Many people like to pass the time during a long flight doing small craft projects such as cross-stitch, embroidery or knitting, and to do this you obviously need to take scissors in carry on with you to cut the threads.
But in these days of heightened security are you permitted to bring scissors on a plane in your carry on?
The Quick Answer: TSA rules state that you can bring scissors in carry on baggage provided the blades are less than 4 inches (6cm) long from the pivot point to the tip of the blade. Larger scissors should be packed in your checked baggage if you need to take them with you.
TSA scissors rules fall under the general TSA sharp object rules which govern carrying any sharp object that might potentially be used as a weapon. These rules are, quite understandably, very strict so I will go through them below to make sure you fully understand them and don’t get your scissors confiscated.
Can you bring scissors through TSA
You are not permitted to take scissors through a security checkpoint at the airport in your carry on baggage if the blades are more than 4 inches (6cm) long from the pivot point to the tip of the blade.
If you leave a pair of scissors larger than 4ins long in your hand luggage when they go through the x-ray machine then you can be sure that the security officer operating the machine will spot them. Your bag will then be put aside for extra screening and the scissors will be confiscated.
Likewise, if you leave scissors in your pocket then they will set off the metal detecting machine when you walk through it. You will then be pulled aside for further checking by the TSA agent using a metal detecting wand and probably a pat down. When the scissors are found they will be confiscated if too large and you will probably be taken to be screened in a full-body scanner.
The Transportation Security Administration sharp item rules are very strictly enforced. The final decision rests with the TSA officer about whether you can take anything with you.
The TSA state that if you have scissors packed in carry on that are allowed then they should be sheathed or securely wrapped in your luggage to prevent injury to TSA agents should they do a manual search of your bag.
Also, if you are putting things such as knives in your checked bags please do the same so that they cannot end up poking through your luggage and injuring a baggage handler.
For up to the minute information you can check the rules on the TSA website or the UK Gov website.
This is an example response to a passenger’s question regarding carrying scissors in carry on luggage:
Can you bring scissors on a plane in a carry on bag?
As stated above, you can take small scissors through the security checkpoint in carry on bags provided the blades are no larger than 4 inches from the pivot point.
Although you may be able to purchase scissors in airport stores, such as small folding safety scissors, after you pass through security they will not stock scissors that are larger than 4 inches.
If in doubt about whether you can take your scissors in carry on then pack them in your checked luggage.
Can you use scissors on a plane?
If you are permitted to take them on board by the TSA sharp items rules then you can also use the scissors during the flight.
Many people like to pass a long flight by sewing, knitting, quilting or some other form of craft that requires small thread-cutting scissors. Fortunately, these are allowed.
You can also use cuticle scissors to give yourself a manicure during the flight.
Can you bring scissors on a plane in checked luggage?
As with many things, even items that are potentially contentious from an airport security point of view, you can often carry them in your checked baggage, since they are not available to you during a flight as they are in your hand luggage. Scissors are no exception so any size of scissors, even if they have blades longer than 4 inches, can be packed in your checked luggage should you need to take any with you.
Please spare a thought for the baggage handlers. If you pack scissors in your checked baggage then make sure they are either in a sheath or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.
This is the TSA confirming via their #AskTSA service on Twitter that scissors can be packed in a checked bag:
Can I take scissors on an international flight?
The same rules apply to taking scissors on an international flight as they do when flying on a domestic flight.
So if the blades are larger than 4 inches they must be packed in checked luggage.
What sharp objects can you bring in carry on?
You are permitted to take the following sharp objects through airport security in carry on baggage:
- nail clippers (see Can you bring nail clippers on a plane)
- tweezers (see Can you take tweezers on a plane)
- knitting needles (See Can you take knitting needles on a plane)
- crochet hooks (See Can you take crochet hooks on a plane)
- Sewing needles
- bottle opener
Knives (including swiss army knives), straight razors or safety razors or spare blades are not allowed in your carry on bag but they can be packed in a checked bag. See my post Can you bring a pocket knife on a plane?
Why are scissors not allowed on planes?
Scissors with blades that are no longer than 4 inches are allowed in a carry on bag on a plane. Larger ones are not permitted, unless in checked baggage, because of the risk that they could potentially be used as a weapon.
If they are longer than 4 inches then they must go in your checked baggage, or you should leave them at home.
TSA sharp object rules state that you can bring scissors in carry on baggage provided the blades are less than 4 inches (6cm) long from the pivot point to the tip of the blade. Larger scissors should be packed in your checked baggage if you need to take them with you.
Can you bring embroidery scissors on a plane?
Embroidery scissors with blades smaller than 4 inches from the pivot point are allowed in both carry on or checked bags. If longer than 4 inches they must be packed in checked bags.
Are nail scissors allowed on planes?
Nail cutting scissors and manicure scissors with blades smaller than 4 inches from the pivot point are allowed in both carry on or checked bags. If longer than 4 inches they must be packed in checked bags.
Can you fly with trauma shears?
You can take trauma shears (medical scissors used by medical staff) on a plane in carry on bags if the blades are less than 4 inches long. If longer than that they will need to be packed in a checked bag
What kind of scissors can you take on a plane?
You can bring any kind of small scissors on a plane in carry on baggage provided the blade is no longer than 4 inches long from the pivot point. Any larger than this cannot go in hand luggage so must be packed in checked bags.
I have been traveling around the world by air since the early 70s and living overseas too. I worked for British Airways for a number of years and I am also a private pilot. About Me