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TSA Changes Its Carry-On Razor Policy!

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Can you bring a razor on a plane? The Transport Security Administration (TSA) in the United States has recently changed their policy of accepting safety razors in carry-on luggage. Here is what you need to know.

My Trip By Air

Recently Mrs. Mantic59 and I traveled by air to Michigan to attend the 2023 Maggard Razors meetup. It was our first trip by air since COVID so I did a quick search engine query to see how air travel might have changed and how it might relate to wet shaving. Can I bring a razor on a plane?

TSA

Casually reviewing the TSA website found no major changes (including the permissibility of safety razors without a blade) other than a notation that the TSA agent conducting the search had the last word, no matter what the website guidance said. However browsing the shaving forums I found a couple messages about TSA confiscating safety razors that gave me pause. I decided not to pack a safety razor but took one of my fully disposable multi-blade razors instead, just to be on the safe side. That turned out to be a fortuitous decision!

We traveled through three airports on our trip: a small regional airport, a major airline hub, and a large (but non-hub) international airport. Going through security was about the same (take off shoes, belt, coat, etc.) but we no longer had to remove liquids and some smaller items from carry-on bags. We also noticed there were new imaging machines being used.

I asked a TSA supervisor at our little regional airport specifically about safety razors in carry-on bags and that I had heard they were no longer permitted.

She confirmed that her guidance was that SAFETY RAZORS THAT HAD REMOVABLE BLADES WERE NO LONGER PERMITTED, WHETHER THERE WAS A BLADE IN THE RAZOR/BAG OR NOT.

In other words, DE/SE razors could be confiscated from carry-on luggage.

Yikes.

We had a multi-hour layover at a major airline hub so I sought out another TSA supervisor and again asked about safety razors.

He confirmed the previous supervisor: safety razors, with or without blades, could be confiscated from carry-on luggage.

I asked about the reasoning for the change but he did not know; he just knew about the rule change.

Finally, at check-in at a large airport on our way home, I asked another TSA agent at security about the rule and again:

“Our new training package says old-style safety razors are no longer permitted.”

I asked, “even if it does not have blades?”

“Correct,” he said.

Can You Take A Safety Razor On A Plane – Summing Up

Can you bring a razor on a plane?

When traveling by air in the US, double edge or single edge safety razors–razors with blades that can be removed–are no longer permitted in carry-on luggage, even if there is no blade.

This is despite the previous guidance still shown on the TSA website.

Now, some enthusiasts on the shaving forums have suggested disassembling a three piece safety razor and placing the parts in different areas of carry-on luggage. Realistically that may work. But why take the chance?

If you are traveling by air in the US I suggest either packing your razor in checked luggage, or using a cartridge razor or a disposable razor.

By the way, based on previous experience, “soft” shave soaps in carry-on luggage may also be problematic.

Related Post: Safety Razor vs Cartridge Razor: A Detailed Comparison Of Razors

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38 thoughts on “TSA Changes Its Carry-On Razor Policy!”

  1. The last time I flew, was early 1980’s. So, I’m way out of the know. I just get a junk mail with double edge med prep razor. I looked on amazon. Some say easy to take apart, nope. Some talk like they are “welded” together. (Like a cartridge?) Most of them look like a plastic open comb razor, and 50 cent each.

    If these are not “take apartable” would they be treated like a cartridge? It would be cheap enough to lose. If the agent did not know what it was. I think it might preserve your DE shaving style.

  2. TSA Policy: box cutter and utility knife HANDLES w or w/out blades cannot go. If it is in this family/grouping, check bag or do not bring it. SHAVING RAZORS: safety razors and straight edge razors WITHOUT blades ARE ALLOWED. MUST ONLY BE THE HANDLE. if the razor “handle” has a blade. Choices are to check a bag w razor, go back out and remove the blade. (we direct them to public side bathroom with sharps disposal container) or surrender the entire unit…handle and blade. CHANGE: TSA Officers are no longer permitted to allow or conduct the removal of any blades at the checkpoint. This is a safety concern.
    To the previous poster who called TSA an abomination. In 2022 6500 firearms were kept off planes by TSA. I would ask, two lines, one with no or minimal screening vs TSA…each one going on different planes. You are sending your kids on a flight….let’s be honest..we know where you will want your kids going through. Perhaps if passenger’s were not committing felonious acts mid air…nah..that won’t change.

