can I take knives on an airplane

Can I Take Knives On an Airplane?

By Bobby B.  |  September 30, 2019  | Blog

Yes, you can take knives on an airplane, but you must check them in your luggage.  You cannot put any knife in your carry on bag, no matter how big or small.  There is one exception to this.  You can carry on a knife made of plastic or a round blade butter knife.  Not sure why you’d need those, but you can put them in your carry-on bag.

Knife Rules and the TSA

In the United States, it’s the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, that dictates and enforces what you can and cannot bring on an airplane.  As you can see in the picture below, the knife rules posted on the TSA’s website clearly state that you CAN bring knives in your checked bags, but CANNOT bring them in your carry on bags. 

TSA Logo
knife rules tsa

Of course, there’s the one exception mentioned above for the plastic or round bladed butter knives.  There’s also the friendly reminder to sheath or securely wrap any sharp objects in your checked backs to prevent injury to any baggage handlers or inspectors.

What About Swiss-Army Knives and Small Pocket Knives?

You’ve got a good memory!  Back in March of 2013, the TSA announced that it would be allowing certain knives to be carried-on airplanes.  This would include small, folding blades up to 2.36″ (6 cm) long.  There were many concerns with this rule change amount flight attendants, pilots, and others.  Just 3 short months later in June 2013, it was repealed, resulting in the rules we have now.  No knives in carry-ons!  Not even small Swiss-Army knives.

tsa swiss army knife rules - nothing approved to carry on

Be Cognisant of Luggage Theft

Luggage theft is a real thing, so make sure if you’re going to pack away your knives in your checked bag that you consider this first.  Perhaps if you just want to take a small pocket knife on your trip, you just buy a cheap on to take along rather than bringing something valuable  

The same goes for Chefs and their high-end kitchen knife set.  In this case, you might be able to find a relatively inexpensive way to ship your good knives to your destination prior to your trip so you don’t need to worry about them while you’re flying.  

Knife Rules for International Flights

There’s not “global” rule for knives on flights.  This article was written from the American perspective, but what if you’re traveling internationally?  Well, make sure you check the laws in each of the countries that you’ll be traveling through so you don’t get your knife confiscated, or worse, in trouble with the law!  To get you started, Blademag has an article on European Knife Laws by Region.

TSA Rule Changes

The TSA tends to update their rules often.  In order to make sure that you’re checking the most up to date information, please make sure to double check the current rules on the TSA rules page.