Can You Bring A Screwdriver On A Plane?

The notion of boarding an aircraft with a tool that can dismantle fittings might seem counterintuitive given heightened airport security measures in the modern age. However, when it comes to tools like screwdrivers, travelers often query whether they can include such items in their carry-on or checked baggage. The regulations about tools and potentially sharp objects on planes have evolved significantly, particularly since the pivotal events of September 11, 2001, which resulted in a seismic shift in aviation security protocols worldwide.

Starting in the early days of commercial flight, security was rudimentary, with few checks on what passengers could bring aboard. However, over time, especially from the 1970s onwards, rising concerns over hijackings and terrorist attacks led to the institution of more stringent security measures. In this context, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States and analogous agencies in other countries have established clear guidelines concerning tools and such implements as part of their mission to protect passengers from potential threats. The rules regarding screwdrivers and other hand tools are part of a comprehensive set of security measures intended to balance safety with practicality for passengers who might have legitimate reasons to travel with such items.

can you bring a screwdriver on a plane

Table of Contents

Can You Take A Screwdriver On A Plane?

When it comes to air travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific regulations about what items you can take on a plane. For tools such as screwdrivers, the rules state that you can take screwdrivers that are less than 7 inches in length in your carry-on luggage. However, any screwdriver over this size must be packed in your checked baggage. This ensures the safety and security of all passengers on board. Knowing these guidelines helps you pack appropriately and avoid any inconvenience at the security checkpoint. Continue reading for a detailed exploration of the rules and tips for traveling with tools like screwdrivers.

Overview of Screwdriver Allowance on USA Domestic Flights

Carrying tools such as screwdrivers on domestic flights in the United States is subject to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. Passengers are allowed to carry screwdrivers and other tools in their checked luggage with relatively few restrictions. However, guidelines for carry-on bags are more stringent in order to ensure safety aboard the aircraft.

TSA Regulations for Screwdrivers in Carry-On Bags

  • Screwdrivers that are less than 7 inches (17.8 cm) long are permitted in carry-on bags.1
  • Any screwdriver exceeding this length must be placed in checked baggage.
  • Passengers are advised to sheath or securely wrap any sharp tools to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

Guidelines for Packing Screwdrivers in Checked Luggage

  • There are no length restrictions for screwdrivers in checked luggage.
  • While not mandatory, it is advisable to place tools in a sturdy toolbox or case to prevent movement and potential damage to other items.
  • Inspection officers have the authority to open checked baggage as needed, and proper packing helps expedite this process.

Carrying Screwdriver Sets and Related Tools

  • Similar to individual screwdrivers, tools in a set must adhere to the 7-inch rule for carry-ons, otherwise, they must be checked.
  • Tool sets with a dedicated case are recommended for ease of inspection and transportation.
  • Power tools and cordless screwdrivers are typically allowed in checked baggage, but all batteries must be removed and carried in carry-on bags.

Considerations for International Travel and Connecting Flights

While the TSA sets rules for USA domestic flights, passengers with international segments or connecting flights should be aware of the regulations in other countries, which may differ. It’s crucial to check with the other countries’ aviation security regulations and the airline’s policy to ensure compliance.

Lost or Confiscated Items at Security Checkpoints

If a screwdriver or any tool does not meet the TSA’s regulations and is discovered during the security screening, it may be confiscated. Passengers are often given the option to return the item to their vehicle or to package and mail it to a desired address, if facilities are available. Any items left behind are not the responsibility of TSA and are generally not recoverable.

Special Circumstances or Work-Related Travel

For passengers traveling for work purposes with a necessity to carry tools, it’s recommended to consider TSA Pre✓®. This expedited screening may not change the rules regarding tools, but it can make the security process quicker. Additionally, professionals should always carry the necessary documentation or identification confirming their need for specialized tools.

1Reference to the TSA website for tools: TSA – Screwdrivers under 7 inches

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides guidelines for safe travel which are often adopted by airlines and security agencies worldwide. When it comes to flying with tools such as screwdrivers, the IATA has specific regulations to ensure the safety of all passengers on board. According to IATA regulations, tools that can be used as a weapon, such as screwdrivers, are generally not allowed in carry-on baggage. They may be permitted in checked luggage if they meet certain conditions.

