Can You Take a Pencil on a Plane? 

Navigating the do’s and don’ts of air travel can sometimes feel like solving a puzzle, particularly when it comes to packing.

Among the more surprising questions travelers often find themselves asking is whether seemingly innocuous items like pencils are safe to bring on board.

Well, breathe easy, because the answer is a resounding yes!

Both your carry-on and checked luggage can indeed include pencils.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), there are no restrictions or quantity limits on the number of pencils you can carry onto a plane.

But be careful, because not all “pens” are created equal.

Related: Can you bring a pencil sharpener on a plane?

Tactical pens, often used as concealed weapons, won’t make it past the eagle-eyed airport security.

Pencil Types and Air Travel

Here’s a rundown of the most common types of pencils and the rules regarding their transportation on a plane.

Graphite Pencils

Often referred to as lead pencils, graphite pencils are the most commonly used type.

Composed of graphite and wood, they come in an array of sizes and grades.

The good news?

Graphite pencils are permitted on planes.

You can pack them in either your carry-on or checked luggage without a hitch.

Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils are another widely used pencil type. They’re designed with lead that extends by pushing a button or twisting a knob, eliminating the need for sharpening.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits passengers to carry mechanical pencils on planes, provided the lead isn’t sharp enough to be used as a weapon.

To prevent any accidental damage or injury, it’s smart to retract the lead before packing the pencil.

Colored Pencils

Colored pencils, beloved by artists and children alike, offer a broad range of colors.

They’re typically made of wax and pigment. The TSA allows colored pencils on planes but be aware they may be subject to additional screening.

It’s a wise move to pack them in a clear, plastic bag to facilitate the screening process.

To sum up, travelers can pack various types of pencils on planes, including graphite, mechanical, and colored pencils.

Can You Take Gel Pens on a Plane?

Yes, you certainly can!

There are no restrictions when it comes to bringing gel pens in either your carry-on or checked baggage.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t classify gel pens as containing liquids, so there’s no need to place them in your liquids bag.

Can You Take an Ink Pen on a Plane?

Yes, ink pens are permitted on planes, both in your carry-on and checked luggage.

However, keep in mind that the ultimate decision about whether an item is allowed past the checkpoint is up to the TSA officer on duty.

To prevent any leakage or potential damage, it’s recommended to place a cap on your ink pen before packing it away.

It may also be wise to store the pen in a protective case or sleeve to guard against accidental punctures or harm to other items in your luggage.

Felt-tip pens and markers are likewise allowed on planes. Still, it’s advisable to cap these as well to prevent any leaks.

Colored pens and pencils are usually the go-to options for those packing in their carry-on luggage.

In conclusion, ink pens are allowed on planes, but it’s crucial to pack them correctly to avert any damage or spills.

Can You Take a Tactical Pen on an Airplane?

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a tactical pen – defined as a pen crafted to be used as a weapon – is not allowed in carry-on luggage.

However, it is permitted in checked baggage.

Remember, the final decision regarding whether a tactical pen is allowed through the security checkpoint rests with the TSA officer on duty.

So, to sidestep any potential problems at security, it’s recommended to pack your tactical pens in your checked luggage.

While some tactical pens may be advertised as “TSA-approved,” bear in mind that there’s no such official label.

The decision to allow an item onto the plane ultimately falls to the discretion of the TSA officer.

In conclusion, travelers should understand that tactical pens are prohibited in carry-on luggage but can be stowed in checked baggage.

Can you bring a pen made entirely of Metal in your Carry-On?

According to the TSA, it appears that you are permitted to bring a pen made entirely of metal in your carry-on luggage.

Related: Can you bring metal straws on a plane?

However, it’s essential to remember that the metal pen you pack should resemble a standard pen and not a tactical one.

So yes, feel free to bring along your all-metal pen, as long as it’s not designed to double as a weapon

Tips for Traveling with Pencils

Packing Pencils

When packing pencils for a flight, it’s important to keep in mind that they are considered sharp objects.

As such, they should be packed in your checked luggage rather than your carry-on bag.

This will help prevent any issues with airport security and ensure a smooth travel experience.

If you must bring pencils in your carry-on bag, make sure they are stored in a case or pencil holder to prevent them from rolling around and potentially causing harm.

Additionally, be sure to check with your airline to see if they have any specific regulations regarding the transportation of pencils.

Traveling with Art Supplies

For those who plan to travel with art supplies, including pencils, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind.

First, be aware that some art supplies may be considered hazardous materials and may not be allowed on the plane at all.

When packing your art supplies, make sure to use a sturdy case or bag to protect them during transport.

It’s also a good idea to label your supplies clearly, both inside and outside of the bag, to help prevent any confusion or delays at the airport.

Finally, be sure to check with your airline about any specific regulations they may have regarding the transportation of art supplies.

Some airlines may require that certain items be checked rather than carried on, so it’s important to be aware of these rules in advance.

Overall, traveling with pencils and art supplies can be a fun and rewarding experience.


In summary, passengers are allowed to bring pens and pencils on a plane, as long as they are made of materials that are not considered dangerous or prohibited by the TSA.

Passengers can bring their writing utensils in their carry-on bags or checked baggage without any restrictions or quantity limits.

However, it is recommended to take extra caution to prevent pens from leaking during the flight.

Practical steps can be taken to minimize the odds of this happening, such as storing the pens in a sealed plastic bag or using a pen holder.

It is worth noting that tactical pens are not permitted on planes, as they can be used as potential weapons.

Therefore, passengers should avoid bringing tactical pens or any other objects that could be considered dangerous or threatening.

Overall, passengers can rest assured that they can bring their pens and pencils on a plane without any issues, as long as they comply with TSA regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many pens or pencils can I bring on a flight?

There is no set limit on the number of pens or pencils that a passenger can bring on a flight.

However, it is always a good idea to pack only what is necessary to avoid any issues during security checks.

Additionally, passengers should ensure that their writing utensils are packed securely to prevent damage or loss during the flight.

Can You Pack an Eyeliner Pencil in Your Carry-On?

Yes, absolutely!

When it comes to liquid eyeliner pens, these must be stored in your quart-sized bag for liquids.

But an eyeliner pencil? It doesn’t require space in your liquids bag, freeing up room for other essentials.

And here’s the kicker – not only can you bring the eyeliner pencil, but you can also pack your pencil sharpener!

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Sorin Susanu
Sorin, the primary writer for this site, launched it in 2019 as a hobby and a means to refine his English. With a passion for travel ignited by a trip to Italy at age twelve, Sorin has been exploring the world and sharing his adventures ever since.