3 pairs of scissors

Are Scissors Allowed On Planes? Easy Answers You Need Before Flying


We are heading on a trip, and I was wondering are scissors allowed on planes? I wanted to crochet while I am on a 3-hour flight, but I also don’t want my scissors confiscated by the TSA.  We are diving into the info I found. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific guidelines on scissors in carry-on bags: the short answer is that they are permissible as long as the blades do not exceed four inches from the pivot point. 

When you approach the security screening area, you should have your scissors readily accessible to show the TSA officers if needed.

Pack any larger pairs carefully in your checked baggage to avoid the hassle at the security line.

Understanding these rules helps you pack efficiently and avoid surprises at the airport. So, before you zip up your suitcase and head out the door for your next air travel adventure, take a moment to check your scissors.

A quick measure can ensure they are compliant, and you’ll be all set for takeoff.

Are Scissors Allowed On Planes?

woman rolling carry on bag for Are scissors allowed on planes
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The TSA has a great website and Instagram account where you can get the most up-to-date information. As I said above, the types of scissors you can take in your carry-on must have a 4″ blade or less. 

My plan is to buy a cheap pair of scissors that fit the criteria and take them with me. Something like these scissors so if they get confiscated for any reason, I am not losing my favorite pair of scissors. 

When packing for a flight, keep in mind the various rules that govern what can go in your carry-on luggage. The guidelines are pretty specific, so here’s what you need to know to ensure a smooth experience at the airport.

TSA Regulations

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is your go-to authority for flight rules in the United States. All personal items you bring have to be screened and approved by TSA agents. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Sharp Objects: Generally, these are a no-go in carry-on bags. If it’s got a sharp point or edge, it’ll need to be in checked luggage.
  • Flammable Liquids: Not allowed in carry-on or checked bags.
  • Liquid Nitrogen: Sorry, but no. It’s classified as a dangerous good.

Remember, additional screening might be necessary if you’re carrying something a bit unusual.

International Standards

The rules can vary outside the US, but security personnel from agencies like the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand and the Australian Border Force often follow similar rules to the TSA. Before you fly:

  • Check if the country you’re flying to (or from) has specific restrictions.
  • Know the limitations on liquids, gels, and aerosols (usually up to 100 ml per container).

Checked Vs. Carry-On Baggage

Checked baggage and carry-on baggage (also known as hand luggage) have different rules. If you’re unsure about an item:

  • Place sharp items, like scissors, in your checked luggage to avoid hassle.
  • Keep your most valuable and essential items in your carry-on.

Travel Prep Tips

A little planning can make your travel experience a lot smoother:

  • Pack liquids in a clear, quart-sized bag for easy screening.
  • Keep your personal items organized to speed up the security process.
  • Remember, packing smart can save you time the next time you’re at the airport.

Restricted Items Overview

Here’s a quick list of items that commonly cause confusion at security:

  • Sharp objects: pack them in checked luggage.
  • Flammable liquids or aerosols: leave them at home.
  • Larger electronics: take them out in advance for screening.

Understanding Specific Restrictions

Each airline might have its own set of rules, so do your homework to avoid surprises:

  • Review the airline’s policy on carry-on size and weight limits.
  • Double-check for updates on what’s allowed, particularly with tech items or sports equipment.
  • Contact the airline or look at their website for a specific list of items allowed or prohibited onboard.

Scissors in Carry-On Luggage

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When it comes to flying with scissors, you’re allowed to take a pair in your carry-on, but there are important size and type restrictions you should be aware of.

Size and Type Limitations

The TSA has specific rules for scissors in carry-on luggage: your scissors must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point.

Typically, small scissors like manicure scissors fall within this limit. Large or metal scissors with blades longer than 4 inches should be packed in checked luggage.

Scissors in Checked Luggage

There are no blade size restrictions for scissors in your checked luggage. However, it’s advisable to pack them securely to avoid injuries when luggage is being handled.

Use a protective case or wrap your scissors in bubble wrap.

PS If you need to find a new good pair of scissors for sewing, here are our favorite scissors for different sewing tasks.

We also have a great post on how to sharpen your scissors at home although I do recommend finding a knife store or quilt store that will do it.

Tips for Packing Scissors

When packing scissors in either checked or carry-on luggage, using the original packaging or a protective case is beneficial.

If you don’t have the original packaging, you can use materials like bubble wrap to prevent the scissors from causing damage.

