Can You Bring Magnets On A Plane?

credit: Yay

It is a well-known fact that magnets tend to interfere with specific navigational equipment. This may lead some to wonder whether they can carry magnets when taking a flight, as they may be concerned that it could interfere with the navigational equipment on a plane.

According to the TSA, you can take magnets with you on your flight as carry-on or checked-in luggage. It is, however, essential for you to note that the on-duty TSA officer has the final say as to whether you may take the magnet with you on the plane.

Are Magnets Allowed On A Plane?

Magnets don’t fall into the category of dangerous goods, so they can be taken as luggage on a plane. In addition, most magnets people choose to travel with are relatively small and, therefore, not strong enough to interfere with a plane’s navigational equipment.

Should a magnet be particularly large or strong enough to interfere with a plane’s navigational equipment or pose any safety risks, the TSA officer on duty may have the final say as to whether you can take the magnet with you on the flight or not.

The magnets that most people take on flights are usually souvenirs, such as fridge magnets, and are typically small enough not to disrupt any of the aircraft’s navigational systems. However, this is not always the case, as some need to take items that use stronger magnets with them on their flights.

What About The Different Types Of Magnets?

There are different types of magnets, each of which could potentially raise some issues when trying to transport them on a flight. The four main types of magnets are rare earth magnets, neodymium magnets, refrigerator magnets, and industrial magnets.

What About Refrigerator Magnets?

Refrigerator magnets are the most common type of magnet with which people travel. One can take these types of magnets on flights, as they are not strong enough to cause any disruption to the navigational system of an aircraft.

What About Rare Earth Magnets?

Rare earth magnets can potentially disrupt an aircraft’s navigational system. Thus, if you need to fly with rare earth magnets, they must be placed in packaging specially designed to block the magnet’s magnetic interference.

You can find rare earth magnets in items such as fishing poles, specific tools, and technology such as hard drives.

What About Industrial Magnets?

Industrial magnets have a strong magnetic field around them, which can potentially interfere heavily with the navigational system of an aircraft. Industrial magnets are often used in pumps, motors, and generators.

Industrial magnets are usually quite heavy-duty and must be handled with care by trained professionals.

What Are Neodymium Magnets?

Neodymium magnets have a powerful magnetic pull that can cause harm to an individual, as they can be attracted to one another from several feet away. Should an individual get in between two neodymium magnets coming together, it may result in injury to the individual.

Neodymium magnets can potentially interfere with an aircraft’s navigational system and are found in most handheld devices such as smartphones, screens, and televisions.

All devices must be switched off during takeoff and landing and must be switched to “flight mode” while being used during the flight to stop the devices from interfering with the plane’s navigational system.

Are Magnets Used In Aircraft Navigation?

The earth has a strong magnetic field around it, allowing people to use magnetic compasses to pinpoint direction. In addition, the magnetic poles are slightly off from the earth’s rotation, so using the earth’s axis and the geographic poles, magnetic compasses can provide one with the most reliable directional navigation.

Navigational systems on an aircraft use a magnetometer allows one to identify the strength and the direction of a magnetic field. This tool enables aircraft and air traffic controllers to use the earth’s magnetic field to determine the direction and act as a guidance system for an aircraft.

Using a magnetometer to navigate aircraft is even more accurate than today’s GPS technology. Therefore, the GPS navigational system in an aircraft is used purely as a backup measure.

How Can Magnets Impact The Navigational System Of An Aircraft?

The navigational system of an aircraft uses a magnetometer as its primary method for navigation, as it is the most accurate and reliable source of direction. Therefore, if something were to interfere with the aircraft’s magnetometer, it would result in the aircraft heading in the wrong direction. 

Therefore, if anything were to interfere with or cause the magnetometer of an aircraft to stop working correctly, the aircraft would switch over to using its built-in GPS navigational system as a backup option.

Since a magnetometer measures magnetic fields to determine direction, any interference from other magnetic fields from strong magnets, such as rare earth magnets and neodymium magnets, may cause the aircraft’s navigational system to give incorrect readings and therefore head toward a wrong destination.

Can You Bring Magnets Through Airport Security?

It would a good idea for you to contact the TSA a few days before your flight to find out whether you can take your magnet with you on your flight, should you be unsure of what type of magnet you have or whether it is considered potentially dangerous goods.

If you cannot transport your magnet on the flight, the first option a TSA officer will give you is to trash the magnet; otherwise, they will return the magnet to you, but you may not take it on the flight with you. 

You can then organize to send the magnet home or find a way to ship it to your destination should you desperately need to have it with you.

Can You Bring Magnets On A Plane As Carry-On Luggage?

Unless you want to take industrial-grade magnets with you on a flight, it is likely that the magnet you want to take with you isn’t classed as dangerous goods or items and will be permitted to be taken on the flight with you as a carry-on or even check-in luggage.

Most devices everyone uses in society contain some form of magnets, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. You are allowed to take these devices with you when flying; therefore, most magnets should not pose an issue when trying to fly with them.

Can You Bring Strong Magnets On A Plane As a Carry-On?

Due to strong magnets posing a possible safety risk that may affect the navigational system of an aircraft, these strong magnets are classed as dangerous goods and cannot be taken as carry-on luggage.

Strong magnets must be transported on a flight under strict conditions. Depending on the size of the magnet and the strength of its magnetic field, one may not be able to bring the magnet on the flight with them at all.

What If One Accidentally Takes a Strong Magnet On A Plane?

Most people who want to take magnets with them on a plane that are strong enough to disrupt an aircraft’s navigational system on a flight usually know whether their magnet may be considered dangerous goods due to its large physical size or strong magnetic field.

In that case, most people would ship the magnet to their destination instead.

However, suppose you have a magnet that may be considered dangerous goods packed in your carry-on or check-in luggage. In that case, the TSA will search your bags and remove the suspicious magnet from your luggage.