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Transportation Security Administration

Safety Razors and Disposable Razors

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Shaving razor, brush, and mug.

I've seen a lot of confusion out there on what types of razors are OK to take with you in your carry-on baggage. This post is just a quick and basic attempt to clear up any confusion. Let me just start by saying that electric razors are OK, but straight razors are a no-go.

Razor Blade
Disposable Shaving Razor

These two photos show a safety razor and the removable blade that they use. They're making a come back thanks to the close shave they provide and the extremely affordable price of the replacement blades. It basically unscrews and you can insert a razor blade. Because these razor blades are so easy to take out, safety razors are not permitted in your carry-on luggage with the blade. The blades must be stored in your checked luggage.

This is a disposable razor. They come in two types. The kind that is completely disposable (handle and all), or the kind where you replace them with cartridges. These are permissible in carry-on luggage with the blade and replacement cartridges.

This gentleman is shaving with a disposable razor. Good to go!

This gentleman is shaving with a disposable razor. Good to go!

This gentleman is shaving with a safety razor. No-go! (OK without blade)

This gentleman is shaving with a safety razor. No-go! (OK without blade)

This gentleman is shaving with a Samurai sword. No-go! (Swords must be checked with luggage)

This gentleman is shaving with a Samurai sword. No-go! (Swords must be checked with luggage)

Thanks!

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
Does everything have to be a full blown attack on TSA employees?

again the tsa people are doing the jobs that they hired on to. alot of things have changed with these people to. so if a tsa person refused to do what they are suppose to do then they will be fired. what happens next? throw them to the curb and thats it?

August 27, 2010 7:26 PM
.............
If these TSA employees you speak of had any personal honor they would walk away from this disgusting mess called TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

rb said:
"If these TSA employees you speak of had any personal honor they would walk away from this disgusting mess called TSA."
are you going to support these tsa screener and their families? the unemployment rates in this country are extremely high so just go ahead and quit your job, because rb says its the right thing to do. living by principles doesnt pay the bills. rb what is your suggestion to the in your word "honorable" screener that quits and needs to support his/her family?

Submitted by TSO Tom on

RB said in part:
TSO Tom, you tell me how to distinguish the TSA Thieves, Rapist, Pedophiles and all the other bad actors from the lawful TSA employees. Why won't TSA take aggressive steps to clean out its ranks?
***********************************
RB, I agree with you, these individuals NEED to go, as they make me look bad because I work alongside them. The problem is that some individuals are so good at not getting caught that it becomes difficult....that doesn't mean that I haven't seen people be called to the line on things they've done, and those people were GONE the same day that it became apparent what they were doing. As for how to tell who is who, I can't tell you how to do that....you either take everyone at face value or you don't....that's a personal thing on your level, and you've already apparently formed your opinion of TSA employees in general, so how or why should I try to pursuade you otherwise?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I find drug dealing, prostitution, and burger flipping to be much more honorable ways of supporting a family than working for TSA.

Submitted by Sally Caruso on

Anonymous said...
I find drug dealing, prostitution, and burger flipping to be much more honorable ways of supporting a family than working for TSA
!!!!!!!!!
while those professions listed above are more profitable...what other goverment agency would give uneducated, reformed criminals, and those fired by the airlines and faa decent legal wages....TSA...TSA does not provide security,,,only nepotism.. they recycle their friends at the administrative level

Submitted by George on

@TSO Tom: The problem is that some individuals are so good at not getting caught that it becomes difficult

The problem is that the secrecy and lack of accountability at the TSA allows the "bad apples" to continue rotting the barrel. Either nobody is calling them on their transgressions, or else their bosses are choosing not to do anything about it. Maybe they're particularly good at whatever secret criteria are used to assess performance. Either way, the fact that these people continue to occupy positions with access to passengers and property can only indicate that the TSA does tolerate unprofessional and possibly even criminal TSOs, notwithstanding whatever the SOP might say. Since the SOP is secret, how can any passenger know when a TSO is violating the rules?

