Can I Bring A License Plate On A Plane?

Traveling by plane often involves meticulous planning to ensure everything you pack complies with airline regulations. Among the items travelers may question bringing aboard is a license plate. 

Whether it’s a souvenir, a gift, or part of a restoration project, many wonder if they can carry license plates in their luggage or as a carry-on item. Let’s delve into the regulations surrounding this often overlooked aspect of air travel.

Understanding Airline Regulations

When it comes to what you can and cannot bring on a plane, both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States and similar regulatory bodies worldwide set guidelines to ensure passenger safety and security. 

While some items may seem innocuous, they can still raise concerns or pose risks, which is why it’s essential to understand the rules before heading to the airport.

License Plates – A Surprising Question

While license plates might not seem like a typical item to bring on a plane, there are situations where travelers might consider it. These could include:

  • Collectors purchasing or transporting vintage or specialty license plates.
  • Individuals moving to a new state or country who want to keep their old license plate as a memento.
  • Auto enthusiasts attending car shows or events who want to display a unique or personalized license plate.

In these scenarios, knowing whether a license plate can accompany you on your flight is crucial.

TSA Guidelines on License Plates

TSA Guidelines on License Plates

The TSA has guidelines regarding what can and cannot be brought onto an airplane. While license plates are not explicitly mentioned in their list of prohibited items, certain aspects of license plates might raise concerns during security screenings.

TSA Screening Considerations

Metallic NatureMetal composition of license plates may trigger alarms.
Size and ShapeOversized plates may require separate handling.
Sharp EdgesSharp edges could raise concerns during screenings.

It’s crucial to consider these factors when bringing a license plate on a plane.

TSA Recommendations

While the TSA does not explicitly prohibit license plates, they recommend that travelers pack items securely and follow specific guidelines:

Packing Securely: If you plan to bring a license plate on a plane, ensure it is packed securely to prevent damage to the item and to avoid any potential safety concerns during transit.

Communication: If you’re unsure whether your license plate will pass through security, it’s best to communicate with TSA officers beforehand to avoid delays or issues at the airport.

Airline-Specific Policies

In addition to TSA regulations, airlines may have their own policies regarding the carriage of items like license plates. It’s essential to check with your specific airline to ensure compliance with their rules and regulations.

Checking vs. Carrying On

When it comes to bringing a license plate on a plane, whether you can carry it on or need to check it might depend on the airline’s policies as well as the size and weight of the item.

Carry-On: Some airlines may allow small license plates to be carried onto the plane as part of your hand luggage, provided they meet size and weight restrictions.

Checked Luggage: Larger or heavier license plates may need to be checked as baggage, especially if they cannot fit into standard carry-on luggage or if they exceed weight limits.

Oversized Items

If your license plate is particularly large or heavy, it may fall under the category of oversized or special items, which might incur additional fees or require special handling.

Special Handling: Airlines often have specific procedures for oversized or irregularly shaped items. Contact your airline in advance to understand the process for transporting your license plate.

Fees: Depending on the airline and the size of the license plate, additional fees may apply for checking oversized items. Are Tucked License Plates Legal?

Tips for Traveling with License Plates

Tips for Traveling with License Plates

Whether you’re a collector, a hobbyist, or simply relocating, here are some tips to consider when traveling with license plates:

Pack Carefully

Protective Packaging: Use bubble wrap or packing material to protect the license plate from scratches or damage during transit.

Secure Fastening: Ensure the license plate is securely fastened within your luggage to prevent it from shifting or moving around.

heck Airline Regulations

Review Policies: Check with your airline regarding their specific policies on carrying items like license plates. Understanding their guidelines can help prevent any surprises at the airport.

Communication is Key

Contact TSA: If you’re uncertain about bringing a license plate through security, contact the TSA in advance for guidance.

Notify Airline: Inform your airline in advance if you plan to check oversized or irregularly shaped items like license plates. This allows them to make appropriate arrangements.


Can I carry a license plate in my carry-on luggage?

Yes, you can, as long as it meets size and weight restrictions and does not pose security concerns.

Should I inform the TSA if I plan to bring a license plate?

It’s advisable to communicate with TSA officers beforehand to prevent any potential delays or issues during security screenings.

Can oversized license plates be checked as baggage?

Yes, larger or heavier license plates may need to be checked as baggage, especially if they exceed carry-on size limitations.


While the question of whether you can bring a license plate on a plane might seem trivial at first glance, it’s essential to understand the regulations and guidelines set forth by both the TSA and individual airlines. 

By packing carefully, communicating with authorities, and adhering to airline policies, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience with your license plate in tow. 

So, the next time you’re considering transporting that vintage plate or unique souvenir, rest assured that with proper planning, you can bring it along on your journey.

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