Can You Bring Pens & Pencils On A Plane? (TSA Rules)

Last Updated on March 14, 2021

Pens and pencils were an essential packing item for your school bag, but should they be packed in your luggage when you fly?

Well mostly they are fine, but there is one type of writing implement that is banned on airplanes.

To build suspense I’m going to reveal the banned item in a moment.

Let’s get started.

TSA Pens & Pencils Rules

The Transportation Security Administration agents are the folks that screen your baggage at the airport security checkpoint. They also examine checked bags behind the scenes to make sure nothing dangerous is permitted on to planes.

The TSA doesn’t specifically mention pencils on their website, but they have answered the question on Twitter many times.

Marie asked if she could bring colored pencils in her carry-on luggage and the TSA confirmed that she could pack pencils in hand luggage.

Pencils are of course permitted to be packed in checked luggage too.

Pencil sharpeners are permitted on planes in both carry-on luggage and checked luggage. The blade is deemed to be too small to pose a serious risk.

When it comes to pens things get a little more confusing.

You can bring a normal pen in carry-on bags and checked bags though I would advise against packing an expensive pen in checked luggage because occasionally items can be stolen from checked luggage.

But if your pen is considered to be a tactical pen then you might not be able to bring it in hand luggage.

Tactical pens are designed to be both sharp and sturdy so you can stab people with them. TSA agents routinely confiscate these types of pens from passengers at the security checkpoint.

How To Check With The TSA About Pens & Pencils

You can use the @AskTSA service on Twitter to ask the TSA about any pen or pencil you are unsure about.

Just upload a photo and they’ll get back to you.

Crystal asked about bringing a mechanical pencil on her flight.

The TSA replied that mechanical pencils are allowed in carry-on bags without limits.

Dylan asked about bringing sharpie markers and was given the green light.

Tara wanted to bring crayons to distract a toddler during a flight and checked that they were approved.

Amy got the goahead for chalk markers.

This passenger checked about bringing a fountain pen on a plane.

And the TSA replied that “fountain pens are allowed in carry-on bags”.

Caligraphy pens and caligraphy pen tips are permitted in carry-on luggage too.

Casey checked about art supplies like pain brushes and drawing pencils.

The Final Word

The good news is you can bring pencils and pens in planes in hand luggage or hold luggage.

The only type of pen you are not permitted to bring is a tactical pen. This is a pen that is designed to be used as a weapon so you will not be permitted to bring a tactical pen past airport security.

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