As for how to tell who is who, I can't tell you how to do that....you either take everyone at face value or you don't....that's a personal thing on your level, and you've already apparently formed your opinion of TSA employees in general, so how or why should I try to pursuade you otherwise?

That's an inherent problem with an agency whose mission necessarily requires its employees to hassle the public. It's even more of a problem when the rules and procedures that direct the hassles are secret, inconsistently applied, and widely regarded as pointless. While I'm willing to agree that the majority of TSOs are professional, courteous, and conscientious, all it takes is one or two who aren't (or whose favorite phrase is "Do you want to fly today?") to instill a negative opinion of TSA employees that is very difficult to undo. And even further encounters with "good" TSOs are likely to be burdened with an expectation based on the bad encounters. After all, the TSA proudly touts its "unpredictability." When you don't know what you're going to get when it's time to be screened, you could well expect the worst after you've experienced a few stinkers. And even the good TSOs still are obligated to follow the secret rules and inflict hassles widely regarded as pointless.

Your bosses should at least recognize that allowing the "bad apples" to continue tarnishing the reputation of their agency only creates unnecessary difficulty for the good majority. But apparently they're either incapable of recognizing that, or they just don't care. Either way, it's difficult to have much trust in the TSA.

Submitted by TSO Tom on

George said in part....
Your bosses should at least recognize that allowing the "bad apples" to continue tarnishing the reputation of their agency only creates unnecessary difficulty for the good majority. But apparently they're either incapable of recognizing that, or they just don't care. Either way, it's difficult to have much trust in the TSA.
***********************************
George, I find it hard to disagree with anything you've said, accept for the "secret rules" part....the SOP and "how" we do things may not be made public but the rules are pretty simple:
1. Take your shoes off (unless you have a medical condition which makes it difficult to do so)
2. Take off jackets, coats and other outerware garments.
3. Have you liquids (3.4 ounces or less) in your quart sized clear plastic bag, make it so we can see it.
4. Take your laptops and your CPAP (breathing) machines out of the bag and x-ray them separately.

So the rules are pretty simple, and it's universal across the nation. Other things may not be so apparent, or may be unpredictable, it's the nature of our job, agree or disagree, it is necessary.

TO TSA management: Can we please publish a leaflet for the public so they know what our rules are? No need to discuss SSI or SOP....just the rules and why they are what they are. I've asked this multiple times on this blog, but no results yet. Trust me, it will make my job much easier at the walk through metal detector, and it will give the passengers what they've been asking for. Can we do this?

Submitted by Sally Caruso on

TSO TOM, i think the reason those bad apples keep working is that no one cares to document the wrong doings...those in charge are lazy and probably shouldn't be in the position they hold..no one monitors managers..perhaps an internal affairs would weed out all the bad seeds...watch all the upper managers scurry to shred paper trails that led to their demise....ha

Submitted by Anonymous on

"the SOP and "how" we do things may not be made public but the rules are pretty simple"

If they are so simple why are so many of you (TSA) unwilling to adhere to them?

Bad training? Ignorance? Egos?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sally, it would appear that my original response to you was delete-o-metered, but I agree with you one hundred percent, the crap does indeed roll downhill.

Submitted by Danielle on

Thanks for this post. It definitely cleared up the confusion that remains on the TSA website, since I didn't know what qualified as a "safety razor" and what was "disposable". I see that the wording has already been changed once in the past month, but I think it would be even better to read:

Razor-Type Blades - such as box cutters, utility knives, and safety razor blades (disposable razors and disposable cartridges are permitted)

That would clear up confusion about Mach-type razors (which I don't think of as "disposable" though the cartridges are). Anyway, I'm glad I found this post. Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you for clearing this up. I wondered whether or not I could take my Merkur HD Safety Razor, such as the one linked, with me on an airplane. Looks like it's gonna have be a disposable Bic!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you thank you thank you for clarifying, especially the pictures. I appreciate the intense work TSA members have put into safety. The TSA is certainly not perfect and is often annoying, but I think it's at least a theoretically positive use of tax money. Thanks, Blogger Bob!

