Can You Bring Keyboard On A Plane?

Musical keyboards, with their versatile ability to compose, arrange, and perform music, have become an indispensable tool for musicians of all levels. Their portability and diverse range of sounds make them particularly attractive for artists on the go. The question of whether you can bring a keyboard on a plane is of significant interest to traveling musicians and hobbyists alike.

Historically, traveling with musical instruments has always presented unique challenges. In the golden age of travel, instruments were often mishandled or subjected to extreme conditions, leading to damage. However, as travel became more commonplace and the number of musicians touring internationally grew, airlines and regulatory bodies began to recognize the importance of allowing passengers to transport their instruments safely. Today, with globalization at its peak and cultural exchange more prevalent than ever, being able to travel with musical instruments like keyboards is now considered routine, though it is subject to specific airline regulations and security protocols. Understanding these guidelines is essential for ensuring that your instrument arrives safely at your destination alongside you.

can you bring a keyboard on a plane

Can You Take Keyboard On A Plane?

Yes, you can take a keyboard on a plane as either carry-on luggage or checked baggage. When bringing a keyboard as carry-on, it’s important to ensure that it fits within the airline’s size restrictions for cabin baggage. If it’s too large, it may need to be checked. Keyboards are generally considered personal electronic devices, and as such, they are subject to security screenings. If you’re traveling with a valuable or sensitive keyboard, consider using a hard case for added protection. For musicians or professionals who rely on their keyboards, taking it on a plane allows them to have their instrument or tool with them, avoiding the risk of damage or loss associated with checked luggage. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the guidelines for traveling with keyboards on airplanes, including tips for packing and handling during your journey.

Carrying Keyboards on USA Domestic Flights: TSA Regulations

When planning to bring a keyboard on a domestic flight within the United States, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. This ensures a smoother experience at the airport security checkpoint and complies with the rules set forth for air travel.

TSA Guidelines for Keyboards in Carry-On Bags

  • Keyboards are allowed in carry-on luggage without any specific size limitations, but the final decision rests with the TSA officer.
  • It is recommended to take out the keyboard from the carry-on bag and place it in a separate bin during the security screening process, similar to how laptops are screened.
  • For more detailed information or updates on regulations, checking the official TSA website before traveling is advisable. A source of reference can be found at TSA’s official page regarding musical instruments here.

Keyboards in Checked Baggage

  • Travelers can pack keyboards in their checked luggage, which may be ideal for larger or bulkier items.
  • It’s crucial to package the keyboard securely to prevent damage during transit, using bubble wrap, foam, or a hard case.
  • Airlines might have specific weight and size restrictions for checked baggage, so consulting with the specific airline before packing is recommended.

Airline Policies Regarding Musical Instruments

Different airlines may have varying policies when it comes to transporting musical instruments, including keyboards. Here are some considerations to bear in mind:

  • Some airlines may allow musical instruments like keyboards as a carry-on item if they fit into the overhead bin or under the seat in front.
  • If an instrument is too large to fit in the overhead compartment, airlines may require the instrument to be checked or a seat to be purchased for it.
  • Always review your airline’s policies on musical instruments prior to traveling, as these can differ and may change without notice.

Additional Tips for Traveling With Keyboards

  • Label your keyboard case with your contact information in case it gets separated from you during your travels.
  • Consider insuring your keyboard if it’s valuable or irreplaceable, as airlines typically have limited liability for damage or loss.
  • Arrive at the airport early to allow extra time for the screening of your keyboard, especially if it’s packed in your carry-on luggage.
✔ Pros ✖ Cons
Allows you to work or play during the flight May be subject to additional screening
Keeps your device safe with you rather than in checked luggage Occupies space in your carry-on baggage allowance
Can be used as a backup in case of hotel keyboard malfunctions Could be considered a bulky or unnecessary item by some airlines
Familiar layout and feel, improving efficiency Potential damage risk during handling or in the overhead bin
No need to adapt to different keyboards when traveling May not have enough space to use comfortably on small tray tables

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides general guidelines for the transportation of musical instruments, which can be applicable to keyboards. As per IATA, musical instruments are often considered as carry-on or checked baggage, but specific handling may vary depending on the airline. The guidelines suggest:

  • Checking the dimensions and weight restrictions for carry-on and checked baggage.
  • Considering the purchase of an extra seat if the instrument is fragile or cannot be secured properly in the overhead bin or under the seat.
  • Ensuring that the instrument is properly packed in a hard case to prevent damage.

For the most accurate information, it is recommended to refer to the IATA’s regulations on their official IATA Website or consult with the specific airline you are flying with.

