Rules for Flights in the USA
On flights in the United States, pencil sharpeners are allowed in hand and cargo baggage. TSA doesn’t list any exceptions, so we can assume both electric and manual sharpeners are permitted on planes.
However, the TSA does mention that the security agent at the airport always makes the final decision. So theoretically, a TSA agent might deem it dangerous and forbid it from your hand luggage. However, this is very unlikely to happen as pencil sharpeners are generally considered safe.
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, China, and India
In Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, China, and India it isn’t specified if pencil sharpeners are allowed on planes. But, their rules are almost identical to the US, and pencil sharpeners are generally allowed in hand and cargo baggage. But, airport security agents have the last call on allowing pencil sharpeners on a plane. Larger pencil sharpeners with larger blades or exposed blades are more likely to raise concerns.
In Europe, pencil sharpeners are generally allowed in hand and cargo baggage. However, some countries and airlines prohibit pencil sharpeners in cabin baggage. Passengers should consult directly with their air carrier to see if they can take pencil sharpeners onboard.
Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring pencil sharpeners on planes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Pencil Sharpeners on Planes
Do pencil sharpeners count as sharp items on airplanes?
Generally, pencil sharpeners don’t count as sharp items on planes in the United States. TSA allows them in hand and cargo baggage without any restrictions. Although pencil sharpeners have a blade, it’s usually too small to be considered a problem, similar to can openers. It’s also concealed, so you can’t hurt anyone with it. However, if a TSA agent believes your pencil sharpener represents a threat, then he has the authority to prevent it from boarding the plane.
Are electric pencil sharpeners also allowed on planes?
Electric pencil sharpeners are generally allowed on planes in the United States. TSA states all pencil sharpeners are welcome onboard and it doesn’t list any exceptions. So, we can assume electric pencil sharpeners can be packed in hand and cargo baggage. Yet, the security agent at the airport has the final call on whether an electric pencil sharpener can travel in the plane.
Is it better to pack pencil sharpeners in hand or checked luggage?
Overall, it’s best to pack pencil sharpeners in checked luggage when traveling in the United States. Although pencil sharpeners are allowed in hand and cargo baggage, there is always a small chance that the airport security agent might find it threatening. Unless you want to draw and use the sharpener onboard, pack it in your checked luggage. On the contrary, if you are planning to draw during the flight, then pack your sharpener, pencils, and markers together in a large capacity pencil case inside your carry-on. Having all of your supplies together evidences why you’re carrying a pencil sharpener in case the security agent has any questions about it.
Can I take pencils on planes (regular and colored)?
Yes, you can take both regular and colored pencils on planes in the United States. You can pack them in hand and cargo baggage. Pencils aren’t considered dangerous items regardless of their size, material, or how sharp they are. Graphite, carbon, and watercolor pencils are all permitted in United States planes without packaging requirements or quantity limits.
Read Next: Can You Bring Your Art Portfolio on Planes?
Can I bring pencil lead on planes?
In general, you can bring pencil lead on United States planes. Pencil lead isn’t actually made of lead or any material that is considered harmful to humans. It isn’t sharp enough to be considered dangerous either. TSA doesn’t list it as a banned item, which means you can pack it in carry-on and checked baggage.
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