Do You Have To Take Off Your Jacket At The Airport?

Last Updated on October 13, 2021

I get it. Some jackets are just too cool to be removed, even if only for a minute.

So what can you do about your coat when you are at the airport security line? Can you keep it on? Should you pack it in your carry-on bag?

Relax Biggles! Let’s see what the screening procedure is.

TSA Rules About Jackets & Coats

The Transportation Security Administration works hard to prevent dangerous items from getting on to planes.

The two main threats they are looking out for are weapons and explosives. So why worry about a jacket?


A knife concealed in a jacket or hidden in your pants would activate the metal detector alarm.

But concealed flammable liquids or powders wouldn’t because they are not magnetic metals.

For this reason the TSA doesn’t like any passengers to be wearing jackets or coats when going through the airport scanner.

A jacket or a coat could be somewhere for one of the bad guys to hide a dangerous substance.

Jackets are fine to be packed in carry-on bags. That’s actually the most sensible place to put them when going through the screening checkpoint.

If you remember and have space in your luggage, take off your jacket before you even reach the checkpoint and pack it in your carry-on or your personal item bag.

If you don’t have space in your bag you can put your jacket in a screening bin and put it on the conveyor belt.

You can’t wear a jacket or a coat when going through the security screening process. There is too much padding that disguises your body shape and too many pockets where things could be hidden.

Remember, the clothes you are wearing are not x-rayed. So it’s especially important that passengers can’t go through the screening process while wearing a big jacket.

Even baggy clothes like hoodies may need to be removed at airport security. You shouldn’t look like you have anywhere that you could be hiding anything on you.

Tighter fitting clothes are preferred and a passenger wearing baggy pants might find they need to endure a pat down inspection to make sure nothing is hidden.

If you do end up needing a pat down inspection you can request a private screening if you don’t want TSA officers touching your groin with the back of their hands in public.

TSA PreCheck & Jackets

The only time you’ll be able to keep wearing your jacket while going through airport security is if you are TSA PreCheck approved.

Even then this workaround is only for light jackets. Heavy jackets still need to be removed even if you are PreCheck approved.

PreCheck is a scheme where the TSA do background checks on you before you fly.

If you’re not Bin Laden’s cousin and don’t have a criminal record you’ll be able to go through the expedited PreCheck lane at airport security. In theory you should get through airport security faster and you don’t need to take laptops or liquids out of your bag.

In the PreCheck lane you are permitted to keep light jackets on, but it doesn’t always go to plan.

Ivan wasn’t happen when he was asked to remove his light vest while going through the TSA PreCheck screening process.

Even though fliers pay to keep their light jackets on the TSA reserves the right to ask any passenger to remove their jacket.

Cassandrea wasn’t happy because she was a PreCheck passenger but was asked to remove her suit jacket when she was wearing a very shear blouse.

The TSA always carry out “unpredictable security measures” to keep the bag guys guessing…

So even if you have paid for PreCheck you might still need to take off your jacket.

Also, if you trigger the alarm when going through the metal detector you might need to take off your jacket so that a pat down screening can be carried out.

Still Unsure? Ask The TSA On Twitter

If you have any TSA questions about jackets, coats, or otherwise you can ping them a message on Twitter and they’ll get back to you.

This passenger asked about keeping items in jacket pockets:

The TSA said that it was find to have a few items in your jacket pockets but to remember to take off your jacket at airport security and place it in a bin for screening.

When you take your jacket or coat off at airport security remember to pick it up again at the other side of the x-ray scanner.

You wouldn’t be the first person to walk away and leave their coat behind at the checkpoint.

Dan left his coat and a bag behind at the checkpoint:

Let’s just hope he didn’t leave anything on the plane too!

You can even take a heated coat with a battery through the security checkpoint.

You just can’t be wearing it when you walk through the metal detectors.

Another traveler wanted to bring a denim jacket with dangerous looking spikes and studs on the plane.

You can bring a jacket with spikes and studs through screening checkpoints but you won’t be able to wear it when going through the metal detector.

And this Star Wars fan asked about wearing a camouflage jacket at the airport.

The TSA doesn’t have a problem with passengers wearing camouflage clothing.

Andy wanted to bring this awesome jacket with 1300 safety pins in it.

Jackets with safety pins are allowed through the checkpoint, but as always they can’t be worn when going through the metal detector.

So the TSA doesn’t have a problem with scary looking jackets. Relax, your crimes are only crimes of fashion 🙂

The only jacket that I found that can’t be brought through airport security was a motorcycle jacket with a built-in airbag.

Motorcycle jackets are fine.

But you cannot bring a jacket with an airbag on to a plane in either checked or carry-on luggage.

There! You learn something new every day!

The Verdict

You will need to remove your jacket when going through airport security.

You might even need to remove a hoodie or other baggy clothing.

If you’d prefer to keep your jacket on during screening then consider applying for TSA PreCheck.

If you are approved you’ll then be able to keep light jackets on at the checkpoint.

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