  • Screwdrivers must be less than 6 cm in length from the pivot point.
  • Tools longer than 6 cm are only permitted in checked baggage.
  • Passengers should securely wrap or sheath any sharp edges to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

For more detailed information, please refer to the IATA’s guidelines on prohibited items.

Country Specific Regulations

While IATA guidelines provide a general framework, individual countries may have their own specific regulations regarding the transport of tools like screwdrivers on flights. It is crucial for travelers to be aware of these regulations to avoid any inconvenience or legal issues during their journey.

United Kingdom

  • Tools including screwdrivers are not allowed in hand luggage and must be placed in checked luggage.
  • For detailed regulations, refer to the UK government guidelines.


  • The European Union has similar restrictions, with screwdrivers not permitted in carry-on baggage.
  • Check the EU aviation security policy for more information.



New Zealand


  • Asian countries typically follow IATA guidelines, but it’s important to check specific country regulations.
  • Refer to the respective country’s civil aviation authority for accurate information.


10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with a Screwdriver

Airlines may have their own set of rules that either align with or are more restrictive than IATA and country-specific regulations. It is essential for passengers to review and comply with the airline’s policies regarding the transport of tools such as screwdrivers to ensure a smooth travel experience.

American Airlines

Delta Air Lines

  • Tools including screwdrivers must be securely packed in checked luggage.
  • Delta’s baggage policy can be found on their restricted items page.

United Airlines

Southwest Airlines

British Airways


Air Canada



  • Emirates allows screwdrivers only in checked baggage.
  • Visit the Emirates baggage FAQs for more details.

Cathay Pacific

Packing a Screwdriver in Your Carry-On Luggage

When planning to travel with tools such as screwdrivers, it’s essential to know the rules for carry-on luggage to ensure a hassle-free experience at the airport. Regulatory bodies such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States have specific guidelines.

  • Check Airline and TSA Guidelines: Confirm the length restrictions for tools in carry-on luggage. Typically, screwdrivers under 7 inches in length from end to end are allowed.
  • Choose the Right Size: Ensure your screwdriver complies with the length guideline. Compact or pocket-sized screwdrivers are often suitable for carry-on.
  • Securely Package It: Wrap the screwdriver in a protective sheath or case. If none is available, wrap it in bubble wrap or cloth, securing it with tape to prevent injury or damage.
  • Place It Strategically: Position the wrapped screwdriver in an easily accessible area of your carry-on, like an outer pocket or on top, for quick inspection if necessary.
  • Informed Packing: Keep in mind that discretion is up to the security officer, and even if under the allowed size, the tool may still be confiscated if deemed a security threat.

taking screwdrivers through airport security

Packing a Screwdriver in Your Hold Luggage

Packing tools in checked baggage is usually less restrictive than in carry-on. However, there are still best practices for ensuring your tools and other belongings arrive safely and without causing any issues.

  • Adhere to Airline Regulations: Always check your specific airline’s rules regarding tools in checked luggage, as they can vary.
  • Use a Tool Box: If you’re carrying several tools, including screwdrivers, use a dedicated tool box. Ensure it’s sturdy and lockable.
  • Screwdriver Set Case: If you have a screwdriver set, keep it in its original case. This prevents movement and potential damage.
  • Wrap Individual Tools: Each tool should be wrapped in bubble wrap or clothing to prevent it from shifting and causing damage.
  • Secure and Balance Your Luggage: Place heavier items like tools in the center of the suitcase surrounded by clothes for a balanced load and to prevent the bag from tipping.
  • Inventory Your Tools: Make a list of the tools you’re packing in case your luggage is lost or you need to file a claim. Include serial numbers if possible.

By following the correct procedures for both carry-on and checked luggage, you can ensure that your screwdriver and any other tools you need reach your destination without delay or trouble. Remember that regulations and guidelines can change, so it is always best to check with the relevant authorities before traveling.

