Tweezers and other sharp items fall under the TSA airport security rules which govern carrying sharp objects that might potentially be used as a weapon. These rules are, quite understandably, quite strict.
TSA rules state that you can bring tweezers on a plane 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 officers at airport security. If you have any sharp objects then please make sure they are either in a sheath or 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 cutting a baggage handler.
Sharp Object Rules
Can you take tweezers in hand luggage?
You are permitted by the TSA to take tweezers on a plane in hand luggage and in fact all types of tweezers can be taken in your carry on bags on board 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.
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 they will be confiscated by airport security.
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.
Nail clippers do seem to have been subject to an urban myth that they are not allowed on board an aircraft, according to a TSA 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 bags to go in the aircraft hold. However, you absolutely cannot take them in your hand 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 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?
The TSA does not allow knives in hand luggage except for either plastic or round bladed butter knives. This is the current regulation on the TSA website relating to knives.
This applies to small pocket knives, pen knives, Swiss army type knives, modelling 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 allow knives with blades shorter than 4 inches (6cm). The TSA did relax the rules on smaller knives for a while but then reinstated it.
This is one of those regulations that I find a little inconsistent. You can take a sharp pair of scissors in your hand luggage but cannot take any form of bladed knife. That is for all knives including those with a tiny blade, even though sharp scissors could be used as a weapon.
To be honest, I cannot understand why anyone would feel the need to take a knife on board with them anyway.
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.
I can understand it if you do as this as I think I would find it quite therapeutic I think..
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.
Sharp objects on a plane rules
Whether or not you can carry tweezers, nail clippers, nail files, scissors, straight razors, pocket knives, pens or even corkscrews on a plane firstly depends on whether you want to take them in the cabin with you, in your hand luggage or pocket, or to pack them in your checked bags.
You can actually take any of these items in your checked bags. Hand luggage restrictions are much tighter than those for checked bags because, obviously, you don’t have access to your checked bags during a flight.
Knowing what sharp objects you can or can’t take with you may save you both time and embarrassment at the airport security point. It may also save you from losing an item if it falls outside the regulations and is confiscated.
Important: Any sharp objects in carry on or checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.