Can You Bring A Pocket Knife On A Plane?

Last Updated on December 2, 2021

A pocket knife is a handy tool to carry with you.

But can you take a pocket knife on a plane?

Let’s find out.

TSA Pocket Knifes Rules

The Transportation Security Administration is in charge of airport security. They will screen your bag using their x-ray machine to see if it contains any prohibited items.

Here’s what they say about bringing small knives like swiss army knives aboard:

You cannot bring a pocket knife on a plane in carry-on luggage. Pocket knifes are not allowed on planes because of the blade.

The only sharp blades that are permitted in hand luggage are disposable razor blades. They are deemed to be too small to be a threat.

The rules are designed to stop people carrying dangerous weapons on to the plane.

You can bring a pocket multi-tool without a blade on a plane in hand luggage. Most brands of pocket knives make versions without the blade to comply with TSA regulations. Some people call this a ‘TSA approved knife’ but then if it doesn’t have a blade I don’t think you can really call it a knife anymore.

The TSA confiscates so many pocket knives from travellers that they end up being sold in bulk at auctions. If you don’t want to lose your knife then don’t pack it in hand luggage.

Travellers can pack a pocket knife in checked baggage but checked luggage often involves baggage fees. Make sure the knife is securely wrapped and the blade is not exposed so that any TSA officer searching your checked luggage will not cut their hand.

It might be cheaper to consider mailing your pocket knife to your destination rather than paying for checked luggage if you don’t need it.

International Travel

Different airport security organisations around the world have different rules.

If you are traveling in the UK or Canada you can pack a pocket knife with a small blade in your hand luggage.

So you could bring a small pocket knife home to the US from those countries.

Still Unsure? Ask The TSA

You can reach out to the TSA on Twitter and ask about any pocket knife or other knives or other item that you want to bring.

Tracy asked about packing a rounded butter knife in her carry-on bag:

The TSA answered that butter knifes are allowed in carry-on bags only if they are without serrated edges:

TJ wanted to bring a replica butterfly knife and an antique knife with a curved blade in carry-on luggage:

Even though the butterfly knife doesn’t have a blade it’s not allowed in hand luggage:

It’s only the sharp blades that the TSA is concerned about. So for example, box cutters without the blades can be packed in carry-on bags:

You are not allowed to bring replica knives on the plane even if they don’t have a sharp blade.

The Verdict

The TSA briefly attempted to remove the pocket knife ban but due to protests from flight attendants quickly reinstated it.

So the pocket knives remain prohibited in carry-on baggage in the United States.

This means that you can’t take a pocket knife on a plane and you’ll need to pack it in checked luggage or mail it to your destination.

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