There is no requirement to remove earrings when going through airport security.
But, if you trigger an alarm going through the scanner the TSA officer might decide to do a physical pat-down.
For many travelers, the pat-down is an uncomfortable procedure and they’d rather avoid it. The TSA agent needs to check all over your body including the groin area.
Crucially, some types of earrings will set off the metal detector alarm and others won’t. This post looks at when it’s best to remove earrings at airport security and when you can safely keep them on.
TSA Earrings Rules
Cassie on Twitter asked the TSA about wearing earrings through airport security.
Most earrings don’t require removal for screening. If they do cause an alarm on our screening technology, a pat-down or removal in private may be required.@AskTSA on Twitter
Another traveler asked about piercings in her ear.
So the TSA says that most earrings are fine to be worn through the security checkpoint.
But as Shauna says, the same earrings set off the alarm at one airport security and not another.
So what’s going on?
Which Types Of Earrings Set Of The Alarm At Airport Security?
It’s rare but earrings can set off the metal detectors.
Bulky earrings with a high magnetic metal content can set off airport security alarms.
Fine earrings, small to medium size earrings made from gold, silver, or platinum won’t trigger the metal detectors because these precious metals are not very magnetic. So you can wear them when going through the scanner.
Larger costume jewelry earrings which have a base metal that may or not be plated could set off the alarm. The heavier your earrings are the more likely they are to trigger the metal detectors.
You should decide before you go to the airport if you are going to wear your earrings or not. The last thing you want to do is remove your earrings at the last minute. They are not safe to be placed in a tray at the x-ray machine because someone could grab them when you are not looking.
Either wear your earrings or pack them in your carry-on bag or purse.
Where To Pack Earrings
There are no restrictions on where to pack earrings when you travel. The TSA confirmed this on Twitter.
However, think carefully before packing any valuables in checked luggage. It’s not unusual for expensive items like earrings to go missing from checked luggage.
So it’s better to pack earrings in your carry-on bag or personal item bag. That way you can keep an eye on them.
Your expensive fine earrings make with precious metals will be okay to wear through airport security.
If you have larger metallic costume jewelry type earrings that were made using a magnetic metal then these might set off the metal detectors. It’s best to remove these earrings and pack them in your hand luggage.