Do Underwire Bras Set Off Metal Detectors at Airport Security?



Are you wondering if underwire bras can cause a hiccup at airport security? It’s a common question many women ask before packing their bags for air travel.

Will the metal in these bras trigger the daunting beep at the metal detectors? This concern isn’t just about convenience; it’s also about avoiding potentially embarrassing situations. Well, we’ll be going over:

  1. What are the chances of underwire bras setting off metal detectors at airports?
  2. How does TSA handle situations when underwire bras do trigger alarms?
  3. Are there alternatives to underwire bras that can ensure a hassle-free passage through security?

Understanding these aspects can make your travel experience smoother and more comfortable.

Let’s explore these questions in detail.

can I wear an underwire bra through airport security

Underwire bras typically do not trigger airport metal detectors. However, on rare occasions, they might set off an alarm due to their metal content. If this happens, additional security screening, such as a pat-down or use of a handheld detector, may be required. For worry-free travel, consider wearing a wireless bra or sports bra.


Do bras set off metal detectors?

Many women wear underwire bras but might be concerned that the wire in the bra may set off the airport security metal detectors if they wear one when traveling by air.

This could potentially be embarrassing for them. So, will that happen?

In general, most women’s experience of wearing an underwire bra through airport metal detectors at the security checkpoint is that they will not set off the alarm. My wife has certainly never had a problem.

There have been a few exceptions, so if you are concerned, then consider buying a wireless bra with plastic rather for support or a sports bra to wear when flying.

As well as bras containing metal these days, many men and women often have metal body jewelry through their piercings, so they also wonder about setting off the alarms at the airport. I will go into that aspect further on.

Can I wear an underwire bra through airport security?

Although it doesn’t happen frequently, an underwire bra can set off metal detectors when you pass the airport security check.

On even rarer occasions, the metal hooks of a bra can set the alarm off during security checks, but the machine would have to be very sensitive for this to happen.

If you happen to set off an alarm, and you believe it can only be due to you having wire in your bra, then tell a female security officer.

She will probably use a handheld metal detector wand to see where you set off the metal detector. She may then want to do a manual “frisk,” you would be well within our rights to ask for this to be carried out in a private area. You will not be asked to undress.

You could also be asked to pass through a full-body scanner.

What to do if you are worried

If you are worried about wearing a bra with wire support, the easiest thing to do is not to wear one. Instead, consider wearing wireless bras with plastic support or even a sports bra.

You will have no problems wearing a wire-free bra, so you will be worry-free.

TSA rules and underwire bras

I can only find one reference on the TSA website ( relating to whether you can wear an underwire bra through airport security and what might happen if you set off an alarm.

In a weekly review post about airport security, it states, with a very poor pun:

“A box cutter was discovered in a passenger’s bra after alarming the AIT machine at Nashville International Airport on August 7. Why!? An underwire should be the only metal item in your bra. Attempting to conceal items can lead to bra-blems, including a civil penalty and possibly being arrested.”

I managed to find a few references to underwire bra airport security scans on the TSA Twitter service. The @AskTSA service is very good as you can ask a specific question about what you can take through airport security and they will answer promptly.

The first I found was someone asking about wearing undergarments with underwires. The TSA response was that if the alarm were set off, additional screening would be required, including a pat down.

will my underwire bra set off airport security

The second tweet referred to a personal security screen by someone who was panicking about what they had been told to expect and the TSA’s reply giving details of what can be expected:

will an underwire bra set off airport metal detector

This is a news item finding out, do underwire bras go off on metal detectors at airport security:

Can I bring underwire bras in my carry on?

The answer is yes: underwire bras are indeed allowed in carry-on luggage. According to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines, there are generally no restrictions on any type of bra, including those with underwire, in either carry-on or checked baggage.

This means travelers can confidently pack their underwire bras in their carry-on bags alongside other personal items, ensuring a comfortable journey without compromising on their preferred undergarments.

This is confirmed by the TSA on Twitter when a passenger asked about taking bras with wires with them:

do bras set off metal detectors

Can airport scanners see through clothes?

Can airport scanners see through clothes

When you stand in one of the latest airport security AIT scanners, the operator will not see a picture of you naked if that worries you. The operator sees a representation of a body with the position of any items of interest marked.

Airport body scanners can detect metallic and non-metallic items on a person’s body that might not otherwise be detected by the more common metal detectors. The body scanners can detect items around the body but can’t see inside the body.

Do nipple piercings set off airport metal detectors?

Particularly as most body jewelry is made of non-ferrous (non-magnetic) it is unlikely to set off the alarms at the airport.

If it does, then as you will see below, you may be subject to a manual check or even be asked to remove your nipple piercings or other body piercings (in private, of course).

The TSA does state on its website:

“Certain metal body piercings may cause the machines to alarm and a pat-down may be required. If additional screening is required, you may be asked to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down.”

A reply from @AskTSA on Twitter regarding nipple piercings:

Do nipple piercings set off airport metal detectors

If you have any metal surgical implants, you may wish to read my article about passing through airport security with metal implants


One common concern among travelers is whether wearing underwire bras through airport security can set off metal detectors. So, it’s natural to wonder, “Do bras set off airport security?” or “Will my underwire bra set off airport security?” The answer is that it can potentially happen, as the wires in underwire bras have metal components.

However, the vast majority of people have successfully passed through airport security without any issues while wearing underwire bras. Therefore, if you’re wondering, “Can I wear an underwire bra through airport security?” the general answer is yes. Still, it’s always advisable to be prepared for the possibility of your underwire bra setting off the metal detectors.


Do you have to take piercings out at airport security?

If you set off the alarm and believe it is because of your piercings, then you may be asked by a security agent to remove them. If they are in an intimate area, you will be allowed to do this privately.

Do piercings set off metal detectors?

Certain metal body piercings can cause the security machines to alarm when you pass through. If this happens, a pat-down and additional screening may be required. You could be asked to remove your body piercings privately as an alternative to the pat-down.

Will a nose piercing set off the alarm at airport security?

It is extremely unlikely that a nose piercing will set off the alarms. You may be asked to remove it and pass through the machine again if it does.

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