Tweezers and other sharp items fall under the TSA airport security rules which govern carrying any sharp object that might potentially be used as a weapon. These rules are, quite understandably, quite strict.
TSA rules state that you can bring tweezers both in hand luggage or in your checked bags so don’t worry about that. The TSA rules applying to other sharp objects such as scissors, nail clippers, knives, knitting needles etc are more complicated though.
Before I go into the full rules and regulations, please spare a thought for the security officer at the security checkpoint. If you have any kind of sharp object then please make sure they are either in a sheath or securely wrapped to ensure the security officers do not cut themselves if they search 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.
TSA Sharp Objects Rules
Can you take tweezers in a carry on bag?
You are permitted by the TSA to take tweezers on a plane in a carry on bag and in fact all types of tweezers can be taken in your carry on bags onboard a flight.
This is obviously good news if you need to pluck your eyebrows while on the flight. You can of course pack them in your checked bags for use at your destination.
This only applies to the sort of tweezers you would use for cosmetic purposes. Large tweezers, those that are 12 inches long or more, and used in kitchens for picking up food etc would not be permitted in carry on baggage.
Oddly, many people seem to be under the impression that tweezers are banned from airplanes but this is untrue.
Can you bring scissors on a plane?
Any kind of scissors are allowed on board with you in the cabin as long as the blades are less than 4 inches (6cm) long from the pivot point to the tip of the blade.
If they are longer than 4 inches then they must go in your checked baggage, or you should leave them at home.
If you take larger ones in your hand luggage they will be confiscated by airport security.
Please read my article for full details of Can you bring scissors on a plane?.
Can you bring nail clippers on a plane?
You can take nail clippers on board with you in your hand luggage to give your nails an inflight manicure.
They do seem to have been subject to an urban myth that they are not allowed onboard an aircraft, according to a Transportation Security Administration article, but that myth is totally untrue.
Well, it is untrue in part, as immediately after 9-11 they were banned, along with many other items which are now allowed as there was something of a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in the US.
Can you bring straight razors on a plane?
You can pack straight razors in your checked baggage to go in the aircraft hold. However, you absolutely cannot take them in your carry on luggage with you.
The same applies to shaving razors that have a removable blade, also known as safety razors.
Please read my article for full details of what razors you can and cannot take on board with you.
Can you bring corkscrews on a plane?
Corkscrews without a blade are permitted in carry on luggage by the TSA but you cannot take corkscrews that have a blade.
Both types of corkscrew can be carried in checked bags.
These are one of those items that I find hard to believe that anyone would want to take with them. But then I am not a wine lover so that is probably why I don’t understand.
Can you bring knives on a plane in carry on luggage?
The TSA does not allow knives in hand luggage except for either plastic or round bladed butter knives although they can be packed in a checked bag.
This is the current regulation on the TSA website relating to knives.
This applies to small pocket knives, pen knives, Swiss army-type knives, modeling knives and box cutters.
You are allowed to carry plastic or round-bladed butter knives in your carry on (but again, why would you want to?)
British airport security allows knives with blades shorter than 4 inches (6cm). The TSA did relax the rules on smaller knives for a while but then reinstated it. Make sure they are securely wrapped in your cabin bag.
Read my full article – Can you bring a pocket knife on a plane?
Can you bring pens on a plane?
Fortunately for anyone who wants to get on with some work on a flight, and still does it the old school way with paper and pen, you can take your pens in your hand luggage.
This includes ballpoint, roller-ball, gel, felt tip, marker and fountain pens.
If you are taking a fountain pen though you should be aware that, although you can take ink cartridges in your hand luggage, if that is what your pen takes, you can only take a bottle of ink if it is no larger than 3.4 ounces (100ml) due to the liquids rules. Even then it, or the cartridges, must go in a quart-sized resealable clear liquids bag. See Maximum liquid permitted in carry on on a plane. TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule. for more details.
Can you bring pencils on a plane?
You can take pencils of all types in checked or carry on bags. This is particularly important if flying with young children.
Your child can spend many happy hours coloring in, if that is what helps to keep them amused and quiet.
Coloring in has become a popular adult pastime in recent years too so if you like to do it to relax and pass the time on a long flight then you can.
Can you bring screwdrivers on a plane?
You can take screwdrivers in your carry on provided that the blade is no longer than 4 inches.
You can pack longer screwdrivers in your checked bags to go in the aircraft hold.
Good news if you are on your way to make a few adjustments to your vacation home or your boat at your destination.
Can you take knitting needles on a plane?
Knitting needles and sewing needles are allowed in either your checked or carry on bags, as are crochet hooks.
This is good news for anyone intending to pass away some of the incredibly boring hours on a long flight by knitting, doing needlework or cross stitch.
In some ways this is perhaps the most surprising of all as knitting needles can be made of metal, with a pointed end, and be more than a foot in length. Obviously people that do handicrafts such as this aren’t seen as a security threat.
Circular thread cutters or any other cutter or needlepoint tools that contain blades must be placed in checked baggage.
Suggestion: If possible I would advise taking plastic knitting needles, rather than metal ones, as this will ensure you have no problems at airport security anywhere.
Fortunately you can take small scissors with you, to cut your wool if the blades are less than 4 inches long. Also read: can you bring scissors on a plane?