Can you Bring a Piano Keyboard on a Plane?

Traveling with a piano keyboard presents a unique set of considerations, but with the right preparation, it can be a smooth process. The first step is to check with your airline regarding their specific policies for musical instruments, as size and weight restrictions can vary. Most airlines allow musical instruments like piano keyboards as checked luggage or carry-ons, provided they meet the size requirements for overhead bins or under-seat space.

It’s essential to pack your keyboard in a hard case with adequate padding to protect it from damage during transit. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines for musical instruments can provide further clarity. The TSA generally allows musical instruments as checked or carry-on luggage but be prepared for a possible inspection.

For the most up-to-date information and detailed guidelines, visiting the TSA website’s section on traveling with musical instruments is highly recommended. This proactive approach will help ensure that your journey with your piano keyboard is as harmonious as the music you create.

For more information, please visit the TSA website on musical instruments.

Country Specific Regulations

When flying internationally with a keyboard, it is crucial to be aware of the country-specific regulations that may affect how you can transport your instrument. These regulations can vary widely from one country to another and may include specific rules about the size, weight, and packaging of musical instruments. It is important to research the regulations of your destination country as well as any countries you may transit through.

United Kingdom

Citation: UK Government Website


Citation: European Union Website


Citation: Canada Government Website


Citation: Australia Government Website

New Zealand

Citation: New Zealand Government Website


Citation: Relevant government websites for specific Asian countries.


Citation: Singapore Government Website

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with a Keyboard

Different airlines have their own specific regulations when it comes to flying with musical instruments like keyboards. It is essential to check with the airline before your trip to understand their policies and ensure a smooth travel experience. Below are the regulations from 10 different airlines regarding flying with a keyboard.

American Airlines

  • Policy details for musical instruments.
  • Options for carry-on, checked baggage, or purchasing an extra seat.

Citation: American Airlines Website

Delta Air Lines

  • Guidelines for carrying musical instruments.
  • Information on size and weight restrictions.

Citation: Delta Air Lines Website

United Airlines

  • Carry-on and checked baggage options for instruments.
  • Details on extra seat purchase if necessary.

Citation: United Airlines Website

Southwest Airlines

  • Instrument transportation policy.
  • Advice on packing and handling during the flight.

Citation: Southwest Airlines Website

Air Canada

  • Specifics on flying with musical instruments.
  • Guidelines for carry-on and checked baggage treatment.

Citation: Air Canada Website

British Airways

  • Details on instrument carriage as hand luggage or checked baggage.
  • Instructions for when an instrument exceeds size limits.

Citation: British Airways Website


  • Transportation options for musical instruments.
  • Information on booking an extra seat for large instruments.

Citation: Lufthansa Website


  • Policy for musical instruments on board.
  • Details on packing requirements and size restrictions.

Citation: Qantas Website


  • Guidelines for transporting musical instruments.
  • Options for carrying instruments on board or checking them in.

Citation: Emirates Website

Singapore Airlines

  • Carriage information for musical instruments.
  • Advice on booking additional seats for large instruments.

Citation: Singapore Airlines Website

Why Careful Packing is Important

Packing your keyboard properly in your luggage is crucial to ensure its functionality and safety during transit. Whether you’re traveling with a musical keyboard or a computer keyboard, minimizing the risk of damage from shocks, moisture, or pressure is essential to arriving at your destination with your equipment in the best possible condition.

General Tips Before Packing

  • Check Airline Regulations: Before even starting to pack your keyboard, be sure to check your airline’s regulations regarding carry-on and hold luggage size and weight limits.
  • Detach Accessories: If your keyboard has detachable parts, such as a stand or a pedal for musical keyboards, remove them to prevent any pressure damage during travel.
  • Consider Disinfection: Given the current health concerns, you might want to disinfect your keyboard before packing it.
  • Back Up Your Settings: For digital keyboards, backing up your settings or recordings can prevent data loss in case of tech failure post-travel.

Packing in Carry-On Luggage

In most cases, it is advisable to pack your keyboard in your carry-on luggage. This keeps it within your control and typically subjects it to less rigors than checking it in.

  • Choose the Right Bag: Select a padded sleeve or a carry-on that fits the keyboard snuggly to prevent it from moving inside the bag.
  • Bubble Wrap: Wrap the keyboard in bubble wrap, ensuring all sides and corners are protected, then place it inside the padded sleeve or bag.
  • Additional Padding: If there’s extra room, fill the gaps with clothing or foam padding to immobilize the keyboard.
  • Positioning in the Overhead Bin: Place your bag with the keyboard in such a way that it does not get crushed by other luggage—ideally in a bin above your seat or safely beneath the seat in front of you.

taking musical keyboard through airport security

Packing in Hold Luggage

If you must pack your keyboard in your hold luggage, take additional steps to cushion it against impacts.

