Welcome Mavic Pilot!
Jump in and join our free DJI Mavic community today!
Sign up

Drones banned from Carry-on luggage flying through Narita Airport, Tokyo, Japan

scubaddictions

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
31
Reaction score
26
Had an odd experience during a short layover in Narita Airport yesterday, flying between Hawaii and Indonesia. Had my Spark in my carry-on, as would seem the most logical. Had to go through an x-ray security check transiting between terminals and they saw my drone and I was firmly but politely informed that it couldn't be allowed in carry-on luggage. Not sure if just for the specific airport, all airports in the area, or Japan in general. The security agent's english wasn't perfect so at the time I couldn't get a reason for such a restriction. Their solution was for us to check out through immigration, go to the ticketing counter, check my drone in as checked luggage (with insufficient packing to protect it!) then head back in through immigration/customs/security, with the looming deadline of the next flight leaving in less than an hour. They literally just wanted to wave me on my way to sort it out on my own.

Long story short, one of the agents took pity on me and physically walked me through the entire airport, allowing me to bypass most of the lines and helping to translate with various gate and ticketing agents. If she hadn't done that I would have missed my flight by probably 45 minutes, throwing the following flight and final destination in question. With her help I got to my gate with minutes to spare.

Even crazier, the drone actually arrived! Not sure it's entirely intact, I flew a short flight last night and the gimbal seemed a little jittery. Last minute checked luggage that they had to transition through two more flights on two different airlines. If anyone is wondering what case I was using, it was this one:

Amazon.com: Deyard Waterproof Case Portable Hand Bag Carrying Suitcase for DJI Spark Drone: Toys & Games

You can imagine how absurd that little thing looked popping out onto the luggage turnstile at my final destination.

Once I finally arrived and got settled I went Googling, and eventually found that it is a temporary restriction (about 7 weeks) for the Imperial Enthronement Ceremony. Exactly what in the **** that ceremony has to do with drones being allowed in carry-on luggage through that airport escapes me entirely. I can't really find very much information about it at all, other than here:

Notice for Customers Using Narita Airport between 19 Oct (Sat) and 26 Oct (Sat)

Also can't believe how poorly advertised the restriction was. During my entire airport tour there was exactly one poster I could find referencing the restriction, without explanation (at least no explanation in English).

https://www.narita-airport.jp/files/drone_poster.pdf

Plus, even though was flying on Japan Airlines to that airport there was nothing posted at my departure airport, and nothing mentioned by the staff as the drone went through my carry-on for that first flight.

On the one hand I can't say I'm totally blameless, I might have been able to uncover this obscure restriction with enough prior research, though maybe not.

Thoughts?
 

AMann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2018
Messages
2,553
Reaction score
2,397
Location
Southern CA
The are worried about things that go boom or have sharp pointy parts.
 

jb380

Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
6
Actually that's extremely weird seeing that items with the sort of battery these drones use is supposed to be carried in the cabin.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dan C

AMann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2018
Messages
2,553
Reaction score
2,397
Location
Southern CA
Actually that's extremely weird seeing that items with the sort of battery these drones use is supposed to be carried in the cabin.
I agree its weird, and I hope they never let people check in the lithium batteries, unless they make special holds for flammable electronics like that.
 
Last edited:

MPone

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
382
Reaction score
415
Location
Fort Myers, Florida
I'm glad I didn't go thru Narita on the way back to the USA. My drone would have been devastated since I never had a check-able suit case when I travel. Thanks for sharing this info.
 

scubaddictions

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
31
Reaction score
26
Actually that's extremely weird seeing that items with the sort of battery these drones use is supposed to be carried in the cabin.
True. They specifically made me split up the package, move the batteries back into my carry-on and check the drone itself.
 

tleonhar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2018
Messages
82
Reaction score
38
Age
70
I suspect that same restrictions are in effect for other airports too. HND, NGO, KIX?
 

GB1Yorkshire1

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
40
Reaction score
41
The majority of citizens from the USA are sadly lacking in any knowledge of the laws, customs and politics of other countries! Many people believe that US law is the standard world wide and behave with this in mind. Sadly this is not the case, expecting information to be placed in English advising that the area was in a restricted air space would probably not happen as they assume you can read the language of the country you are visiting.
 

barrybcar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
57
Reaction score
18
Location
Boise Idaho
Is it possible that they have had some idiot with a toy assembled it and tried to fly it on board sometime in the past and this is their solution for that?
 

MAvic_South_Oz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
2,392
Reaction score
1,561
Age
57
Location
Adelaide, South Australia, the great southern land
Is it possible that they have had some idiot with a toy assembled it and tried to fly it on board sometime in the past and this is their solution for that?
Yes, an internet YouTube ‘star’.

Edit - YouTube link removed, don’t want to give this more hits.
If you want to see it search YT for > flying drone in a flying aircraft

It was a first class suite on an Emirates flight.

Emirates banned drones as carry on after this.

 
Last edited:

scubaddictions

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
31
Reaction score
26
Is it possible that they have had some idiot with a toy assembled it and tried to fly it on board sometime in the past and this is their solution for that?
Possible, but not likely this particular ban is related to any such specific incident. Only at a certain airport, and only for less than two months surrounding a ceremony that doesn't seem to have anything to do with airplanes. I keep throwing logic at the situation and it never sticks.
 

gnirtS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
3,105
Reaction score
2,186
Japan also has the rugby world cup currently but i cant see wht that would affect things either.

Maybe a compromise solution would be drones allowed carry on provided the props are checked in - in other words, it cant fly.
 

GB1Yorkshire1

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
40
Reaction score
41
Japan also has the rugby world cup currently but i cant see wht that would affect things either.

Maybe a compromise solution would be drones allowed carry on provided the props are checked in - in other words, it cant fly.
The Emperor of Japan is recognized as almost God like in standing and respect
His coronation has both a ritual and religious symbolic significance
Though in my opinion the World Rugby championship should have equal status sadly it’s not ( Except in Wales)
 
All E RC Mavic Drones

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
73,305
Messages
849,055
Members
100,439
Latest member
aovgun