Do Airports Make You Take Out Piercings? Truth Revealed for Travelers

When traveling by air, you might be concerned about whether or not you’ll have to remove your body piercings for airport security. These concerns are not unreasonable, as security measures in airports have tightened over the years.

While you generally should not have to remove piercings at the airport, larger body piercings may cause alarms to go off during the security screening. In such cases, you may be asked for an additional pat-down or, alternatively, to remove the piercing in private before proceeding.

Be prepared for varied experiences, as security personnel and detectors may react differently to the presence of piercings. Stay informed and ready to make your airport experience as smooth as possible.

Airport Security and Body Piercings

When preparing for a flight, you may wonder how your body piercings will affect your experience at airport security checkpoints. In this section, we’ll discuss the TSA’s policies on piercings, and how metal detectors and body scanners might react to them.

TSA Policies on Piercings

Generally, you’re not required to remove your body piercings when going through airport security. However, some metal body piercings may trigger the machines’ alarms, resulting in the need for a pat-down. If you prefer avoiding a pat-down, you may be asked to remove your piercing in private and go through the scanning process again.

Metal Detectors and Body Scanners

Metal detectors and body scanners are designed to detect metal objects on your person, including body jewelry. The size and type of your piercing can influence whether the machines detect them or not. Many travelers with piercings report passing through airport security without any issues.

Yet, others may experience alarms, leading to additional screening, such as a pat-down or request to remove their piercings.

To reduce the chances of delays or issues, consider wearing plastic or non-metallic jewelry in your piercings during travel. This may help you avoid triggering the metal detectors and streamline the security process.

Keep in mind that security personnel are responsible for ensuring passenger safety, and their reactions may vary depending on your location and their training.

Types of Piercings and Airport Security

Journeying through airport security with piercings can be a concern for many travelers. To help make your experience worry-free, let’s explore how different types of piercings may affect your time at the airport.

Metal-Based Piercings

Quality metal body jewelry is often non-ferromagnetic and won’t set off the large walk-through metal detectors. However, smaller hand-held wands may be more sensitive and could sound an alarm when scanning directly over the jewelry.

If your metal-based piercings do trigger an alarm, you might be subject to additional screening. TSA agents may ask you to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to a pat-down.

Non-Metal Piercings

Non-metal piercings, such as those made of plastic, are less likely to cause an issue at airport security. Choosing to wear non-metallic jewelry during travel can reduce the chance of triggering any alarms within the machines.

If you’re worried about revealing your piercings during travel, opting for non-metal piercings can help ensure a smoother and more discreet experience at airport security.

How to Prepare for Airport Security with Piercings

Pre-Flight Considerations

Before heading to the airport, consider removing any large, visible piercings to avoid potential issues at security. If you’re concerned about particular piercings setting off alarms, think about removing or replacing them with non-metal alternatives.

Be mindful of your piercing jewelry, particularly long spike-style pieces that might be considered weapons and confiscated. Keep extra jewelry, belts with large buckles, and other metal accessories in your carry-on bag instead of wearing them.

Security Checkpoint Tips

At the security checkpoint, remember to stay calm and cooperative. In the event that your body piercings do cause an alarm, be prepared to show them to a TSA agent.

If additional screening is required, you may be asked to remove your body piercing in a private setting as an alternative to a pat-down. Don’t be alarmed by this request; the security officer conducting the screening will typically be of your own gender.

Alternatives to Removal of Piercings

If you’re concerned about removing your piercings when going through airport security, there are a few alternatives you can consider.


One option is to undergo a pat-down. If your piercings cause the metal detector to alarm, security personnel may perform a pat-down to ensure your safety and that of others.

As an alternative to removing your piercing in private, you can request a pat-down for additional screening, thus allowing you to keep your piercings intact.

Security Options

Instead of removing potentially troublesome piercings, you may still be able to go through security without delay. Generally, metal detectors are designed to target larger threats, such as weapons or explosives, rather than small amounts of metal, like body jewelry.

However, if you know that your piercings might cause issues, it’s best to be prepared with alternatives. For example, you can carry a plastic bag to store your jewelry, or opt for a pat-down instead of walking through the scanner.

Post-Security Measures and Tips

Once you have successfully passed through airport security, you may need to reinsert your body jewelry if it was removed.

It’s essential to follow proper procedures and ensure hygiene when handling piercings.

Reinserting Piercings Safely

First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before attempting to touch your piercings.

Next, sanitize your jewelry using an alcohol wipe or a specialized cleaning solution.

If feasible, consider using non-metallic or non-ferromagnetic jewelry options to avoid triggering metal detectors in the future.

Knowing how to handle your piercing jewelry during airport security screenings will help prevent potential issues.

If you need assistance or have concerns, consult with a professional piercer for advice and support.

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