You can easily create a scissor holder with some fabric and batting to make sure they make it safely to your destination and that no one gets poked by the sharp edge if for any reason they need to open your bag. 

Screening Process at Checkpoints

Expect your bag to go through a security screening process at TSA checkpoints. If you’ve packed scissors in your carry-on, they might be subject to additional checks.

TSA agents at airports may run manual inspections to ensure compliance with regulations.

Final Authority on Scissors

The final decision rests with TSA officers at the security checkpoint. Even scissors that technically meet the size requirement may be confiscated based on the discretion of the security officer.

Always be prepared to check your scissors if necessary.

Related Travel Considerations

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When you’re packing for air travel, alongside scissors, there are a variety of items that require special attention due to airline security policies.

Here’s what you need to know about these travel essentials and restrictions.

Other Sharp Items

You can pack items like nail clippers and disposable razors in your carry-on bag.

However, razor blades that are not in a cartridge and sharp tools such as straight razors, cigar cutters, and ice skates should be securely wrapped and checked in. 

Glass picture frames should also be packed in checked luggage to prevent the risk of breakage and injury.

Electronic Devices and Batteries

Your portable electronic devices like cell phones and laptops are allowed in carry-on baggage. Though, electronic cigarettes can only be carried on you or in carry-on bags.

Remember, lithium ion batteries, spare batteries, and dry batteries are allowed in carry-on bags only, with lithium batteries’ watt-hour ratings governing their travel eligibility.

Liquids and Personal Care Items

For liquids and gels, abide by the 3-1-1 liquid rule where containers must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item, placed in a single, transparent, quart-sized bag.

This includes items like nail polish, baby formula, baby food, and breast milk. Volume restrictions do not apply to medically necessary liquids or child nourishments, but you must declare these items at security.

Special Circumstances

If you have unique items or situations, such as golf clubs for a sports trip, or if your family travels with special child care items, check the airline’s own rules or request first access to their policies.

When on a connecting flight, be aware that different airlines or countries may have varied regulations.

Travel Safety and Comfort

While personal safety is crucial, your comfort also matters. Remember that while you may be fine carrying food items onboard for personal use, they must meet guidelines to avoid serious injury to others or security concerns.

Also, consider how your items will affect your and your family’s travel experience during the trip.

Tips for a Smooth Security Experience

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When heading through security, being prepared and informed streamlines the process. Below, you’ll find targeted advice to help ensure your interaction with airport security is hassle-free.

Interaction with Security Personnel

Approaching checkpoints, engage with TSA officers respectfully and follow their instructions. This can range from presenting your boarding pass and ID to assuming the proper stance during the body scan. 

Remember: a polite demeanor and clear communication with security personnel make the process smoother for everyone.

Understanding Prohibited and Permitted Items

Familiarize yourself with the TSA’s list of items detailing what you can and cannot bring on a flight.

Sharp items and liquid containers have strict rules: for example, scissors less than 4 inches are typically allowed in carry-on luggage, but anything longer should be packed in checked baggage. 

It’s crucial to know that a book of safety matches is permitted onboard, while most other types of matches and lighters are not.

For alcoholic beverages, bottles under 3.4 ounces can go in your carry-on within a clear, quart-sized bag, due to volume restrictions.

Packing Strategies

Pack smartly by ensuring liquids are in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces and placed within a clear, quart-sized plastic bag.

Keep items like laptops and the TSA-approved book of safety matches accessible, as you may need to place them in separate bins. 

Tip: Keeping sharp items in original packaging or securely wrapped can help avoid delays. By packing efficiently, you not only make it easier for baggage handlers but also reduce the risk of additional screening.

Remember that TSA is not the enemy. Things have changed when it comes to flying. You may not look like a terrorist or someone wanting to harm someone but they don’t know you. 

​I am taking on my yarn and a cheap pair of small scissors in my carry on and may pack a larger pair of cheap scissors in my checked bag.

I am not willing to roll the dice and pack my favorite pair of scissors I have had for 20+ years and hope they make it. 

If you love to travel and are heading on a plane, use common sense and buy a pair of scissors that won’t devastate you if the TSA takes them.

This will keep you from a ton of tears and anger when you get to your destination. 

Remember also, if you are sewing once you get where you are going, you can always order on Amazon and have it delivered to your destination or a pickup locker and simply swing by and pick up a new pair of scissors. 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

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