Can You Bring Scissors On A Plane? (through TSA)

credit: Yay

With the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) being nicknamed “Taking Scissors Away,” many travelers assume that scissors are not allowed on planes. However, the regulations allow passengers to bring scissors on a plane, provided they abide by certain restrictions on their size, packing, and use.

Passengers may bring scissors on a plane in check-in baggage, provided they are safely wrapped or sheathed to prevent injury to baggage handlers. They may bring scissors into the cabin in carry-on luggage if the blades are shorter than four inches domestically or 6 centimeters internationally.

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Can You Bring Scissors On An Airplane?

Contrary to what travelers might expect, given experiences with the TSA, regulations have been changed to allow scissors on a plane, subject to restrictions on the size of the blades for scissors packed in carry-on luggage or on one’s person. When traveling outside of the US, International Travel Standards apply.

The TSA also requires passengers to securely wrap or sheath any sharp objects packed into check-in baggage to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors. While travelers can bring small scissors in carry-on luggage, many airlines recommend not doing so if they are not needed on the flight.

What Restrictions Apply To Scissors On Planes Inside The US?

When traveling within the US, passengers may bring scissors of any size on a plane, provided they are wrapped or sheathed in check-in luggage to prevent accidents. Travelers may bring scissors on a plane in a carry-on bag, provided they are less than four inches from the pivot point.

The term pivot point has caused considerable confusion among travelers, with some passengers assuming that it refers to a part of their bag. It relates to the fulcrum or the point where the scissors hinge. The four-inch restriction is, therefore, a limit on the length of the blade allowed.

What Restrictions Apply To Scissors On Planes Worldwide?

International travelers should be aware that they will have to meet International Travel Standards instead of TSA regulations. These standards, enforced across Canada, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and other regions, have stricter requirements for scissor blade length in carry-on luggage.

While passengers can bring scissors of any size in check-in luggage, they are only allowed to take scissors whose blade length is under six centimeters, which translates to 2.36 inches. Travelers used to TSA regulations should not assume that scissors allowed domestically are allowed on international flights.

The rules in Australia are stringent. Anyone traveling there should note that any pointed scissors, including manicure scissors and scissors with a blade length over six centimeters, are prohibited. Certain Indian airlines also have a blanket ban on scissors of any sort in carry-on luggage.

How Should You Pack Scissors When Bringing Them On A Plane?

While no specific regulations detail how you should pack your scissors when putting them into check-in baggage, the TSA insists that you safely wrap or sheath your scissors to prevent injury to baggage handlers. Handlers internationally will also appreciate travelers securing their scissors.

We recommend that travelers close the scissors so that the blade’s edge does not threaten people’s safety, and wrap the scissors in several layers of thick cloth, secured with string. If the scissors come with a leather safety sheath, using this will help prevent accidents.

Why Are There Restrictions On Scissors On A Plane?

Scissors below a specific size are allowed in the cabin of planes, as airlines understand that passengers may need them for personal grooming reasons or minor emergencies. However, larger scissors are prohibited because travelers with evil motives could use them as weapons to stab or cut passengers and crew.

These larger scissors are only allowed in check-in luggage to prevent harm from coming to anyone in the cabin, as they cannot cause any damage while stowed in the plane’s cargo hold.

What Is The Reason Behind The Four-Inch Limit?

Travelers may wonder about the seemingly arbitrary nature of the four-inch limit (or six-centimeter limit on international flights). Unfortunately, we cannot bring any clarity to this situation. While 2.36-inch (6 cm) long scissors should not be capable of being used as weapons, four-inch ones surely could be.

What Type Of Scissors Are Allowable In Carry-On Baggage?

There are no specific restrictions on the type of scissors allowed in carry-on baggage, provided they abide by the size requirements (blades less than four inches long domestically or less than six centimeters internationally).

Examples of scissors that generally meet these size requirements include cuticle scissors, thread cutting scissors, child safety scissors, medical scissors, and multi-tools without knife blades. By TSA and International Travel Standards, hair cutting scissors and dressmaking scissors are probably too long.

Some governments, such as the UK, specifically mention that round-ended or blunt scissors are allowable in their regulations.

Should You Check With Your Airline If Scissors Are Allowed?

The regulations regarding whether travelers may bring scissors on a plane seem straightforward, with a simple limit on the blade length for scissors in carry-on luggage. However, we recommend checking with the TSA or the airline in question if passengers are in doubt.

How Does Airport Security Screen For Outsize Scissors?

TSA officials and other airport security staff internationally put passengers’ bags through x-ray machines to detect any potentially dangerous or prohibited items, typically made of dense material that shows up on x-ray images.

If the x-ray machine shows anything suspicious, the security officials will open the luggage in question, search it, and remove any dangerous or prohibited item. Such items include scissors in carry-on luggage that exceed the maximum blade length allowed.

What Happens If You Have Large Scissors In Your Carry-On Bag?

Should airport security staff find scissors in carry-on luggage that exceed the maximum allowable blade length of four inches domestically or six centimeters internationally, they will require travelers to relinquish the scissors. Should passengers fail to yield the scissors, they will be barred from proceeding through security.

How Can Travelers Use Scissors Responsibly On A Plane?

While the security regulations of many nations’ governments permit travelers to carry small scissors in carry-on luggage, we strongly urge passengers to use scissors cautiously or preferably not at all when seated in the cabin of a plane. Even small scissors could cause injury should the plane hit turbulence.