Knives are versatile tools that are good to have when out and about. But, traveling with a knife, as a practice, has a rather stigmatized notion around it- and rightfully so.
Not everyone is sane, and allowing people to carry knives at will is a dangerous choice.
As such, there are many rules which might make you question – can you bring a pocket knife on a plane?
When flying, you are allowed to carry pocket knives- even the ones with a blade- in your checked luggage. According to TSA’s website:
However, there are still some fine prints around this rule- most of them you need to know about if you are thinking of traveling with any knife.
Can I Bring A Pocket Knife On A Plane?
Knives are good tools. Throughout the day, a sharp usable knife is a handy luxury and one you might not want to lose even abroad.
But- as they rightfully should- the possession of sharp objects inside a plane is frowned upon. In the wrong hands, a knife is a travesty, and authorities being proactive is to be expected.
As such, you might ask, “Can I bring a pocket knife on a plane?” .
In general, as quoted from TSA before, you can carry pocket knives, amongst many other types of knives, in your checked luggage. Whilst your luggage might get flagged for a check during screening, you shouldn’t face any problems.
The main rule you have to obey is to pack your knife in safely. Make sure you have secured the knife well enough that it doesn’t fling around in your luggage.
Also, more importantly, you have to ensure that the blade of your knife is not exposed and runs the risk of cutting someone by accident.
Also, you are in some cases, allowed to bring a pocket knife that DOES NOT HAVE A BLADE in your carry-on. Never, however, bring a “bladed” pocket knife in your carry-on.
This will result in either you losing your knife at best or some degree of legal repercussion at worst.
Rules About Bringing Other Knives On A Plane
Pocket knives are far from the only type of knife there is and the only ones you might want to carry.
Given that the selection of knives and sharp objects is vast, you must know about the rules surrounding them as well.
Utility knives or box cutters are allowed on planes under a few conditions as well. Similar to pocket knives, you cannot carry a utility knife with a razor inside your carry-on bag.
A best practice for flying with a utility knife would be to pack the knife in, without a blade inserted, inside your checked luggage.
You can carry the blades in a separate container and you should be good to go.
Spring-Assisted Or Flick-Blade Knives
Spring-assisted or flick knives open at the tap of a switch or the blade is flung open by the user.
Rules with any kind of assisted or flick-blade knives are a bit confusing. Even in your checked luggage, if you are carrying such a knife, you will find that officials are a bit confused about what to do.
The rules regarding these types of knives are not well-defined.
So, to be safe- since you run the risk of incriminating yourself by carrying a ‘potential weapon’ anyways- avoid carrying your switchblades and spring knives with you when flying.
If you need to transport the knife, though, you should explore shipping options. Shipping the knife is the safest route available for you.
Fixed Blade Knives
Fixed-blade knives are allowed on planes. Although a set of- later scrapped- regulation changes in 2013 have led to people being confused, you can indeed bring fixed-blade knives with you on a plane.
The key requirement you need to fulfill is that the blade itself is sheathed/ well covered and that the knife is in checked luggage and not a carry-on.
Making sure that no part of the blade is exposed and that the knife does not rattle around inside your luggage is key.
A Common Mistake When Bringing A Pocket Knife On A Plane
With you carrying a sharp object, even if the rules say yes- some things can get you in trouble. The chief amongst them is you failing to pack in the knife correctly.
When packing your knife pay attention to properly sheathing it or covering the blade so that no one gets cut when trying to extract it.
During the screening, chances are that your bag will be flagged for a manual check and this is where proper packing comes into play.
If an official is injured by your knife when trying to find it, you carry the liabilities of the injury and can even be sued. So be sure to take extra care in packing your knife.
Here are some more questions that may arise in your mind when you are planning to bring a pocket knife on a plane. The answers are also here.
Do different airlines have different knife laws?
No. The TSA dictates every safety law during travel, all airlines must follow them, and you are only required to respect what the TSA mandates.
What types of pocket knives can I have with me in the cabin?
Only pocket knives that do not have a blade are allowed on carry-ons and hence into the cabin.
Can I carry a knife with a sub 6 cm blade?
Blade sizes are irrelevant, and any sharp knife should only go in your checked luggage.
Carrying a sharp object with you in a crowded space is scrutinized, as you can expect. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot have a knife with you.
Following simple protocols will allow you to take it with you into the friendly skies.
Not having a sharp blade exposed- for your and fellow passengers’ safety. And taking good precautions when packing and securing your knife is the only requirement you need to fulfill.
So to end it, the answer to “Can I bring a Pocket Knife on a plane?” is a resounding “Yes.”