Can You Bring a GPS Through an Airport?

By Nick Davis

When traveling by air, your GPS device and other small electronics need not be removed from your carry-on bag.
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Traveling by commercial airline involves going through a checkpoint that x-rays your carry-on bags and your person. Airport security requires that you remove laptop computers and other large electronics from their cases and have the devices screened individually. Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, like iPods, iPads, and other small portable electronics, can pass through an airport’s screening system without having to be removed from their cases or your carry-on bags.

Packing a GPS

Power off your GPS device and remove its SecureDigital card, if one is installed. Pack your GPS in its carrying case, along with the product's cables and SD card. Place the carrying case in your carry-on bag along with your other small electronics. Do not place the GPS loose in your carry-on bag – its display may become scratched or damaged and you may lose its cables and SD card.

In-flight Usage

Like other electronics, airlines do not allow you to power on your GPS during take-off or landing. Airlines want you to keep the device stored during these events. Once the plane is in the air, ask the flight attendant or other airline personnel if it is OK to power on and use your GPS, if desired.


Keep your GPS device and all other electronics in your carry-on bag when not in use. Place your carry-on bag under your seat or in an overhead bin to keep it safe from theft or damage. Do not leave your GPS on a tray, in a seat pocket, or other unattended area.

Airport Security Alarms

If an airport or Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent scans your GPS within your carry-on and the device triggers an alarm, you may be asked to remove the GPS from its case. Comply with the agent’s request and remove the GPS from your carry-on and its case. Also remove any cables that accompany the GPS, if any are present.