    1. Policy is one thing, practice is another. They are seizing safety razors in Atlanta. If you don’t check a bag, you have no options. No redirecting, no options. Forfeit or leave.

      TSA, as an unconstitutional organization, is an abomination. This is not an indictment of all employees. Just some (number unknown) and their union.

      Great, you confiscated nearly 7000 guns. How many were returned to their rightful, law-abiding citizen owners? How many felons in possession were prosecuted? My guess is that you know none of this and care even less. You want to claim a stat absent any context or its effect, or lack thereof.

      As usual, a horrible event leads to eviscerated rights and less security. TSA is a joke even within federal law enforcement. (Retired after 21 years.)

      As for the two line question, I’d gladly go through the no security line if you’d let me fly armed. And as for passengers committing crimes, TSA has no role in preventing or responding to that. It’s not a TSA problem. That’s an FBI or local PD problem. YOU have (had) no role in that whatsoever and citing it undermines any argument for your (former) organization. People are still committing crimes despite nearly $11 billion wasted on you. We could put two air marshals on EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT, have no problems, save money, and get rid of the entire TSA monolithic structure. (You’d have to give the AMs additional authority to deal with in-flight crime, but that’s as simple as US Marshal Special Deputization.)

      TSA should have been sunset after 10 years. But here we are.

  3. Having just retired from TSA, all I can say is that at our airport we used common sense regarding safety razors. If there were no blades with the razor we usually let them go. However, blades can be very difficult to detect on an xray with all the other crap people load in their bags and can be missed, that is why they are pulled for inspection. It does also take up valuable time for an inspection and unfortunately not everyone uses common sense or are not permitted to by management. Look at the people in front of you in line you will see one of the main reasons for long lines. Too many carry ons, overpacked bags, not listening to officers instructions and a multitude of other things. Yes at times even you may not know why certain rules are in place but there are reasons. Also as we are looking for weapons and explosives mainly, explosives are organic for the most part which everyday items are also.

      1. The TSA personnel in Atlanta seized my safety razor prior to a flight to Denver. It was a one Day trip, no checked bags and I live 2 hours from the airport.

        TSA is an abomination.

  4. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

    Carla it’s invaluable to have an actual TSA (former) officer here to explain the issue. But now I’m as confused as ever. You seem to be saying the safety razors used to be both allowed, and that they were never allowed:

    “razors that had removable blades were never allowed”
    “An empty razor was perfectly fine to carry but not the blades”

    Perhaps it’s an issue with the definition of “safety razor”. But as Leisureguy pointed out, safety razors are razors with removable blades. At least that’s the standard definition I’m familiar with.

    My head is spinning. Can you clarify that comment? Thanks

    1. If TSA see’s anything other than a modern day cartridge razor in your carry-on bag loaded, or unloaded be prepared to have it confiscated. The rule has changed and they are trying to speed up the inspection process so as to keep the line moving. Just take a cartridge, or electric razor, on your air travels.

      1. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

        My message was supposed to be a reply to Carla (the former TSA agent). Somehow it got posted as a new message string. I’m sure it was my fault.

        But if you read through the messages you will see I made the suggestion the rule change was made to speed up the process back on 6/15, thought that wasn’t confirmed by Carla or anyone else in the know. Unless you are a person in the know.

        Of course we now understand “The rule has changed and they are trying to speed up the inspection process so as to keep the line moving. Just take a cartridge, or electric razor, on your air travels.”. We are talking about other issues. Such as, for example, if you didn’t read Sharpologist (or maybe another lightly visited website, how would you know? As you can see a visit to the TSA website still suggests you CAN bring a razor without the blade. So excuse us for having a deeper discussion.

