Jump to content

Can Gps Units Be Taken In Carry-on Luggage?

Recommended Posts

:anitongue: We will be flying on a commercial airline & want to know about taking our GPS unit with us -- hope to share our new love of geocashing with neices, nephews, and grandkids but don't want our GPS unit to be pilfered from checked baggage or confiscated at airport terminal. Anyone have any experience traveling by air with their GPS recently? All information wecome. Thanks! :anitongue:
Link to comment

There are no restrictions on GPS receivers in either checked or carryon baggage - use whatever you find most convenient.


Most airlines will let you use your GPS receiver during the flight whenever at cruising altitude but you'd need to have a window seat for decent reception and some airlines don't allow use of GPS receivers.

Link to comment

Back in 2003, I had flown on South West Airlines, which does allow the use of GPS units, and I had 2 GPS V's. I put one of them turned ON in the carry-on bag with it zipped in it's padded case. I had removed the antenna from the GPS V and stuck it on the bottom edge of the window with a 6 foot BNC cable connecting it to the GPS. The signal was weak going to the GPS because it was not amplified but I got a good tracklog of the flight.


I used a soft zippered carry-on for my expensive stuff, but my laptop did not survive the trip being banged around while going though checkpoints and such.

Link to comment

Email the airline customer service and ask if there are any restrictions. Most likely they will come back with they could not find any. Just in case you get a smart-a** that says no, just send another email and the next person will say yes.


Carry that email with you. I do this when I carry my R/C sailplane transmitters. I have had to pull out the email more than once in all my travels to get through airport security. I also include the model of the transmitter in the subject line of the email. I have flown all over the US and Europe doing this since 9/11.

Link to comment

Having it in Carry-on luggage falls under the TSA. They will allow you to get inside the secured area with one, no problem.


Using it on the airplane is up to the airline. Check to see what is allowed in the airline's in-flight magazine. I know Southwest allows them, American and America West do not. Also follow the direction of the flight crew. If they tell you to turn it off you need to do so. Otherwise you could find yourself in a headlock on the floor for the remainder of the flight! :ph34r:

Link to comment

That depends on where you are travelling. My first flight with a GPS was Mexicana Airlines, change planes in Mexico City. I didn't wan't to get hassled at security about the GPS, so I put it in my (unlocked) suitcase. Well, my bag did not make the connecting flight in Mexico City, and the next day, when I got it, guess what wasn't there?


Of course the airline said that it could have been taken in Chicago (another layover), or by customs. Of course I won't fly Mexicana again. (I miss my Sporttrak!)


I recently got a Garmin Ique M5 that I wasn't worried about taking through security, and managed to get a good fix from a window seat on my flight to Chicago.


So, to answer your question, go ahead, take it carry on. If you need to put it in your check thru, there are TSA approved locks available now The following is a link for info only, I do not own, endorse, or have ever dealt with the company in question:


TSA APproved baggage locks


Good luck,



Link to comment

last year I went on a cruise. I put my unit in my back pack and hoped for the best.I used the normal line, not the laptop check line at the terminal entry


it went through fine. I flew with it in my backback to miami and then on to the dock where customs rechecked it. I left my zippers unlocked so customs could check the bags.


on the way back I locked my pack. and at one airport it got a questionable look by several xray checkers who then got some kind of test strip and rubbed it against the zippers then stuck it in a machine with instant results. it passed so I was free to go.. I guess they were check for explosives or something. who knows...


no problems thought


I used those neon zip ties for bag identification. neat idea my friend told me about.

Edited by flir67
Link to comment

Absolutely no problem ... I travel around the world. I've a Garmin Ique M5 and it seems a PDA before to be a GPS. First of all the GPS is only receiving and could not be used only during take off and landing and anyway it must be approved from the crew. I switched off the bluetooth, the Wi-Fi and I did the tracking from Lagos to Accra and it has been fine (sometime some ZIG ZAG) ...


Enjoy ....


Massimo B 1972



Link to comment

My son took his GPS in his carryon. He wanted to see the cruising speed, altitude, and be able to say where we are at any given moment. He waited until the pilot okayed all electronic devices before he turned it on and he did have a window seat. No one gave us a problem and the xray machine didn't seem to cause any problems with it.

Link to comment

X-ray machines damage film because X-rays are beams of light (that our eyes are not able to see). Beams of light are generally harmless to electronic devices.


On the other hand, METAL DETECTORS can be a foe to electronic devices! They use magnetism (a form of electrical energy) to detect metallic objects. Electronic circuits are designed to have electrical currents flow in a particular direction. Metal detectors can cause electrical currents to flow through such circuits in the wrong direction, and if strong enough can damage those circuits and ruin the device.


So, go ahead and let your GPSr go through the X-ray machine.

Link to comment

Anyone have any negative experiences using United Airlines?


I am flying to New Hampshire from California with a layover in Chicago. I want to have my Garmin, laptop, and digital camera in my backpack that I plan to carry on.


It would be awesome to be able to know exactly what city and state we are seeing when we look out of the window :D!

Link to comment

Bet! Have a great trip!


I'm looking forward to my 2nd trip to Ecuador next week. Will be flying over the equator, and a trip to Quito and "La Mitad del Mundo" (Middle of the World - a theme park which is believed to mark the earth's equator) is planned. I bought my first GPS (an eTrex Legend) to see a latitude of S00° 00.000'. Turns out La Mitad del Mundo is about 500 feet from the actual equator! I missed getting to the actual equator due to bad weather on my first trip. This time, bad weather or not, I'm gonna get there with my 60C.


I had to hold my Legend up to the airplane's window the whole time to get a signal. My arm sure did get tired on that trip! Now I've got an external antenna with a window suction mount. I'll be able to get a signal from an isle seat :D


CLICK HERE to see "The Fake Equator" geocache. When I got back from my first trip, I did some research on the Internet about La Mitad del Mundo and GPS. This cache page always came up in my searches and THAT'S how I discovered Geocaching! :D

Link to comment

I'm taking the same trip again 2 years later and just checking to see if any regulations have changed regarding gps and carry on.


I'll be taking Delta this time with a layover in Atlanta. It'll be fun to see if East Coast geocaches are better than West Coast geocaches!!! :laughing:

Edited by Team Altrusia
Link to comment

I'm taking the same trip again 2 years later and just checking to see if any regulations have changed regarding gps and carry on.


I'll be taking Delta this time with a layover in Atlanta. It'll be fun to see if East Coast geocaches are better than West Coast geocaches!!! :laughing:


You definitely need a window seat for any sort of reception. Just flew AA from MA to CA and back. Window seat on the way there I had ~40' accuracy, middle seat on the way back I had no signal.


From my brief experience in caching in general so far, West Coast (at least where I was) was quite difficult. Primarily microcaches in highly populated areas, using really well done camo. Whereas the ones I've done here in MA are mostly in the woods in larger containers, where you can just walk around in circles looking for it without worry.


I also noticed that there was a MAJOR difference between the amount of caches in a small radius. My friend ran a pocket query for 300 traditional caches near her place, and it didn't exceed 6 miles. Just a giant blob of cache icons on the GPS. Craziness!

Link to comment


I went to Australia last October, and Qantas wouldn't allow use of the gps! This was a real disappointment, as I was crossing both the equator and the International Date Line for the first time, and I wanted to see! :rolleyes: OTOH, the last time we went to Italy, we flew Delta, which allows gps use. We had the jet stream on our tail, and my 60c was indicating 650 mph for about a half an hour. Cool! :P


Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...