Can You Bring Nail Clippers on a Plane? Here’s the Answer

Flying to attend a special occasion and must keep your nails all clean and pretty? Or are you the type of traveler who can’t live without bringing your own set of necessities, including your nail kit?

Here is one question you will encounter while packing your bags: can you bring nail clippers on a plane

Nail clippers

It’s not just about the typical nail cutter. A manicure kit might contain the following: fingernail clippers, toenail clippers, a nail file, a cuticle pusher or nipper, and bottles of nail polish (we gotta have ‘em choices!). Nail scissors or multi-purpose scissors and tweezers are also usually included.  

Does TSA allow nail clippers? 

The Transportation Security Administration is an agency established in 2001 in the U.S. to “protect the nation’s transportation systems.” Their stringent procedures and security screenings, to be honest, are quite dreaded by any traveler. 

Not sure about the contents of your luggage? The TSA published a list of items that are acceptable or prohibited in any carry-on or checked baggage.   

As for our question about nail clippers and items in the manicure kit, we’ve got this summary: 

Nail Clippers✈️✈️
Nail Polish✈️ ⚠️⚠️: Less than 3.4oz / 100 ml allowed. Must fit comfortably in a single quart-sized resealable bag with other travel sized liquids, lotions and gels. ✈️
Nail Polish Remover✈️ ⚠️⚠️: Less than 3.4oz / 100 ml allowed. Must fit comfortably in a single quart-sized resealable bag with other travel sized liquids, lotions and gels.✈️
Scissors✈️ ⚠️⚠️: must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point✈️

Yes, you can bring nail clippers on a plane, both in your carry-on bags and in your checked bags.

TSA has been directly corresponding with travelers through their social media accounts. People have been sending in queries, along with photos to confirm if their nail clippers will pass the screening.  

Does TSA allow other nail tools?

TSA has verified other nail care tools that can be carried on a plane or those with restrictions for flights within and departing from the United States. 

TSA-approved items via carry-on bags are cuticle pushers, nippers, glass or metal nail files, and even UV nail lamps or nail dryers!  

UV/LED lamps for nails

Glass nail file

Cuticle pusher


Electric fingernail drill

Planning to bring your electric fingernail drill

TSA notes that this is a power tool and must be packed in your checked bags.   

Can you bring nail clippers on a plane?

Going back to our main question about bringing nail clippers on a plane. 

For flights within and departing from the U.S., yes, it is permitted. The TSA has confirmed this through their list, and several times via @AskTSA

United Airlines has also confirmed this to one of their passengers.  

Other carriers such as Delta, Southwest, and American Airlines did not specifically note anything about nail clippers. But they do ask their passengers to refer to the TSA’s list of permitted and prohibited items. 

However, there are three important conditions to be noted. 

  • First, sharp objects should be securely wrapped or sheathed even if inside checked luggage. This is for the safety of baggage handlers and inspectors.  
  • It is also advised that nail clippers or other nail care tools are packed in a separate pouch or kit inside your carry-on bag. This is for easier inspection and turnover to the screening officer. Rummaging inside your bag to look for items that might have tripped the sensors probably wouldn’t be a good start to your trip.
  • And lastly, while these items are generally TSA-approved, it is still up to the discretion of the TSA officer, especially if it triggers an alarm during the screening process or may pose other security concerns.

Case in point, there were several posts about their nail clippers being confiscated at the airport or the small blades attached to the clippers getting “snapped off” as the checkpoint officer probably deemed it to be a prohibited item some years back.  

Can you use nail clippers or apply nail polish on a plane? 

Planning to retouch your manicure en route to your destination to save time? 

You might have to think again. 

Clipping nails

While it is not illegal to have nail clippers on board, your seatmate or the other passengers might take offense to you cutting or cleaning your nails around them. 

The same goes with applying or removing nail polish in-flight. There was even an instance that a woman got arrested by the authorities. This was after the situation escalated between her and several flight attendants due to her painting her nails. 

The FAA or the Federal Aviation Administration noted that the flight crew should be consulted first before using items that emit strong fumes or odors, like that in the case of nail polish and polish remover. 

Are nail clippers also permitted on board in other countries? 

While nail clippers are TSA-approved in flights within and departing from the U.S., this policy varies in other countries. Some countries have about the same policies as the TSA when it comes to nail clippers, such as Canada and U.K.  

But there are airlines that consider nail clippers, nail files, scissors, and the likes as restricted items in carry-on bags while some totally ban these from aircrafts. It would be good practice to check the country or airline’s policies prior to your scheduled flight. 

A good rule of thumb when it comes to items you are bringing on board: always think if it can be used as a weapon or a dangerous instrument that can hurt other passengers. If yes, then it might be better to put that inside your checked bags, or leave that at home.  

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