Can You Wear a Hoodie Through Airport Security?

One of the main sources of delay and frustration in air travel is the security screening process. If you love hoodies, you probably want to know whether travelers can keep them on during screening. Such knowledge could help you avoid potentially embarrassing scenarios, including being forced to remove your hoodie when you have nothing underneath. 

You can wear a hoodie through airport security if it’s lightweight. You can also keep it on if you’re a senior, a member of the PreCheck program, or if you have minimal clothing underneath. However, if the hoodie is deemed a security risk, you may be asked to undergo additional checks and remove it.

There are things you can do if you don’t want to be forced to remove your hoodie, as I’ll explain below. While these measures don’t give you a guarantee, they could increase your chances of breezing through security without having to remove your hoodie. Read on to learn more.

What TSA Says About Hoodies

According to the Transport Security Administration (TSA), the body charged with ensuring the security of flights in the US, non-authorized travelers shouldn’t have weapons, incendiaries, or explosives on their person. 

Since a hoodie – especially a bulky one – can be used to conceal prohibited items, there is a high likelihood that you’ll be asked to take it off when going through a TSA checkpoint. 

If your hoodie appears like it has been tampered with or sets off an alarm, you’ll most definitely have to go through additional screening, which can include having to remove the hoodie. 

On the other hand, if you are a senior or a member of the PreCheck program, you are more likely to be allowed to keep your light hoodie on. 

The TSA considers a senior as a person aged 75 and above. 

On its website, the TSA lists things that you are required to remove when going through screening – as standard procedure. This list does not include hoodies. It includes shoes, which you must place directly on the x-ray belt. It also includes the content of your pockets, such as wallets, cellphones, keys, and tissues – which you must empty from your pockets. 

Since the TSA does not expressly state that you must remove your hoodie, it is conceivable that there are cases where you can be allowed to leave your hoodie on as you go through the checkpoint. 

Members of the TSA PreCheck Program Can Keep Hoodies On

The TSA PreCheck program is designed to ease the security screening process in airports. With TSA PreCheck, you can go through screening points without needing to remove your belt, any three-in-one liquid, shoes, laptops, and light jackets. 

The Collins Dictionary defines a hoodie as a light jacket with a hood. As such, if the TSA official handling you deems your hoodie a light jacket, and you are a senior or a member of the TSA PreCheck program, you can keep it on as you go through the checkpoint. 

The TSA on Head Coverings

If, for some reason, you are strongly opposed to taking off your hoodie, the hood on your jacket may be treated the same as head coverings worn for cultural and religious purposes. 

In its Frequently Asked Questions section, the TSA states that people wearing head coverings may have to undergo additional screening, including a pat-down. 

This additional measure is typically taken if you trigger an alarm through the walk-in detector. 

The TSA goes ahead to state that you will only be required to remove your head covering if the pat-down isn’t sufficient to determine the cause of the alarm. In such a case, you can be allowed to remove the head covering in a private area. 

The TSA Gives No Guarantee

It is crucial to note that the TSA discloses that it does not guarantee anyone an expedited security process and that its safety procedures are both varied and unpredictable. It also clearly states that safety decisions ultimately lie with the TSA officials on the ground. 

At their discretion, the TSA official can take you through an advanced screening process, even if – in your view – you have done nothing to warrant additional scrutiny. You’ll be subject to this general policy if you wear a hoodie to the airport.  

Some Travelers Have Been Allowed To Keep Their Hoodies On

Anecdotal evidence, as in this online forum, shows that the TSA sometimes lets travelers keep their hoodies on during screening, and especially those that are members of the PreCheck program.

For travelers who are not members of the PreCheck program, the decision appears to be made arbitrarily, that is, based on the discretion of TSA agents. 

If you’re wearing a light hoodie, the probability of you keeping it on increases. Additionally, if you’ve won the hoodie as a shirt, with minimal or no clothing underneath, there’s a higher chance that you’ll keep it on. 

Conversely, if you’ve won the hoodie over other clothing, and especially if it appears like you have bulky clothing, you’ll probably be required to take the hoodie off. 

Final Thoughts

If you are planning to wear a hoodie on your flight, the best option may be to wear a zip-up hoodie, which will allow you to quickly and easily take it off if you are required to. 

You should also consider wearing something like a t-shirt inside, just in case you have to take off the hoodie. 
A light hoodie, such as this Adidas Full-zip Hoodie for Men, may increase the probability that you’ll keep your hoodie on as you go through screening. It’ll also keep you warm and save you time at airport security.