Submitted by Natasha on

Thank you for this post! I'm a college student flying alone for the first time and won't be checking baggage because of the cost. Knowing that I can take a disposable razor with me is quite important.

As to the other comments on this thread, I've mostly encountered professional, polite TSA employees when traveling with my parents. Those who were curt were typically dealing with very long lines and can be excused their frustration. While I might not agree with some TSA policies, the people you see at checkpoints have nothing to do with how policies are developed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you, TSA Blogger, for this exceptionally helpful post. This is THE only place I found my question definitely answered and now I can carry on for my trip with confidence. As far as the Samurai sword, well, it's nice to see a sense of humor is still allowed in some part of .gov

Submitted by Anonymous on

What??? The Samurai sword as a 'no-go'. Humor????? Don't you know you work for the Federal Government? and 'no-go'? How can you not use the technical term for disallowed items? We American Humans must be talked to in Governmental approved techno-babel or we will get confused.
However I do know that my disposable razor will not be seized.
thanks

Submitted by Daryl Cobranchi on

So I cannot take a DE razor with me unless I'm willing to risk losing it along with everything else in checked baggage? No thanks. I'll continue to avoid flying, as I have done since the groping policy was enacted.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Very clear. Thanks Bob.

Tonight, I contacted the general TSA comment part of the site to clarify that disposable razors are OK for carry on.

I've asked for the TSA webmaster to create a separate row for Disposable Razors and to put 2 Yes's in the columns.

Submitted by Chef Christine on

Thank you this has been very helpful. :)

Submitted by Anonymous on

I had a disposable vibrating razor that was removed from my checked bag. I know it was because I remember packing it. That to me was not a big deal. The thing that struck me as odd was that who ever opened my bag decided to put a block of wood in my bag. What type of procedure would call for that? Were they doing it just to mess with me?

Submitted by Daryl Cobranchi on

What about a Schick injector type razor? Without having the injector (i.e., extra blades), it is essentially impossible to remove the blade. So it would seem that there'd be little difference between an injector type razor and a cartridge.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I was looking to see if I would have to get deodorant at my destination and came upon the razor question. Then I fell into the web of reading all the comments.

Looks to me like there are Americans out there who forgot EVERY group (TSA, all religions, Nurses, Docs, Teachers, Mechanics.....) who have "bad apples" and have gotten in trouble for violating the rules. However, each of these institutions are still utilized daily by the rest of us. Some spouses cheat, does that mean marriage should be abolished for everyone?

If you are unhappy with the TSA, then don't fly-drive. And you will still get pulled over for speeding even when there is no one else on the road. Or . Individual airport security didn't stop 9/11. Therefore, something had to be done to prevent such a tragedy again (for the US). The TSA is what the gov't decided on, and so far it's working.

Thank you to the Bloggers who let me know how to follow the rules, and weather I can shave and smell good when I get to where I'm going.

Submitted by Anonymous on

But I get such a close shave with a Gillette disposable samurai sword.

Submitted by Christine on

Much appreciated...I found this topic very confusing in the manual I was reading.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you, this helped!

Submitted by Nate on

Thanks! Glad to know I won't have to use my mom's shaving razor when I go visit her in TN tomorrow! yuck! :)

Submitted by Anonymous on

What do you mean I can't shave with a samurai sword????

Submitted by Anonymous on

Addressing the subject of "safety razors" perhaps you might be good enough to amplify the advice on safety razors by indicating various types, e.g. Gillette Mach series, Gillette Sensor and Wilkinson Quattro, that are allowed because some sources appear to be under the confused belief that shavers like this are not allowed?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I wish i could like this on Facebook! I found this very helpful!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I wish I could like this on Facebook! This was helpful!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thanks for a thorough, thoughtful, and useful post.

