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Can You Take DJ Equipment On A Plane? What You Need To Know

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Being booked for a gig in a different country is extremely exciting. That is, until you realise that you may have to take your own equipment with you.

Can You Take DJ Equipment On A Plane?

Yes, DJ equipment can be taken on a plane, either as carry-on or check-in luggage. Most airlines will allow “musical instruments” as check-in luggage, even if they are larger than the allowed dimensions. It obviously comes down to the discretion of the individual airline, but being nice to the staff will go a long way.

The size and weight of the DJ equipment you are taking with you will determine whether you can keep it in the cabin with you or if it has to be checked into the hold.

Where should you keep your equipment?

As DJs, we all tend to be very protective of our equipment. Naturally, we would like it if it was in the overhead compartment near us where we can keep an eye on it.


If you have a small or medium-sized DJ controller or other equipment of a similar size, then you will most likely be able to carry it onto the plane as hand luggage.

When taking DJ equipment on the plane as hand luggage, try to board the flight as early as possible, even if this means paying extra for the privilege.

Hand luggage is given priority on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you are, the more likely you will be to keep your prized possessions nearby.


If you have one of the larger DJ controllers on the market or other equipment of a similar size, then it may be too big to take onto the plane as hand luggage. If your equipment exceeds the allowed size dimensions, it will likely exceed the weight restrictions too.

If you find yourself in this situation, you will be left with no option but to check your DJ equipment into the hold. When checking DJ equipment into the hold, ask if it is possible for the item to be placed in the temperature-controlled section of the plane.

Although a lot of DJ controllers are built with high quality components, avoiding exposure to the extreme temperatures of a plane at 37,000ft is definitely recommended.

How can you protect your DJ equipment on the plane?

Although your DJ equipment could be damaged anywhere, it is likely to require less protection in the cabin than it will when checked into the hold.

Bag, sleeve or cover

If you are able to carry your DJ equipment onto the plane as hand luggage, then I would suggest that you invest in one of the many bags that are available for most of the popular DJ controllers on the market. This way, you can also carry your other essential travel items in one of the pockets.

A lot of bags provide ample padding to protect against damage

However, some of the bags available can be expensive. If they are beyond your budget, you may want to opt for a protective sleeve or a decksaver cover as a cheaper alternative.

Flight case

In circumstances where your DJ equipment will be placed in the hold, a flight case will offer the most protection. They are expensive to buy and will add a considerable amount of extra weight, but they will ensure that your DJ equipment reaches your final destination in one piece.

If you are concerned about additional safeguards for your equipment, then you may opt for a flight case that has a combination lock, or means of adding your own padlock.

Will you get stopped by airport security?

If my personal experience is anything to go by, yes!

If you are travelling with a DJ controller, the chances are that you will have a laptop with you too. You may also have hard drives, cables, FX units and other DJ essentials.

Upon seeing this unknown electronic equipment, it is highly likely that the security officer will want to take a closer look and ask you what the equipment is for.

Once you explain that you are a DJ travelling for a show, they will probably become more curious about the DJ lifestyle than suspicious of the contents of your bag.

Can you insure your DJ equipment?

If you are travelling to a different country for a gig, then you should already have travel insurance in place.

The good news is that standard travel insurance policies provide coverage for electronic items. The bad news is that the amount of coverage is typically very low, with individual item limits usually set at around $300. When you factor in an excess/deductible of $50-$100, it doesn’t provide much in the way of helping to replace your damaged or stolen items.

Even if you only do gigs in your own country, I would still recommend taking a policy to cover your DJ equipment.

While I don’t know about other countries, there are policies available in the UK and the US which offer a good level of cover for as little as 5% of the purchase amount of the insured items.

What other equipment can you take?

All small items such as microphones, headphones, hard drives, cables etc should be allowed to be taken as hand luggage. As discussed, some of the bigger DJ controllers may need to go in the hold.

If you are considering taking larger items such as speakers, lights etc, you may want to compare the cost of transporting them against the cost of hiring them locally.

Most major cities will have rental companies that will be able to provide identical or similar equipment to what you need.

Not only should this option be more cost effective, but will also eliminate the chances of your personal equipment suffering damage while in transit.

Can you book an extra seat for your DJ equipment?

A number of airlines will allow you to book a seat on the plane for your DJ equipment.

While this might not be a cost-effective option when travelling long-haul, if the price of a seat for your journey is relatively low, it might be an option worth taking as it will also double your allowance for check-in bags.

Better DJing Top Tip

When planning to travel with DJ equipment, it is wise to speak with the airline about their procedures prior to booking the flight. This way, you can be confident of what is and isn’t allowed should any confusion arise with a member of staff on the day of travel. If possible, print a copy of their procedures and carry it with you.

Can You Take DJ Equipment On A Plane Conclusion

More and more DJs are now travelling internationally for gigs, and while it is extremely convenient to be able to take your own equipment with you, I think it is better to keep it to a minimum unless it is absolutely essential.

If you are relying on a particular piece of equipment in order to perform and it gets lost or stolen, unless you can find a last minute replacement, your gig is going to get cancelled.

If you are planning to travel with DJ equipment and are finding the idea a bit daunting, follow the advice given in this article and you and your equipment should both be fine.

I hope that this article has helped you in some way. If you have any further questions or suggestions regarding taking DJ equipment on a plane, please feel free to leave a comment.

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