Are binoculars allowed on planes?


are binoculars allowed on planes?

You may have a pair or two of binoculars and you want to take them on the holiday with you for better observation, but the real question is: Are binoculars allowed on planes?

Are the binoculars allowed on planes? The answer is yes, there are no restrictions on carrying binoculars with you on an aircraft, both in the hand luggage and checked luggage, as per following the flight guidelines.

Following the international flight guidelines in most of the countries around the world, there are no restrictions or whatsoever when it is about taking a pair of binoculars on the aircraft, however, there are a few things you may want to take into consideration.

Recently I travelled with my Nikon Prostaff 7S 10×42 binoculars on hand luggage and was no problem at all.

Are binoculars allowed on planes? Taking binoculars on the planes with you.

If you consider taking a pair of binoculars with you, I am guessing that this has a price tag which may be expensive, I would strongly not recommend to put them in the checked hall luggage for some obvious reasons:

  • There are reports around the world with personal items being stolen from checked luggage, and a pair of binoculars makes it an easy target.
  • The luggage are thrown from side to side and not handled with care. I have had personally seen many times how the staff throw the luggage when boarding them into the aircraft. A pair of binoculars is yet to be handled with care to avoid damage.
  • Having the binoculars in the cabin with you to ensure the safety of your items, as you are handling the hand luggage.

The aircraft pressures

It is also well known that there is a difference of pressure in the aircraft on high altitude compared to the ground level.

Although the binoculars are safe to carry and board into an aircraft, I do have to mention that some of the expensive binoculars are filled in with dry nitrogen gas or other elements at different pressures.

If your item is bad quality, there is a very tiny slight chance that your binoculars may “implode” or leak the nitrogen gas. But nothing to get you scared, there are no reported cases whatsoever, but discussions on the forums about the potential risk.

The binoculars have “O” rings to hold the nitrogen in. If some leaks, the air will return to replace the regular pressure as per aircraft, and no damage may be caused to the binoculars.

The nitrogen gas in binoculars is pretty common nowadays. Most of the binoculars are filled in with nitrogen gas to remove any impurities and to avoid any moisture to form inside the binoculars or fungus growing over time, making the binoculars resistant to use in any extreme weather conditions.

One pair is okay. Maybe two. But no more.

As per following the international aircraft boarding guidelines, with binoculars same as many other expensive items, one or two are okay to carry but ensure that you do not have a full bag of binoculars, or you may have to answer some questions

If you have more binoculars and expensive items to carry with you, it is the best practice to declare those items before boarding in, in order to avoid any complicated issues.

Taking binoculars with a camera or image stabilisation into the aircraft.

When you may think “what’s the difference if my pair of binoculars have a camera or not” you must answer yourself a question: what type of batteries does my binoculars holds?

The same goes if you have image stabilisation, as usually those pair of binoculars may hold batteries to function properly, the same as the infrared ones.

If the batteries are lithium-ion, make sure to follow the guidelines per your country of departure when carrying any items or electronics with lithium-ion batteries.

In this specific case, your binoculars may fall under the category of electronics. Every country have different rules about carrying electronics, therefore, in this case, I would recommend to read or contact the airlines of your country of departure for any queries.

But in most of the cases, you will be able to take your binoculars in the aircraft although it may have lithium-ion batteries. Ensure that you will put this in the tray when entering the security gates, the batteries are charged and the device is working with the batteries. It is possible to be asked to prove that the device is working properly with the batteries and if it does, it won’t be any issues.

Related questions: What about scopes and telescopes?

The monoculars are a small version of the scopes and represent no issues to board in with it. You can have it even in your pocket as they are small enough to take with you anywhere.

Can you take scopes into the plane with you?

When we consider taking scopes into aircraft, this applies the same guidelines as taking a pair of binoculars. However, some security guards may pose this a threat if they consider that you may carry a sniper (I know it is dumb, but they take their jobs seriously).

For this reason, I would recommend carrying the scope into your hand luggage and it may be helpful to mention when this is getting scanned that your scope is for observation purposes only.

Can you take telescopes into the aircraft with you?

In the case of carrying a telescope with you, this is another matter to take into consideration: THE SIZE OF THE TELESCOPE

If the telescope is small enough to take it into your hand luggage, this should be fine, however, if this is bigger it may be a problem.

I would strongly NOT recommend putting your telescope into your checked hall luggage as this is a very fragile element and easy to be stolen unless you have a special case for it which makes it safe to carry around and locked strong luggage.

However, some telescopes may have the same gas composition as binoculars, so it is a good practice to remember this if you are willing to take your telescope into an aircraft.

Think about size and weight also. However, some of the airlines may have the option for an extra price to allow you to carry sensitive and fragile items which may be handled and stored with care, such as musical instruments (guitars).

My recommendation for you is to get insurance for the telescope before boarding it in, even with the airlines for fragile items. This means you may have to declare it. However, not all airlines may have this option but some of them do.


Using a pair of binoculars in the aircraft

If it happens for you to have a place near the window and can see through, there is no reason why you cannot use a pair of binoculars to see cities from above 10.000 meters. This would be a great experience.

Is the same conclusion of using a mobile phone or camera to take pictures from the plane. There are no legal restrictions to mention that you cannot do any of that, of course, if you feel comfortable enough.

However, it is well known that you need to be very steady when watching through a pair of binoculars, in special if the magnification is above 8x or 10.

Doing this in an aircraft, as the aircraft induce additional movement shake, it will be difficult to have a great experience. And also, ensure that you are safely using them without to hit yourself, others, the aircraft or binoculars due to the turbulence on high altitude.

The sweet spot conclusion about if you are allowed to take binoculars on planes.

Well, in the end, you have to think: how expensive is your item, how many precautions you want to take in order to protect it and what are the actual risks imposed by carrying or using a pair of binoculars in the plane.

If your item is a truly expensive one, make sure you have them insured for any possible worst-case scenarios.

But this would be your decision in the end. So, once more, there are no actual restrictions to carry a pair of binoculars with you in any aircraft around the world.

If you have any additional information to add, edit or you want to share your personal experience, please write in the comment section below and I will do my best to respond to you in the shortest possible time.

But for now, farewell my friend and have a safe flight. Do not forget to follow our blog for more great tutorials and information about binoculars, scopes and telescopes and give us a share to our article “are binoculars allowed on planes”.

Gabriel Mihalcea

Passionate about binoculars, photography and blogging with years experience behind, I love to split my time and observe the beauty of this world with different eyes.

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