M.I.S.S. Jet Set: Body Jewelry and Flying


So you just got the cutest new belly ring. Or maybe you’ve had other more private areas pierced. Whether you just had your piercing done or have had it for years, the metal jewelry you take for granted in your day to day comings and goings could be a security hassle at the airport.

Up until now, proper TSA procedure would require that you remove any jewelry that sets off the metal detectors, probably resulting in you having to get back in line and go through security again. This can be a real bugger if your body jewelry is not meant to come out easily; you could risk damaging yourself or your expensive body jewelry if you’re in a rush to get back through the security lines and off to your flight.

Very recently, TSA has changed its procedure to allow passengers to request a visual inspection instead of removing the jewelry, but hey! Who wants some security agent poking and prodding your piercings, right? Here are a few ideas to help you avoid this embarrassing scene at the airport:

1.  Take your jewelry out before you get to security. Unless the piercing is brand new, it should be fine for most piercings to take out the jewelry for an hour or so while you check in and get through security. Place it in a clean contact lens case, cover with sterile saline, and pack it in your quart-sized liquids bag to present to security. When you’re through security, find a bathroom and replace the jewelry. No harm, no foul.

2.  Make sure you wear body jewelry that is easy to get on and off. If you fly a lot, you definitely need to make sure that you can remove your body jewelry yourself. If you need to have a piercer remove it, you probably shouldn’t wear it while flying.

3.  Carry extra components. If you wear rings with capture beads or removable segments, have an extra bead or segment or two in your bag in case one does a runner while you’re taking off or putting in your jewelry. If you wear jewelry with external thread closures, or with internal thread closures…well, same thing. Have an extra closure or two available in case you lose one.

4.  Try wearing jewelry with plastic or acrylic posts. There are tons of bars and rings available now in plastic and acrylic, materials which won’t set off the security devices at the airport. Consider investing in a few pieces for travel. Just make sure you don’t have allergies to the plastic or acrylic. Some jewelry styles even come in wood or other organic materials. You might just find them more comfortable than metal!

5.  Consider a retainer for travel. Retainers aren’t just for facial piercings anymore. Consider wearing a plain retainer for travel.

6.  The one type of body jewelry you should NEVER wear while traveling? Seamless rings. These require pliers to put on or take off, so traveling with them is totally inconvenient and potentially dangerous.

Whatever type of body jewelry you choose – from earrings to nose rings to nipple rings and beyond – just make sure you understand the potential for air travel security delays and then adjust your jewelry accordingly.

Happy Travels!

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