Can you take a tripod on a plane: a comprehensive guide

A tripod can be crucial for photographers and videographers to achieve those stunning, steady shots. Whether you’re embarking on a professional journey or want to preserve your travel memories, you may want to bring a tripod. And a question arises: Can you bring a tripod with you on a plane?

Overall, yes. You can bring a tripod on a plane either as carry-on luggage or in checked bags. But there are some restrictions.

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Understanding airline regulations

When it comes to airline policies, there are often variations among different carriers, including how they handle personal items, checked, and hand luggage. 

Variations in policies among different airlines

Luggage size restrictions as well as weight restrictions for your carry-ons and checked baggage may vary slightly from one airline to another.

United Airlines, for example, generally allows passengers to bring only one carry-on bag and one personal item (purse, laptop bag, small backpack, or briefcase) for free. 

Baggage restrictions

Generally, major carriers like United Airlines,American Airlines, and Delta allow bringing a tripod as either hand luggage or in checked bags, as long as it adheres to size and weight restrictions.

The tripod should ideally fit within the carry-on size limits of 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches and weight limits of 40 pounds to be allowed onboard without additional fees as one of the carry-on items or in carry-on bags.

However, if the tripod exceeds these dimensions, it must be checked in and may be subject to additional fees.

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Carry-on vs checked baggage

When thinking of whether to bring a tripod with you as a personal item and not to check it in, consider the following advantages and disadvantages of carry-on luggage

Pros and cons of cabin luggage for a tripod

  • Safety and protection. When you carry your tripod in a carry-on bag, you can ensure that it is handled carefully.
  • Immediate access. Having your tripod in the overhead bin or under the seat as carry-on luggage in front of you allows quick and easy access to it during the flight.
  • Limited space. Especially on crowded flights, overhead bin can fill up quickly.
  • Potential damage. While carrying your tripod in the carry-on luggage gives you more control, there’s still a risk of it getting damaged if the overhead bins are tightly packed.
  • Taking up space. In a cramped cabin, your tripod may occupy valuable space that could otherwise be used for your carry-on bag.

You may not like the idea of bringing a tripod with you. Then you will have to check it in and leave it inside or with the rest of your checked bags.

Pros and cons of checked luggage for a tripod

  • Extra space. Checking your tripod frees up valuable space in the cabin for your carry-on luggage.
  • Less hassle at security. You won’t need to worry about disassembling it during the airport security screening process, potentially saving time
  • Lost or delayed baggage. There’s a chance of your luggage getting lost or delayed during the travel process, which can be inconvenient, especially for time-sensitive photography assignments.
  • Baggage fees. Some airlines charge extra fees for checked baggage. This could add to your overall travel costs.
  • Limited protection. While many airports and airlines take precautions to protect checked luggage, there’s still a chance of theft or mishandling, potentially resulting in damage to your tripod.

Ensuring the tripod’s safety during the flight

To avoid potential issues during security screening, travelers with tripods should take certain precautions:

  • When approaching the security checkpoint, you can inform security personnel that you are carrying a tripod.
  • Cover the tripod’s spike feet and its sharp edges during travel. This simple measure can keep your tripod safe and reduce the risk of the tripod being perceived as one of the prohibited sharp objects.
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Types of tripods allowed on a plane

There are different types of tripods you can take with you.

  • Traditional tripods are the most common and widely used. While standard tripods provide excellent stability and versatility, they are considered to be larger and heavier tripods, making them more suitable for checked luggage.
  • If you consider bringing tripods (multiple!) it is reasonable to take a look at a travel tripod. It is designed for portability. A travel tripod features lightweight materials and collapsible legs, making it suitable for both carry-on bags and checked baggage.
  • Gorillapod-style tripods are known for their flexible legs that can grip various surfaces. Monopods are single-legged supports that offer portability. Both of these may fit in your carry-on baggage.

Researching airline policies

To understand whether your tripod is eligible for carry-on or it will have to go into checked-in luggage, you need to research airline policies.

Checking specific airline rules on their website

Checking airline rules is crucial, especially when it comes to traveling with camera gear. Major airlines often have specific guidelines regarding the weight and size of checked and carry-on baggage and even restrictions on the tripod count on their web pages.

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Contacting the airline’s customer service for clarifications

If the guidelines regarding carrying a tripod or camera gear on the website were unclear, it’s best to contact the airline’s customer service department directly. They can provide a detailed answer and explain their specific requirements.

You can’t know for sure whether your personal item is eligible since the final decision rests with the security agents.

Additionally, some airlines offer support through social media pages, and you can easily ask them whether you can bring a tripod on a plane to get the most excessive answer.

Dealing with unexpected challenges

Unforeseen issues may arise, but that’s OK. Let’s break down how to deal with them.

Tripod as a potential security concern on a plane

Tripods can raise security concerns when taken on a plane due to certain features and characteristics. TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has a special list of rules. 

Security personnel pays close attention to tripods as they have the potential to be perceived as a security risk or even a potential weapon.

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Screening procedures at an airport security checkpoint

To facilitate the screening process, travelers carrying tripod as carry-on luggage may be asked by airport security to disassemble them. 

This action allows TSA officer to inspect camera equipment and to ensure that there are no prohibited items hidden within the tripod.

Unforeseen security issues and resolutions

To avoid issues,

  • cooperate with officers
  • know airline limits for carry-on and checked baggage
  • keep in mind TSA rules
  • arrive early
  • disassemble if needed

Research custom rules for international flights and be prepared to explain why you bring a tripod on a plane with you.

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Conclusion: dealing with airline staff if problems arise

Stay calm if you suddenly face any difficulties with your tripods. If the TSA officer has concerns with size and weight limits, they promptly inform you. Know your rights as a passenger and consider contacting customer service for further assistance if needed.


Let’s review the most common questions about bringing tripods on a plane.

Can you bring tripod on airplane?

The short answer is yesTripods and other camera gear are allowed by most airlines but with some size restrictions. You can bring a tripod on a plane as a carry-on or personal item if it fits weight and size restrictions, otherwise, it needs to be checked in.

Should I take a tripod travelling?

Since tripods are generally allowed by most airlines, you may bring a tripod with you if you want to capture your journey flawlessly. The final decision is up to you!

Can I carry-on a tripod Delta?

Delta limits carry-on sizes to 22 inches long. A camera tripod, being long and thin, might get a pass if it is longer than 22 inches, but that would mean it would take up space from other passengers. No maximum weight applies to carry-on bags, except for some locations.

Does Southwest allow tripods?

Camera tripods are allowed on Southwest flights. You can bring tripods as a carry-on, or you could check it in as a second checked bag at no charge.

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