to carry through the checkpoint counts on the TSA officer.

What it means is that tripods are usually allowed on airplanes, but it’s always best to double-check with a TSA officer if you have any doubts or worries. It’s pivotal to note that rules and regulations can change anytime, so it’s always wise to check the TSA website before flying with tripods.


If you visit the Europa website, it does not state any specific rules with regard to carrying a tripod on board. Usually, items are permitted as long as they are not on the prohibited item list.

However, the website does categorically state that any sharp objects that might be used as arms are not permitted in the aircraft cabin and must be packed in check-in baggage.

So, that shows you must make sure your tripod does not have any sharp pieces, such as spikey feet. If you are not sure about whether your tripod will be allowed to carry on-flight, we recommend reaching out to for clarification.


As per the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) website, there is no specific mention of tripods being banned in carry-on or check-in baggage. However, the final decision on whether an item is allowed on flight banks on security officers.

We advise you to visit the CATSA website before traveling with tripods, as rules and regulations can change all of a sudden.


According to the Australian Infrastructure, transport, and regional development dept (DITRDCA) website, camera tripods, monopods, and similar photography equipment are allowed in checked baggage, but not in carry-on baggage.

This is owing to the fact that these items have sharp edges or points which could pose a security risk. The final decision concerning whether an item is permissible on a plane is subject to the discretion of the security personnel.

As mentioned before, it is always best to consult with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development for more information on security-related items.


According to the website, tripods are not explicitly proscribed for carry-on or checked baggage on an airplane. That being said, the website does state that “Airport security staff will not allow anything that they consider perilous— even if it’s usually allowed in hand luggage.”

So, like most airlines, your tripod might not be allowed provided it is determined to be dangerous by security staff. If you are in doubt whether your tripod will be allowed, we suggest you reach out to for more information.


According to the Chinese Airlines website, camera tripods are not permitted as carry-on baggage and are restricted as part of perilous goods. Tripods fall under the “Dangerous Goods” category and are not permitted as cabin baggage.

It is salient to note that the rules and regulations are subject to change, hence it is always best to consult with for more information on security-related items.


According to the website, there is no particular mention of tripods being proscribed in carry-on or check-in bags.

However, the website does unambiguously state that any pointed or sharp objects that might be misused as weapons are not permitted in the aircraft cabin and must be packed in check-in baggage.

If you have any doubt or concern whether your tripod will be allowed, we advise you to reach out to website for further information.

Ready to Fly with a Tripod?

Tripod helps in camera stabilization and tilting as well as panning too. And these are key factors in photography, especially in professional photography. So, if you are a pro photographer, a tripod will surely be one of your top choices as a camera accessory.

While traveling abroad for photography, you would naturally crave to carry it on board. As we clarified above that different countries and airways have different rules and policies, you have to abide by their rules to carry your tripod smoothly.

The bottom line is you can take your tripod in almost all the countries. The only thing is that some countries and airlines allow both carry-on and check-in luggage while others only allow checked luggage. So, whatever the rule may be, gear up to travel with your tripod, either on board or off board!