  • Hardshell Case: A hardshell case specifically designed for your keyboard model is the best protection during rough handling.
  • Internal Padding: Inside the case, use bubble wrap or foam inserts to make sure the keyboard cannot move.
  • Waterproofing: Consider moisture by putting the keyboard in a plastic bag before wrapping it for an additional layer of protection against any spilled liquids.
  • Fragile Label: Affix a fragile label on the case to encourage gentler handling by baggage personnel.
  • Security: For additional security, lock your case if possible, and take photos or note down any unique identifiers for the keyboard case should it go missing.

Travel-Friendly Tech Accessories Similar to Keyboards

When flying, in addition to a portable keyboard, you might consider packing a slim wireless mouse for easier navigation on your laptop or tablet. Noise-cancelling headphones are another essential, providing a respite from the hum of the airplane engines. For those who prefer to read or watch movies, an e-reader or tablet with a long battery life is ideal. Portable power banks are crucial for keeping all your devices charged, especially on long flights. Lastly, a compact external hard drive or flash drive can be useful for extra storage or for transferring files between devices while on the go. All these items are designed to enhance your productivity and entertainment experience while traveling.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Keyboard On A Plane?

When you’re planning to travel with musical instruments or equipment, it’s essential to understand the regulations and guidelines for air travel. Many travelers have questions about carrying items such as keyboards on planes. The following FAQ section aims to address common concerns and provide information regarding traveling with a keyboard on an aircraft.

Can I bring a keyboard on a plane as carry-on luggage?

Yes, you can usually bring a keyboard as carry-on luggage as long as it fits within the airline’s size restrictions for carry-on items. It’s best to check with your specific airline for their dimensions and weight limits.

Do I need to get special permission from the airline to bring my keyboard?

Special permission is not typically necessary, but you should inform the airline ahead of time if you’re planning to bring a large keyboard that might require extra space.

Will my keyboard count towards my carry-on allowance?

Yes, your keyboard will count towards your carry-on allowance. If you have additional items, make sure you comply with the airline’s policy for the number of allowed carry-on items.

Are there any fees for bringing a keyboard on a plane?

Fees will depend on the airline’s baggage policy and whether the keyboard requires extra handling or exceeds standard size and weight limits.

How should I pack my keyboard for air travel?

You should pack your keyboard in a hard case that is designed for musical instruments to provide adequate protection during handling and flight.

Can I bring a keyboard stand as carry-on luggage?

Keyboard stands can usually be brought on board if they collapse to fit within carry-on dimensions; otherwise, they’ll have to be checked in.

What if my keyboard is too large for carry-on?

If your keyboard exceeds carry-on size limits, you will need to check it in. Ensure it’s well-protected in a sturdy case and be aware of potential additional fees.

Are there restrictions on bringing a keyboard through security?

No specific restrictions, but your keyboard will still need to pass through the X-ray scanner. Be prepared to take it out of its case if requested by security personnel for further inspection.

Can I protect my keyboard against potential damage during the flight?

Yes, use a hard case and consider adding extra padding or bubble wrap. You might also want to insure your keyboard against loss or damage.

What should I do if my keyboard is damaged during the flight?

Report the damage to the airline before leaving the airport, document it with photographs, and keep all travel and inspection documents for any insurance or compensation claims.

Packing It All Up

Traveling with a keyboard—be it a musical instrument or a computer peripheral—is entirely feasible on airplanes, provided certain guidelines and regulations are followed. For musical keyboards, passengers are often permitted to carry them as checked baggage or carry-on, depending on the size and airline policies. It’s crucial to consult with the airline regarding their specific size and weight restrictions to avoid any inconveniences at the airport. In the case of computer keyboards, they pose no significant concern for security and are typically allowed in both checked luggage and carry-ons. Protective cases and careful packing are highly recommended to safeguard these fragile instruments and devices during transit.

Moreover, for international travel, it’s important to remain cognizant of the customs regulations of the destination country to prevent any unexpected legal issues regarding the transportation of electronic equipment. Taking additional steps, like ensuring that lithium batteries comply with regulations or considering shipping options for larger musical keyboards, can facilitate a hassle-free journey. By being proactive and prepared, musicians and computer users alike can rest assured that their keyboards will accompany them safely to their destinations, allowing them to get back to work or play without missing a beat upon arrival.