Although it doesn't say so explicitly, this post assumes (presumably in line with TSA's established definitions) that "safety razor" and "disposable razor" are mutually exclusive, that is, that no disposable razors are also safety razors and that no safety razors are also disposable razors. I'm not sure that this understanding/definition of these terms is the most natural one or the most widely recognized one.

My guess is that a) most of us would consider a disposable razor to be a specific type of safety razor and b) many of us would be uncertain whether a razor qualifies as "disposable" if i) its head (the part containing the blade[s]) consists of a disposable prefabricated cartridge but ii) the body of the razor (its handle and any clasp, hinge, and/or other mechanism connecting the handle to the head) are intended for long-term reuse and thus have a product life several (perhaps even dozens of) times the length of a cartridge's product life.

In my opinion, each/any of the following expressions of the rule would be a better way to articulate it:

a: Brief and practical expression of rule) IF the razor head is disposable, THEN the razor and its head MAY be brought on board in carry-on luggage; otherwise (ELSE), the razor head MAY NOT be brought in carry-on luggage.

b1: Answer that is longer but more detailed and more clearly reflective of the principles underlying the rule) Razors that use one or more blades detachable from the razor's head MAY NOT be packed in carry-on luggage. Razors that use only a blade or blades integrated into and not removable from the razor's head, i.e., disposable razors and razors with disposable heads, MAY be packed in carry-on luggage.

b2: "Computerese"/logical parsings of b1's detail- and principle-specific expression; b1a and b1b are logically equivalent)
b1a) "IF a razor contains any blade that can be removed from that razor's head, THEN that razor MAY NOT be brought into the passenger cabin; ELSE that razor MAY be brought into the passenger cabin."
b1b) "IF for every blade in a given razor, that blade is inextricably integrated into that razor's head, THEN that razor MAY be brought into the passenger cabin; ELSE that razor MAY NOT be brought into the passenger cabin."

Any passenger without a significant mental impairment will be able to understand this rule and correctly apply it to his/her own belongings (or, in the event that any ambiguity does remain, at least have the good sense to ask a TSA official for clarification).

Furthermore, my guess is that passengers would be grateful for a) the specificity of the rule, b) the courtesy of a principled explanation, and c) the respect for their intelligence that TSA would show by articulating this rule in terms of the reasoning behind it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Please read the prohibited items list in the checkpoint SOP.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Great post! I thought all forms of razors had to be checked. I'm glad I looked it up online first. I'm only going to travel with a carry-on this trip so I wasn't going to bring my razors with me. Good to know I can have a close shave after all!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I continue to be concerned that CD disks are allowed on aircraft. Break one in half and you have a far more dangerous weapon than a razor blade. The TSA can't ban CD's as a practical mater but continues to make remarks about "sharp pointy things" they have seized. The chain of security is only as strong as the weakest link.

Submitted by GiGi on

So glad to see some humor interjected in to an otherwise serious subject. I am a Human Resource professional and I must admit that without a laugh I would be insane. Thank you for uplifting my day.

Submitted by Smitten on

Can I please point out how HARD I LAUGHED at the samurai sword picture/commentary. I cannot believe nobody else has commented on how entertaining and unexpected that was. Thank you for the blog and the laugh :) Loved it!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sexism! Trying to keep us men stubbly and rugged by disallowing the best shaving equipment known to mankind.

I smell a deeply rooted conspiracy!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sexism! Trying to keep us men stubbly and rugged by disallowing the best shaving equipment known to mankind.

I smell a deeply rooted conspiracy!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I only fly when there is no alternative. As usual, the governments response to such events is overblown and ill conceived. Whether it is Enron or al-Qaeda, the congressional answer adds to the destruction.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Oh have mercy-- I just checked this blog post to see if I could pack a razor in my carry on for my flight tomorrow, and I ran into a full-on war! Mayhaps there is a more effective forum for these grievances to be aired than in the "comments" section of a blog....

Thanks for the post! I now know that I am free to pack my razor. I appreciate the humor in the explanation.