  5. My last few flights in the last 2 years resulted in tsa removing my de razor, telling me I had to remove the blade. ok, no issue, because I always had a box of blades in the bag with the razor, not sure why they don’t see the small box of blades, or don’t see thise as dangerous. not a problem usually because I check bags for most trips.

  6. I work in Airport Operations (the guys and gals keeping the runways safe and open) and after reading this brought it up in our weekly briefing with TSA as I was wondering what other changes occurred. After all, my job has me carrying many items like tools and pyrotechnic launchers to repel birds and as a result O have to be extremely cautious about what equipment I have at certain places inside the security zone.

    The TSA lead explained that it takes too much time to hand search every safety razor bag that comes through since an assembled razor with or without the blade looks the same on the scanner. They are trying to speed the process up of getting to your plane and this was one that was identified. There was discussion about having them disassembled and clear of blades, but that may cause some razors to be susceptible to damage. Therefore, it was decided that they would just make it a “checked item”.

    Unfortunately, bad actors trying to sneak stuff onto planes even two decades after the 9/11 attacks is causing these measures to tighten. At my airport in April we had over 400 knives, 30 guns or gun parts, and 70 “other weapons” confiscated by TSA. That is only one month and one medium sized airport.

    Moral of the story: When in doubt, leave it out. If it has to go it is worth the checked bag fee.

    Pro Tip: Throw an AirTag on your bag. Pack the bag to survive a 6 foot drop onto concrete and then lay in a puddle. Keys and medicines ALWAYS go with you in your carry-ons. And wear comfortable running shoes of you can. Why? You may need to hurry to a gate and flip flops will slow you down. Also, if you have to evacuate a plane, proper footwear might save your life.

      1. as a former TSA officer, razors that had removable blades were never allowed. I don’t know why you say they ever were and aren’t now.

        An empty razor was perfectly fine to carry but not the blades. I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I confiscated plenty of blades during my TSA days.

        You would also be wise to include pictures if what you are referring to in your articles. A safety razor to me is a plastic BIC.
        Some also call them disposable. I am only aware because of exposure.

        1. I believe that people got the idea that safety razors without blades were allowed in carry-on luggage from this statement on the TSA website (https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/safety-razor-blades-allowed-without-blade) “Safety Razor With Blades (allowed without blade)”

          I read that as saying that a safety razor without a blade is allowed. In fact, I don’t see how it can be read any other way.

          I see that you have a personal meaning for “safety razor” that differs from the standard meaning. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_razor for more information on what is actually meant by “safety razor.”

        2. Carla. A Single Edge or Double Edge safety razor without the blades used to be allowed so long as there were no actual blades. I’ve carried my Merkur Progress 500 (Google it for images) in my carry on multiple times with intent of grabbing blades at my destination. This razor comes apart and I would disassemble it and place it in a zip lock with my shaving brush and small “sample size” shave soaps. I had a few hand inspections over the years, but nothing major. Now, that razor as described would be confiscated. That is the change the article addresses.

          Now, if your thinking Gillette Mach 3 or Venus types of razors, that is a type of safety razor, but not generally what is being referenced by the shaving community when saying “safety razor”. A safety razor is basically anything when a blade that is mostly contained in a handle, unlike a straight razor where the full blade is exposed.

  7. Mark, you have given us some important information. Losing an expensive razor or even a chheap but favorite is not worth any risk. My Parker and my Supply will never feel the confiscation of TSA.

  8. Well I have been mailing my DE Razor to my location and getting insurance. If something happens I will get 3 razors for the price of one.

  9. when was the last time that somebody tried to hijack an airplane with shaving accessories! NEVER unless it was a old fashioned permanent fold out razor (if anyone still uses them)! We fear stupid things but TSA still can’t tell nitro from aftershave balm but their machine funds organic gummi bears (factory sealed) SUSPICIOUS! GO FIGURE!

  10. Years ago I had a TSA agent hassle me and almost confiscate a DE without the blade. Ever since then when travelling with only a carry on, I bring a disposable cartridge razor. Just not worth the aggravation.

    1. It amazes me how after all these years people still ask what you can carry on. Just get online on the TSA website and look to see what the rules are and if they’ve changed. For me it’s a two blade disposable and my tube of Cremo, or my Norelco. If and when I travel I don’t want to have to worry about shaving.