Essential Tools for Air Travel

Alongside a screwdriver, there are several other compact tools that can be handy during air travel. A pair of needle-nose pliers can be useful for gripping or bending small items, while a multi-tool, which often includes a knife, scissors, and files, can cover a variety of needs in one foldable device. It’s important to ensure that any knife blade in a multi-tool does not exceed the airline’s length restrictions. Additionally, a small roll of duct tape can be a lifesaver for quick repairs on damaged luggage or temporary fixes. A portable power bank is also essential to keep electronic devices charged during long flights. Remember to check the airline’s regulations regarding tools and power banks to ensure they are permitted on board.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring A Screwdriver On A Plane?

Flying often comes with security concerns and restrictions on what passengers can bring aboard an aircraft. One common question travelers have relates to tools and specifically whether they are allowed to bring screwdrivers on a plane. Given the varying regulations depending on the country, airline, and type of flight, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of traveling with such items. This section aims to clear up any confusion and provide answers to frequently asked questions about carrying screwdrivers on an airplane.

Can I bring a screwdriver in my carry-on bag?

No, you cannot bring screwdrivers over 7 inches in your carry-on bag, as they are considered potential weapons. Tools shorter than 7 inches are typically allowed.

Are there any size limitations for screwdrivers in checked luggage?

No, there are no specific size limitations for screwdrivers in checked luggage. However, all tools should be securely wrapped and sheathed to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

Can I bring a multi-tool with a screwdriver on a plane?

Multi-tools with blades are not permitted in carry-on luggage, but if the multi-tool only contains a screwdriver and other non-blade tools, it is usually allowed in your carry-on as long as it is shorter than 7 inches.

Do I need to declare my screwdriver when checking my bag?

No, you do not need to declare standard tools like screwdrivers when checking your bag, but it’s always a good idea to check your airline’s specific rules before flying.

Are electric screwdrivers or power drills allowed in carry-on bags?

Electric screwdrivers and power drills are typically not permitted in carry-on bags due to their size and battery-operated nature. They should be placed in checked luggage with their batteries properly installed or packaged according to airline regulations.

Could a small eyeglass repair screwdriver be carried onto a plane?

Yes, a small eyeglass repair screwdriver is generally permitted in carry-on luggage since it is not large or sharp enough to be considered a threat.

What should I do if my screwdriver is confiscated at the security checkpoint?

If your screwdriver is confiscated, you can ask if it’s possible to return to the check-in counter to place it in your checked baggage, or you may have to leave it behind. Always check the TSA’s prohibited items list before traveling.

Are there any exceptions that allow for larger screwdrivers in the aircraft cabin?

Exceptions are rare and typically related to a need for the tool for a professional job at the destination that cannot be met with checking the item. It requires pre-approval from the airline and security agencies.

Can I pack a screwdriver set in my luggage?

Yes, a screwdriver set can be packed in your checked luggage. Ensure that the tools are packed securely to avoid any accidents or damage to your belongings.

How can I prepare my screwdriver for safe transport in checked luggage?

Wrap your screwdriver in protective material or place it in a sturdy toolbox. Make sure the tip is covered and cannot puncture the luggage. It’s also advisable to place such items in the center of your suitcase, cushioned by clothes or other soft materials.

Packing It All Up

When considering whether you can bring a screwdriver on a plane, the most important factor is its size. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), screwdrivers that are less than 7 inches (17.8 cm) in length are generally permitted in your carry-on baggage. However, any screwdriver exceeding this length should be packed in your checked luggage to comply with security regulations. It’s crucial to remember that the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest guidelines on the TSA website before traveling.

For travelers who may need tools like screwdrivers upon arrival, packing them in checked luggage is the safest bet to avoid delays or confiscation at the security checkpoint. In any case, it’s essential to pack sharp tools securely to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors. If you’re a professional carrying tools for work, consider investing in a toolkit that’s designed to comply with airline regulations. Keeping these insights in mind can help ensure a smoother journey, avoiding any unnecessary inconvenience and ensuring you have the tools you need when you land.