Submitted by Anonymous on

JUST CARRY PENCILS.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've read that in WW II US POW's in German Stalags could use double edge safety razors. I've even read that in the final months of the war they were allowed to purchase them from local merchants. If the Germans allowed them in the hands of trained soldiers, why can't we travel with them in unchecked baggage? The biggest problem that they had with them was their use in building crystal radios.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just checking about safety razors for an upcoming trip without checked luggage...thanks for the info. Last trip went through 3 US airports....have to say the TSA agents were good humoured and helpful. Security is what it is there's no point getting frustrated. Do I care if I have to take my belt of in one place and not another...no, what difference does it make.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hello,
This rule seems to be from a bygone (yet recent) era when airlines automatically included checked luggage with your ticket. With airlines now charging for any checked (and carry on luggage in some cases), and short trips calling for nothing more than a carry-on bag, what is a safety-razor shaver to do? It would be nice if the box of razors could be "checked" for free by the airline, held by the crew, or stored in a locked TSA case and unlocked on landing if it was so serious. But this all seems too much to begin with considering small knives and clubs have already been approved (albeit delayed) for carry-on. How is a safety razor less dangerous than a pocket knife or golf club?

Can't the safety concerns of airline workers and convenience of carry-on only citizens be easily resolved by allowing one box of safety razors to be 'checked' for free by the airline? Are there any plans to update or modify this policy? I'd just buy razors at the destination, but that's often neither practical, easy, or possible. Thanks

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh have mercy-- I just checked this blog post to see if I could pack a razor in my carry on for my flight tomorrow, and I ran into a full-on war! Mayhaps there is a more effective forum for these grievances to be aired than in the "comments" section of a blog....

I like that "oh have mercy"! 3 years later and the rules haven't changed much. Just switch to disposable razors for the trip and shave more often. I'm glad I get to take a razor at all!

Submitted by Anonymous on

At least I know the TSA employees aren't using the personal hygiene items they stole/confiscated from my shaving kit. Sleep better knowing this Fortune 500 consultant won't use his 1" double shaving razor to hijack an airplane. (Believe me, TSA people really think this and the irony of comments like these are totally lost on them. Guessing that's why they work for the TSA!)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can somebody confirm that I can bring this razor on a plane so long as it doesn't have a blade in it?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hi! I think razors are completely harmful, other than that PRICELESS samurai sword! Yee-haw!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Seriously? Have any of you ever held a double edge safety razor blade? In your fingers? It's hard enough to prevent cutting yourself, it would be easier to strangle someone with dental floss than to cause any real damage with a DE blade. They're paper thin, flimsy, they break if you bend them, and they'll take skin off like melted butter if you handle them improperly.

A single edge blade is fairly ridgid, that could do some damage, but what would a person do? Melt their toothbrush into a prison shiv and jam the blade they just accidentally broke in half into the melted tip and then go flailing away? Ridiculous. There's more hazard to human health in my shoe laces.

Submitted by Dizzman on

i just stumbled across this and am quite amazed at the vitriol. and always at how many people have issues. i fly over 100k/year. so i spend lots of time in security lines 9although hats off on the TSA pre... LOVE THAT!) and i have had an issue Exactly once. LEAVING... detroit a few years ago i had a leatherman micro taken away. blade length less than 1.5". i only had it since sometimes i would get my bag and it was zip tied closed after an inspection.

when i go through security i think to myself, "these TSA folks deal with (in some cases) tens of thousands of people a day. And most of them would give sheep a bad name. so i will assume the rules change." my belt and all metal ALWAYS comes out/off. my shoes off. my boarding pass and license in hand, and i am as friendly to them as i am to a cop that pulls me over.

i have had zero issues. it always seems like those that have issues are the ones saying the constitution is being trampled but cant state what part.

look, you want to fly, there are rules. yes they are annoying, yes there is some inconsistency from airport to airport, but attempting to fight for my rights does nothing other than slow things down.

and i have never once felt like my rights were being trampled.

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