Can You Bring Nail Clippers on a Plane?
Whether you’re flying to an important business meeting, a wedding, or a city break, sometimes it pays to look your best while traveling. However, your grooming kit may contain several items that might not be allowed through airport security.
With their sharp edges, nail clippers, in particular, can be a cause for concern. Let’s take a look at the rules.
Different Types of Nail Clippers
Nail clippers come in different shapes and sizes, and it’s worth going over the main types of clippers, as TSA rules can differ.
- Lever-type clippers: these are the most common. Lever-type clippers are compact and easy to use as they consist of two sharp horizontal heads that you can squeeze together. The gap between the blades is relatively narrow but large enough to trim any nail. Many feature a file that folds up when you don’t need it.
- Scissor clippers: these small scissors offer a more precise cut and are typically easier to control than lever-type clippers.
- Nipper clippers: they look more like a pair of wire-cutters or pliers and are the strongest type of nail clipper. Ideal for both finger and toenails, the blades can either be straight or concave. They’re also great for very thick, tough nails.
- Cuticle cutters: designed to combat hangnails and frayed tissue around the nail, these are the smallest and thinnest type of nail clipper. They look like a small pair of scissors and have a very sharp, thin point.
Can You Take Nail Clippers in Checked Luggage?
You can pack any type of nail clipper in checked baggage.
It’s crucial to ensure that any sharp edges and points are sheathed to prevent injuring baggage handlers. Scissors and nipper clippers are the most important to keep covered, as these can easily poke a hole through your bag. Besides causing a hazard for handlers, unprotected blades can also damage the rest of your luggage.
Can You Take Nail Clippers in Carry-On Luggage?
It depends. When it comes to nail clippers, TSA rules categorize them under sharp objects. However, as long as the blades are less than 4″ long (measured from the pivot point), they are allowed in your hand luggage.
The vast majority of clippers meet these requirements, but if you have a custom model, be sure to double-check the size. Of all the different types, scissors are the most likely to exceed this limit.
Like disposable razors, fingernail clippers are not considered a threat and cannot easily be made into a weapon. Even most toenail nippers are accepted, despite their sturdier appearance.
There are some limitations to the rules, however.
If your nail clippers have an attached file, these might be a cause for concern at airport security. Technically, if it’s less than 4″ long, it should be allowed, but it’s down to the officer’s discretion. Indeed, some travelers have had to break the file off from their lever-style nail clippers to ensure they meet regulations.
Another exception will be if your nail clippers are attached to a Swiss Army knife or similar folding multitool. If it also incorporates a sharp blade, it won’t be allowed through airport security.
Restrictions Around the World
Outside of the US, restrictions regarding nail clippers can differ depending on where you’re traveling.
In Canada, the UK, Australia, and much of Europe, the rules are more or less the same as TSA regulations. However, they’re a little stricter in other parts of the world.
- Asia: AirAsia, China Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines all prohibit nail clippers from the cabin, although they can be stowed in checked luggage.
- Africa: the rules on various African airlines differ, though many do not allow nail clippers, and some require that scissor-style clippers have rounded tips.
- South America: LATAM Airlines flat out prohibit any type of nail clipper in carry-on luggage.
The best advice for those traveling outside of the US is to leave their nail clippers at home or pack them in your checked luggage. Alternatively, reach out to your specific airline to double-check. Just be warned that while an airline might allow them, the airport you fly from might not. Often, it depends on the security officer.
Can You Take Tweezers on a Plane?
While thinking about bringing nail clippers on a plane, you might wonder whether you can take your tweezers.
Again, tweezers are accepted according to TSA rules. They’re also more likely to be allowed in carry-on luggage on airlines outside of the US compared to scissors and clippers.
What Other Manicure Tools Can You Bring on a Plane?
For the most part, you shouldn’t have any issues bringing the rest of your nail grooming kit onto a plane.
- Nail file: as long as the point isn’t sharp, you can safely bring a nail file onto a plane. Ideally, take rounded-edged ones that are less than 4″ long to be sure.
- Cuticle nippers: like regular nail clippers, as long as they don’t exceed 4″ in length, they should be okay.
- Specialized clippers: there are various tools for more specific nail trimming, such as cutting thicker nails or hangnails. Depending on the design, they may be allowed on. The 4″ length limit is a good rule of thumb to follow, and anything with rounded edges is more likely to be accepted. However, if you’re not sure, contact your airline directly for confirmation.
- Liquids: nail polish and remover are both also allowed in your carry-on luggage, but they must comply with the 3.4oz rule. Be sure to buy smaller travel versions, or decant the liquid into a suitable container.
For those who prefer to travel light, the good news is that you can bring nail clippers on a plane according to TSA rules. The only major restriction is the 4” blade rule, though most nail scissors don’t exceed this.
However, when traveling outside of the US, be sure to check the local guidelines and restrictions. Around the world, many countries have stricter rules regarding nail clippers, particularly in Asia, South America, and Africa. If you can, it’s best practice to store them in your checked luggage or buy a new set upon arrival when traveling in these regions.