Can You Bring Scissors on a Plane?

Traveling by plane can be a stressful experience. Packing and staying organized is essential to getting through security hassle-free.

Not only will you need to make sure you pack properly to move through the line quickly, but you will also want to ensure you are only carrying the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved items.

The TSA is an organization that is committed to keeping air travelers safe. To that end, they limit potentially dangerous objects from your luggage.

While it may be inconvenient for some travelers, it is important to understand what can be brought on board with you, kept in your checked bag, or otherwise left at home.

What if you need to travel with scissors? This article breaks down the rules for getting your scissors to your traveling destination.

Can You Bring Scissors on a Plane?

The official TSA guideline says scissors are allowed both within a checked bag and carry-on. When carrying scissors in a carry-on, the scissors must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point. Carried inside a checked bag, the scissors should be sheathed or securely wrapped. 

If you need to bring scissors on the plane as part of your carry-on or personal item, be sure to accurately measure the blade to ensure it is less than 4 inches.

TSA indicates that the blade is measured from the “pivot point” which is the point where the two blades are connected, generally by a pin or screw.

For carrying scissors in your checked luggage, you will have more flexibility, but be sure the blades are sheathed or tightly wrapped. This step ensures that any baggage handler, inspector, or other TSA agent is not injured in the inspection process.

You may be surprised that a sharp object like scissors is allowed on an airplane. In the sections that follow, we break down when TSA cleared scissors as an acceptable carry-on item.

Since When Have Scissors Been Allowed on A Plane?

Scissors have been allowed on planes since 2005. The decision was announced by TSA in November of 2005 as the organization reassessed the largest threats to airport and flight safety.

Along with this announcement, other small household tools like wrenches and screwdrivers were deemed permissible.

Scissors were originally banned from air travel as the government cracked down on airport security after September 11th, 2001.

Because scissors are a sharp object, TSA deemed they were too dangerous to airport security, flight staff, and travelers.

The next section explores the reasons why TSA ultimately reversed this decision in 2005 to the current policy in 2021.

Why Are Scissors Allowed on the Plane?

Small scissors were removed from the TSA ban list in 2005, as the organization deemed the personal item did not pose a significant risk.

The decision also served to free up TSA security to move passengers through security while maintaining focus on identifying major threats to security.

According to the director of TSA at the time of the decision, 25% of bag searches involve small sharp items like scissors.

The decision was a calculated risk that served to increase security performance all while providing a more convenient and stress-free experience for travelers.

If you are planning to travel with scissors, be sure to prepare by understanding the official TSA guidelines, which the next section explores in detail.

What is TSA’s Official Policy Guideline for Scissors?

Within a carry-on, the scissors are required to be less than 4 inches from the pivot point. In a checked bag, the scissors must be securely sheathed, wrapped, or covered.

When it comes to this TSA policy, everything comes down to safety. Ultimately, even if the scissors meet TSA criteria, the TSA officer has the final say to whether the item is allowed through a given checkpoint.

As a traveler, you will have the most success if you ensure the scissors are packed safely in either your carry-on or checked bag. 

The following segment looks at what other items to consider when preparing for your next flight.  

What Types of Items Are Not Allowed on the Plane?

Items that are potentially dangerous such as weapons, knives, and firearms are not allowed on a plane and must be properly stowed in checked luggage.

ven replica weapons, toy guns, and BB guns are not permitted by TSA. Other items like tools, electronics, and lighters are allowed on a plane but must follow special guidelines.

For example, lighters are allowed but are limited in quantity. A traveler is only permitted to enter the airport with one disposable lighter.

Novelty “gun” lighters, torch lighters, and electronic lighters are not allowed at all. Tools as was discussed earlier in the article are permitted if they meet certain size requirements.

How Should I Pack my Scissors for Travel?

There are no specific rules outlined by TSA for packing scissors, and they will be fine anywhere in your bag. With that said, neatly packing your scissors in a scissor case, sheath or other wrappings will go a long way in protecting yourself and any security agents.

When packing your bag for the plane, you will not need to make any considerations on how you pack your scissors.

However, your bag could be flagged by TSA and it is safer for the agent to search your bag if your scissors are properly stowed in a scissor case or sheath.

Now that your scissors are packed, will you need to follow any procedures at the airport?

What Should I Do with My Item at the Airport Security?

There are no special procedures needed to pass your scissors through a security checkpoint in the airport. If your scissors meet TSA’s criteria and are packed properly, simply place your luggage through the x-ray machine.

Remember that the TSA agent has the ultimate say if your item is safe for travel. If your bag and scissors happen to get flagged for a further search, be sure to be courteous and open with the agent for the least stressful experience.

Are Scissors Still Allowed on a Plane in 2021?

Scissors and other tools are allowed on a plane, as long as they meet certain length requirements. Scissors, in particular, must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point. Carrying your scissors in a scissor case or sheath will make your bag less likely to be flagged by a security agent.

With that said, if you are concerned with having your scissors confiscated or are not confident they meet the criteria, it is best you leave them stowed away in your checked luggage.