If you work as a handyman or construction specialist you are probably used to carrying your tools around with you. In fact you might even need to travel with them at some point in time. Whether if you are traveling for business or perhaps to assist with a charity mission project it is important to know the rules around traveling on airplanes with tools. If you are planning on bringing your tools with you on a plane trip then you will want to take some time to become familiar with these rules. This way you can plan ahead accordingly instead of dealing with the frustrations on the day you travel.
Before comparing which tools can be carried on the plane and which cannot – it is important to understand that there are different rules for different types of tools. And these can even vary by airline and unfortunately sometimes even by TSA checkpoints though they are expected to be consistent. Luckily many tools can be carried in checked-luggage while others can be carried with you as carry-on luggage. If you’re ever unsure – please contact the airline in advance to verify how you should transport the specific tools you are planning to take.
As you might expect, any tools with sharp edges are banned from carry-on luggage. This is of course a direct result of 9/11 but to be candid, it’s quite surprising they weren’t banned earlier. This is includes saws, blades, drills and box cutters. While you cannot carry them on board with you, you can put them in your checked luggage. But remember, if you do carry tools that are allowed to be carried on board, make sure to properly secure them in their bags. You don’t want to hurt yourself or others with improperly secured tools.
Besides bans on sharp edges there are bans on carrying tools such as cattle prods, hammers and crowbars. These are generally banned because of their weight and size – even though the risk of attack is rare, they pose a significant flight hazard if stored in overhead bins. As with most other tools, you can usually check these tools in your checked baggage.
While it probably seems like you cannot bring any tools on board with you – this is not entirely true. There are several tools that you can bring with you – including screwdrivers and pliers. There might be even additional tools but as mentioned earlier, make sure to check with the airline to verify. Even though you can bring a pair of pliers on board – all of your tools must be less than seven inches long. If they are longer than that, then you will most likely need to check them.
Finally despite the fact that you might be able to bring certain tools with you on the plane it is a good idea to always put tools in checked baggage. Or if you are afraid of the airline losing your luggage with your tools – then ship the tools using a carrier like FedEx or UPS. The reason is that while certain tools are allowed, they can make other passengers uneasy and may have the TSA give you extra pat-downs just because you will stand-out. And it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to tighten any screws while flying.