It's not uncommon to see a passenger at the airport sporting some kind of Bluetooth speaker.
Whether it's small, or large, they are very convenient for listening to music and podcasts without having to plug in your earphones.
Although, it's unlikely an airline will allow you to use speakers during a flight.
But what about bringing them on a plane? Are speakers permitted to be brought onto a plane with us? The answer is yes - but there are a few rules that you need to follow before boarding your flight.
When it comes to checked in luggage, your wireless Bluetooth speakers are allowed to be in your checked luggage. In theory this is absolutely correct.
If you check the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website, you will find that they say speakers are allowed in a bag that will be checked in. However, the catch here is that a Bluetooth speaker most times has an internal lithium-ion battery and that's where things start to get a little tricky with air travel.
According to the TSA, you can pack products with lithium-ion batteries with 100-watt hours or less into your luggage, if you follow special instructions. TSA don’t, however, specify that these products include most small Bluetooth speakers.
The regulations on lithium-ion batteries and what you need to do if you want to bring speakers with you when you travel can be found on the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) website.
When you hit the FAA site, do a quick search in a chart for lithium-ion batteries. The information they provide for travel is pretty clear and summarizes the following:
Devices such as a laptop, cell phone, mobile phone, camera, etc. are allowed in baggage to be checked in, although they should be taken as carry on. They also say: ‘most consumer products and, including but not limited to’. This creates a great big hole, which allows them to change their minds at any time when you're at the airport with your wireless speakers in a suitcase just about to check in.
This is most likely one of the reasons wireless speakers have gone missing from people's bags. Because different people who work at the airport understand the rules differently, when it comes to portable speakers with a built-in lithium-ion battery.
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So, yes, Bluetooth speakers are allowed to be in your checked in luggage according to all the regulations that are provided.
But, we would say, you should confirm this with your airline at the check-in counter, when you drop your luggage, as there may be a variance to the rule.
It seems that hand luggage is a little clearer on this and yes, you can take your Bluetooth speaker on board in your hand luggage. A few things to remember here is that we are talking about mini and smallish Bluetooth speakers like the ones below.
Obviously, if you turn up with a massive boombox or large speaker this would most likely not be acceptable as they would be too big as a carry on bag. Another reminder to clarify this with your airline at check-in as the regulations may differ between airlines - with some you may be allowed, with others not.
The reason, we say this, is if you aren’t allowed to take your Bluetooth speaker on board, it may not be able to be checked in either under certain circumstances like we mentioned earlier. And because of this, it can lead to your speaker disappearing in some cases when it's taken away to be checked later by airline staff.
If this does happen, the only way you will be able to claim the loss is, if you have travel insurance that covers your luggage and electronic devices, such as speakers, for loss.
Another point to be aware of: If you have spare lithium-ion batteries that you are taking with you on a flight, they must go as carry-on luggage. The rules stipulate that lithium batteries have to go as hand luggage. Once you are on board the aircraft, these batteries then need to be kept on your person for safety reasons.
The reason for that is that these kinds of batteries can have open terminals, which when touched together by coming in contact with other metals could cause a spark that in turn could cause a fire on board.
If your Bluetooth speaker has a battery that is installed inside the unit, this won't apply to you. You need to make sure it is turned off and wouldn’t come into contact with anything that may turn it on.
Also, there have been instances where airport security ask for the speaker to be turned on to prove that it is a Bluetooth speaker and not a bomb.
Bringing big speakers onto a plane generally will be fine, but they would need to be checked in as oversize baggage. These kinds of speakers would not be allowed to be brought on board with you either.
Also, bear in mind that if you are taking a large portable Bluetooth speaker with you on a flight, and you're going to check it in, there are a couple of things to check.
You will have to make sure the battery is less than 100-watt hours, or it won't be able to go on the plane.
Confirm with your airline before you fly to make sure you are allowed to take this kind of speaker with you.
It's best to plan everything in advance before you go to the airport to avoid having problems when you check in.
You can take Bluetooth speakers on planes as both checked baggage and carry-on luggage. The FAA recommendation is to take your Bluetooth speaker as carry-on luggage. If guidelines are followed correctly, your speaker can also be checked in.
Due to the fact most Bluetooth speakers have an internal lithium-ion battery, it can cause complications when you fly. Here is a simple checklist that you can follow to make sure you don't lose your Bluetooth speaker when you travel.
If you follow these steps and are still not confident flying with your Bluetooth speaker, it may be best to leave it at home when you travel long distance.
Most times you'll find that taking your Bluetooth speaker with you should be allowed.
It's just a matter of following the correct procedures on how to stow it when you're flying.
Any additional questions can be asked directly via the TSA at AskTSA on Twitter, and you will see these kinds of questions have been asked a few times.
Another requirement will be at airport security. You will be asked to have the portable speaker put into a tray, just like you would a laptop.
This is so the speaker can be scanned separately, just like a laptop is when you go through security.
If you want to make your travel even simpler, check out the TSA PreCheck portal. If you are registered, you won't need to go through the regular checks at airport security.
This includes things like having to unpack your laptop, removing your shoes, belts, light jackets as well as 3-1-1 liquids. It can only make travel with your Bluetooth speaker simpler.
Just remember that not only would it be rude, but you most likely would not be able to use your Bluetooth speaker while on a plane at all.
So, to conclude, as you are by now aware, Bluetooth speakers are allowed on planes. You just have to know the rules and how they need to travel with you. If you follow the rules, generally, you will be fine and won’t lose your precious speaker.
We have traveled all over the world carrying electronics with us and have never encountered a problem.
Lastly, check out our range of awesome Bluetooth speakers that are perfect for people who travel a lot and won't take up too much space in your luggage.