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Yes, scissors are allowed on airplanes. If the blade of the scissors extends less than 4”, or 10.2cm from the pivot point, they are allowed to be packed in your carry-on luggage. The pivot point is also known as the fulcrum point whereas the two blades are connected and move from.

If the blades extend beyond 4” or 10.2cm from the pivot point, they must be packed in a checked bag. 

Regardless of carry-on or checked luggage, the scissors must be securely stored and the blade protected so it would not poke, stab, or cut anyone reaching into the bag. 

How to measure scissors for air travel

  • Find the pivot point of the scissors
  • Measure from the pivot point to the end of the blade

The pivot point, or the fulcrum point of the scissors is found close to the middle of a set of scissors. Use a ruler or measuring tape to measure from the farthest side, relative to the tip of the blades, of the pivot point and go to the end of the blade.

If the measurement is less than 4”, you are okay to pack these scissors in your carry-on or checked luggage. If they measure greater than 4”, they will need to be securely packed for your checked luggage. 

Common types of scissors

The below table is a list of different types of scissors, the category they each belong to and a description of what they’re used for. We recommend scanning this list for any items that may be included in your travel packing plans so you’re aware of what to do with them. 

Scissor Name



Nail scissors

Personal care

Used for trimming fingernails.


Hair care

Used for cutting and styling hair.

Embroidery scissors

Fabric and sewing

Designed for precise cuts in embroidery and needlework.

Tailor and dressmaking shears

Fabric and sewing

Used for cutting fabric in tailoring and dressmaking.

Pinking Shears

Fabric and sewing

Create zigzag patterns on fabric edges to prevent fraying.

Buttonhole scissors

Fabric and sewing

Designed to cut buttonholes without damaging the fabric.

Upholstery scissors

Fabric and sewing

Used for cutting heavy fabrics in upholstery work.

Poultry Snips


Designed for cutting through poultry and bone.

Grape snips


Used for separating grapes from the vine in the kitchen.

Cigar cutter


Designed to cut the end off cigars for smoking.

Haircutting shears

Hair care

Used for cutting and trimming hair.

Haircutting thinners

Hair care

Thin out hair to reduce volume and create texture.

Hair clippers

Hair care

Electric tool for cutting hair close to the scalp.

Compound, aviation, tin snips


Used for cutting thin sheets of metal.

Hydraulic cutters


Use hydraulic force to cut through metal.

Throatless shears


Designed for continuous cutting of metal sheets without material repositioning.

Bookbinder shears


Used in bookbinding for cutting paper and materials.

Bandage shears


Designed to cut bandages without injuring the skin.

Medical scissors


General-purpose scissors for medical use.

Mayo scissors


Surgical scissors with a specific design for certain procedures.

Bonzai scissors


Used for pruning and shaping bonsai trees.

Pruning shears


Used for cutting and trimming plants and shrubs.

Hedge trimmers


Used for shaping and trimming hedges and shrubs.

Wool shears


Used for shearing wool from sheep.

Trauma shears


Heavy-duty scissors for cutting clothing off injured patients.

Kitchen shears


Multipurpose scissors for various kitchen tasks, like cutting herbs.

Craft scissors

Arts and Crafts

Used for various craft projects; often have decorative edges.

Safety scissors

General Use

Designed with rounded tips for safety, often used by children.

Electrician's scissors

Professional Tools

Used for cutting electrical wires and cables.

Floral shears


Designed for cutting and trimming flowers and plants.

How to securely pack scissors for travel

  • Use scissor covers
  • Place scissors in a protective case or pouch
  • Tape blades together and wrap the point

Most higher-end specialty scissors come with a sheath or cover to protect them during travel. If you have the original packaging, check to see if there is a cover in there. Otherwise, you can purchase leather sheaths or other covers on Amazon. 

For those in rush or would like an inexpensive solution, tape the blades together and wrap them a few times in cloth or a couple paper towels. Cover the wrapping in tape and those will secure your scissors sufficiently until you get to your destination. 

Shears vs. Scissors - What’s the difference?

Despite sounding the same, scissors and shears are two different types of cutting tools, each with unique purposes. The primary difference between the two is that scissors are smaller and meant for lighter duty tasks, while shears are manufactured for specific jobs and have higher quality materials and construction. 

Scissors generally have the following characteristics:

  • Blade length of less than 6 inches
  • Finger holes on the handles are equally sized and symmetrical
  • Inexpensive, and usually have straight blades

Shears generally have the following characteristics:

  • Finger holes are different sized, typically with one side having the capacity for multiple fingers
  • Blades are typically longer and sharper, allowing for better control in thicker cuts
  • Higher quality components may be used, such as stainless steel blades. 


Can I bring hair cutting shears on a plane?

Yes; however, hair cutting shears typically have a blade that is longer than 4” from the pivot point. This means you will need to package them securely and place them in your checked luggage. If your hair cutting shears are less than 4” from the pivot point, they can be packed in your carry-on bag. 

What are the TSA approved scissors rules?

TSA allows scissors with blades under 4” from the pivot point to packed in carry-on luggage. For scissors with blades longer than 4”, they will need to be securely packed in your checked baggage. 

Can you take scissors on a domestic flight?

Yes, you may pack scissors for a domestic flight. Scissors with a blade greater than 4” from the pivot point must be securely packed in your checked luggage. If the blades are under 4” from the pivot point, they can be packed in your carry-on. 

Can I bring scissors in my carry-on bag?

Yes, so as long as the blades are less than 4” from the pivot point. 

How many scissors in checked luggage are allowed?

There is no restriction on the quantity of scissors you can bring in your checked luggage so as long as they are stored securely.

Can you bring hair-cutting scissors on a plane?

Yes, scissors with a blade greater than 4” in length from the pivot point must be packed in your check luggage. Scissors with blades less than 4” in length from the pivot point may be packed in your carry-on. 


Written by
Brian Fischer, Staff Writer

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