A friend of mine is considering getting some extensive body modding done, including a set of piercings that won't be easily removed at airport security. He is very likely guaranteed to set off the metal detectors from that point on.

Considering the old spiel of pockets-belt-shoes, what can he do to make his trip through security as smooth as possible - and what differences can he really expect?

  • Unfortunately, he can expect to have different experiences with every agency or even airport.
    – DTRT
    Sep 4, 2017 at 13:46
  • I have never seen anyone asked to remove earrings or even simple jewelry such as a necklace or rings. Do you have any reason to believe that piercings cause issues? Sep 5, 2017 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


The exact procedure might differ depending on where (which country) you are flying from, but irremovable piercings would generally be treated like metallic implants. If the metal detector is triggered, you will be taken aside for a pat-down and/or additional screening.

  • While this seems plausible, and even likely to be true, some references to official or anecdotal support would improve the answer quite a lot.
    – phoog
    Sep 4, 2017 at 12:36
  • It depends on the metal. I flew a lot with a metal implant in my ankle holding bones together (with all the screws). However it was non-magnetic metal (titanium), and did not trigger the metal detectors at airport, so no questions were asked. I still carried the doctor paperwork with me just in case though.
    – George Y.
    Sep 5, 2017 at 2:15

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