I like to travel with hand luggage only when possible, but I also like to take nail scissors with me. From what I've read, it sounds like scissors shorter than 6 cm with rounded (not pointed) tips should be allowed. Are there any "travel nail scissors" especially intended for this, or can I go with "children's nail scissors", which tend to have rounded tips? Are those strong enough for adult nails? (I also have rather large hands, to complicate matters!)

I understand that rules vary between countries and that security officers have wide leeway, so no scissors are ever guaranteed to be allowed, but if I can find something that's "clearly within the rules" in the EU and, ideally, people have experience of successfully taking those through security, that's good enough for me - I can take some risk of them being confiscated.

(Please note that I'm looking specifically for scissors and not nail clippers, such as the ones in Can you take the "other" type of nail clipper in hand baggage?)

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    (+1) Note that the EU has nothing like the TSA but typically private contractors acting on the local implementation/translation of EU-wide rules so I would expect standards to vary even more than it does, e.g. in the US.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 8:50
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    I have a small Swiss knife, the smaller version of their officers knives, and it has traveled with me by air within Europe, with a set of scissors, a pointed nail file and a 3 cm long knife (with a pointed end.) It has been seen at all airport security stations and been measured a few times. I have been told it is acceptable under the EU-European rules. The one I travel with is a cheap second hand one, but it is a proper (and sharp) one. But as said, your mileage may vary.
    – Willeke
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 9:15
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    in ZRH there is a Victorinox shop in the Tax Free area, after security... They will only sell what is permitted though. And that is: Any knife up to 6 cm. I have a victorinox Swiss Card that goes with me everywhere. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 10:07
  • I’d suggest checking the relevant airport website(s) as the ‘rules’ may well differ
    – Traveller
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 10:42
  • Only thing that is guaranteed not to cause trouble is nail clippers. Scissors risk being inspected, which can be annoying if you fly a lot
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 12:50

2 Answers 2


It's hard to be definitive as there is always the possibly of meeting an intransigent security guard. But I would suggest taking scissors which have rounded ends rather than merely blunt. Rounded ends make it extremely clear that the scissors cannot be used as a weapon, as they have nothing resembling a sharp point.

Here is a similar pair to the ones I have.

A pair of short, stainless steel, nail scissors with rounded ends

Personally, I have carried rounded end scissors through security many times in my first aid kit, without them being confiscated, including in Europe. In most cases, they have been spotted in the X-ray machine, and the checkpoint staff take them out to check them. So it's a good idea to make sure they are in an easy to access place in your bag.

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    An attacker could kill with rounded scissors. I guess I'll leave the implications of TSA and others allowing weapons through like this, but not sharp scissors, to the reader. Sharp metal pens, but not a fork. 2.99oz of explosive liquids but not 3oz, etc.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 17:57
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    An attacker can kill with his bare hands, @SnakeDoc, let the security theater go on...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 22:30
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    @FreeMan I usually do, until I fly again... standing in that cattle line, I can't help but feel my blood boil at all the nonesense going on. Shoes off, cuz terrorism, unless the TSA agent is behind schedule, then shoes are OK! The madness goes on and on and on.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 22:37
  • a true attacker can even kill with a Pencil !
    – Nigel Fds
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 2:02
  • @SnakeDoc: There's no real logic to it, but no one pretends there is either. Plenty of TSA stories have come out where their staff admit how many things they miss. It's just for show.
    – gktscrk
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 4:43

TSA allows scissors under 4" in carry on it's 6cm for most European countries (sorry, there is no single source of information). As long as you stay under 6cm, you have a good chance of getting it through.

This being said, you never know until you get there. At the end of the day it's up to the security officer and some of them are not familiar with their own regulations. Case in point: second to last time I left Germany a security agent pulled a dry deodorant stick out of my carry on and gave me a 10 minute tongue lashing (despite the fact that there was only one security line open and the flight was already delayed due to extremely slow security). This stick is clearly "ok" to have in carry on, it does NOT count as a liquid and I have taken it hundreds of times through check points without any issue.

Summary: small scissors should be fine, but it's up to the agent and don't bring anything that you are not willing to throw away if you have to.

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