Do Piercings Set Off Metal Detectors? Find Out Here

Will My Piercings Set Off a Metal Detector?

Travelling through metal detectors can be stressful, false alarms can require you to have a pat-down search and make the whole process much longer even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

Piercings can indeed set off a metal detector, but the chances are very low, a few piercings will likely be fine to pass through with, the problem might come when these piercings are very large or you have more than let’s say 3 or 4.

To clear up some misconceptions about travelling with piercings through airport security as well as if you should remove your piercings, which metals they are looking for at airport security, which piercings will not trigger the alarm and what happens if they do, we’ve put it all in an informational guide for you to check out below.

How Do Airport Metal Detectors Work?

Before we dive into travelling with piercings through detectors, let’s explore exactly how these metal detectors work.

To keep your safety and other passengers safe, it is required you pass through a metal detector or get a pat-down before boarding the plane, the detectors send out an electromagnetic field to find any metallic objects someone might be carrying if detected will sound out an alarm.

Which Piercings Set Off a Metal Detector?

Most standard piercings are fine to move through airport security with, in fact, if you have higher quality piercings with materials such as gold or silver, these will not be picked up by the metal detector, the problem comes with a cheaper metal material.

Very large piercings such as big metal hoops or gauges are likely to set off airport security more than a group of small earrings.

Should I Remove My Piercings When Passing Through a Metal Detector?

To save time and hassle, it could be a wise idea to remove any larger piercings when passing through security to avoid setting off the alarm, but if you have a piercing that is healing, it’s better to leave it in.

If you do decide to remove your piercings ensure you can put them back in again before they close up and store them in a safe pocket of your carry on when passing through.

Why It’s Okay To Wear Your Piercings through Security

In a nutshell, it’s more than okay to wear your piercings through security without any issues, as we mentioned above, this is not what airport security is looking for and it likely will not be picked up by the detector anyway since the sensitivity settings are set to be higher.

What Happens If My Piercings Trigger The Alarm?

If your piercings do happen to trigger the airport detector don’t panic, you will just have to be searched on the side by a TSA agent as a safety precaution, if your piercing is in more of a private place, you can also ask for this to be done in private with a witness of you preferable gender.

Common Everyday Items Which Set Off Airport Security

So as you can avoid holding up the security line, it’s not just piercings you have to be careful with when passing through security, we’ve listed some other common items which can set off the alarm too.

  • Keys and watches – Watches that contain a lot of metal should be removed as well as keys since they are small metal objects which could set off the alarm.
  • Shoes – Shoes are required to be taken off at certain airports, especially shoes which have metal toe caps or boots.
  • Jackets – Jackets and coats should be removed when passing through security, pullovers however are fine to wear through.
  • Belts – Belts till now are a common item to be removed from your clothing when passing through security because of their metal buckle.
  • Coins – Coins should always be removed from wallets to avoid triggering the alarm, you can take your wallet through happily without any coins inside.
  • Jewellery – Not all jewelry should be worn when passing through airport security, large cheap jewelry should be removed, however, TSA advises you to keep the most expensive jewelry on to avoid it getting lost when passing through security.

Last Words

To bring our guide to a close, going through metal detectors with your piercings in is normally fine and the detectors will not be able to pick them up due to their higher sensitivity. If you are wearing larger piercings however then you might need to remove them when passing through such as hoop earrings or gauge piercings.

If you do get pulled aside for your piercings when passing through security you can always request to be checked in private if needed with a witness, never remove piercings that are not fully healed yet or piercings you will not be able to put back in.

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