      1. I did try the online list — extremely difficult to scan (50 pages). Here’s what it says about Safety Razors:

        https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/safety-razor-blades-allowed-without-blade

        Safety Razor With Blades (allowed without blade)
        Carry On Bags: No
        Checked Bags: Yes

        That says that a safety razor without a blade is allowed in carry on bags. But the TSA agents Mantic59 said that safety razors without a blade are not allowed in carry on.

        Your suggestion that all we need to do is to look at the rules posted online doesn’t seem sound.

          1. Yes, that is my plan. In fact, I bought some Bic Disposables for this trip.

            I think, though, that I did not make my point clear. You wrote “It amazes me how after all these years people still ask what you can carry on. Just get online on the TSA website and look to see what the rules are and if they’ve changed.”

            I did go online on the TSA website and looked to see the rule for safety razors, and found that, according to the website, I can take a safety razor in carry on if the razor has no blade.

            But now we learn that the information on the website is misleading — and in fact, wrong.

            So your amazement that people don’t just look at the website is misplaced: the website does not offer reliable information.

            That’s the point I attempted to make.

  11. eBay occasionally has sellers of TSA confiscated razors they bought at government auctions.

    The following carryon items did pass inspection at the Ontario CA airport this past Christmas: Wilkinson Quad Blade razor without cartridges, sealed in blister pack Schick cartridge razor, and Norelco plug in electric.

    Note to Manti59: With the cost of two people flying with multiple plane changes, would not it have been less stressful to drive?

    1. With the cost of two people flying with multiple plane changes, would not it have been less stressful to drive?

      Definitely. Unfortunately we did not have the extra time needed to drive. We had to fly up the day before the meetup and returned the day after.

  12. Thanks for this info! I never check a bag and often bring my double edge razor, disassembled so TSA can see there is no blade. That will not be happening in the future.

    One time I was flying out of La Guardia and had a tub of Stirling shaving soap in my carry-on that I purchased at Pasteur Pharmacy. TSA made me check my bag because the soap was too soft!

  13. The new rule is probably because most TSA screeners are not capable of telling whether a DE razor has a blade in it. Nor are they trainable to do so.

    1. Brian Fiori (AKA The Dean)

      Or maybe because they don’t want the screener’s taking that much time to discern if the razor has a blade. Getting through security takes long enough as it is, and I imagine this is just to cut back on the number of bags they have to physically go through.

      But seriously, how many people use DE/SE razors these days? I know it has increased, but I can’t imagine it being a major issue at the point of screening.

      Anyway the biggest issue here, as Leisureguy points out, is that the information on their website is incorrect. That’s inexcusable, IMO.

  14. Yikes!

    I made the mistake a few years ago of absent-mindedly packing my beloved Merkur WITH blades in my carry-on for a trip to Mexico. I was fortunate that the security personnel simply confiscated the blades.

    Even worse: I was going to a resort where the only thing they had were outrageously-priced disposable razors. 😧

  15. Wow! Thank God I saw this. I leave on a trip in two days, and I had packed my current favorite razor, the Quantum. No blade, but now I know that TSA fears even an empty razor. I would have hated to lose that razor to a stupid, uninformed rule.

  16. I do not see the point. You are not going to wet shave while flying, are you? Just pack your favorite razor in your checked-in luggage, and avoid any trouble.
    By the way, I am a fan of Swiss Army Knives. I always carry one. TSA owns a bunch of mine.

    1. You don’t seem to recognize that someone may be traveling only with a carry-on because they have a close connection or have previously had the not-uncommon experience of their luggage being lost. I am just setting out on a trip and I will not be checking my luggage.

      And in terms of not seeing the point, I don’t see the point of the TSA confiscating safety razors that have no blade — or indeed, safety razors that do have a blade, since they could easily confiscate just the blade.

      1. I had a camera stolen once so ever since I just pack inexpensive gear in my bag’s. I usually take a two blade disposable and my tube of Cremo, or my old Norelco XL.

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