Scanner/ Radio Receiver on Flight?

Hey all,
I have a quick question. I about to go on a trip to Europe, and I was wondering if anyone knew if I could bring my radio scanner on board with me (or just to use at the airport, i’m just worried TSA might take it?) I’m flying British Airways on a 777, and I have a Uniden BC75XLT, if that helps.

I have a secondary longer antenna as well, would that also be allowed? Or should I just stick with the smaller antenna that came with it?

I’m mainly worried about TSA taking it, i’m fine if BA doesn’t allow me to use it.

Hey there!

I would search it up here.

TSA Website

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It says that “radios” are okay…so I should be good?

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I’m not sure about the TSA, but BA will almost certainly not allow you to use it, since in the U.K. listening in on most ATC frequencies is illegal.

If it has the ability to transmit there is no way you will ever get out the U.K., as possession of a transmitter without a license is illegal.

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Yes but as @Benjwri said i think its better to put it in your checked bag.

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It’s just a receiver. I use it for stuff like ATC when i’m planespotting, listening to Fire and Police, etc

Although I’m not an expert so can’t go into details obviously, BA are very unlikely to let you use it, as all of those uses you mention are illegal in the U.K., which also means there is still a change it will be confiscated upon leaving.

I can tell you, you most definitely cannot use it on an aircraft. If the country you’re going to doesn’t permit it then I wouldn’t risk bringing it with you. Instead you could use and try to see if you can listen in. Not all UK airports are listed. Worth checking it out before you try doing anything.


Don’t think any U.K. airports are listed there sadly. When sites do list them they get taken down pretty quickly.


That’s too bad. I would respect their rules and regulations then. If they aren’t permitting public listening to ATC then I wouldn’t poke the bear with a stick.


It’s illegal to listen to ATC transmissions. People have them but technically you can be prosecuted. It’s why we can’t get Live ATC. I would take it in your suit case that’s checked. Don’t take it in hand luggage or it looks slightly suspicious

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Thanks! So i’m hearing that I should not bring it at all?

What I’m saying is do your research on the country that you’ll be traveling to and abide by the rules that they’ve got set. Aviation agencies take security very seriously. If say, the UK takes “listening in on ATC transmissions” as security breach punishable by fines and or jail time, then I would advise against tuning in.

Aviation is not an industry to play around with. One of the most locked down industries when it comes to security and public safety.


Wireless telegraphy act 1949-2006

The device itself isn’t banned or anything but I wouldn’t go and tell anyone that you plan to listen to ATC with it nor would I raise suspicions. As I said, people use them here in the UK, it’s one of those laws that are old and you are unlikely to get in trouble for but still… If you do bring it then just be careful and not have it on show when spotting


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