Many people love the convenience and security carrying a pocket knife brings. Pocket knives are lightweight and highly useful. Many people wonder, can you take a pocket knife on an airplane?
From cutting open boxes to peeling fruit, there are so many daily tasks that can be completed by using a handy pocket knife. It can even be used as a method of self-defense, and you can feel safer just knowing you have it on your person. But can you take a pocket knife on an airplane?
Technically any knife can be used as a weapon, and we all know weapons like guns are not typically allowed on airplanes. And with the rules and regulations of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) changing at times, who can keep up with what is and isn’t allowed on commercial flights?
Here is everything you need to know if you are going to the airport with a pocket knife.
What are TSA’s Rules for Flying With Pocket Knives?
Following the devastation of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, TSA cracked down on the types of items that were allowed to be carried onto planes. The pocket knife was on the new list of prohibited items.
Since its ban, the TSA has made attempts to permit pocket knives on planes again, but have not yet been successful.
If you are confused because you heard the pocket knife ban was repealed, you are not alone. In 2013 the TSA announced that small personal knives (such as pocket knives) were removed from the list of prohibited items on flights and so could be carried on a plane.
The idea was that allowing people to carry their personal knives onto planes would allow airport security to focus on greater potential threats, such as bombs or guns. Small knives are of little threat to aircraft security, thanks to the size and construction of airplanes versus any potential damage a small knife could inflict.
The decision would also make American airport restrictions more closely match the guidelines of most other countries.
The announcement received tons of backlash and complaints about safety concerns from both the public and the Association of Flight Attendants, and the decision was reversed.
Currently, regardless of size, no knives are permitted to be carried onto the cabin of an airplane.
If you want to check the exact rules for any items on the date of your flight, as well as pocket knives then you can go to the TSA website here to check it out.
So What Can I Do If I Want To Travel With My Trusty Pocket Knife?
This doesn’t mean your prized possession has to stay home! You can still bring your knife to the airport and check it in your luggage.
You will not be able to carry it on your person or in a carry-on bag onto the cabin with you, but it can be safely nestled in your luggage that is inaccessible during the flight.
Since most people carry pocket knives in, of course, their pockets, just make sure to take yours out either at home or the airport and put it with your checked luggage before reaching airport security screeners.
What if I Accidentally Go Through Security Screening With My Pocket Knife?
If you forget to take out your pocket knife and check it with your luggage and accidentally go through security screening with it, do not worry. You will still have a number of options, and you will not be arrested or jeopardize your flight.
There are two different classifications of TSA banned items: “unlawful” and “prohibited.” Prohibited items are legal outside of the airport, so you will not get in trouble for having them; you just still won’t be able to carry them in the cabin of the plane.
Unlawful items, like illegal drugs or unregistered guns, are illegal outside of an airport, and certainly in the cabin of a plane. Pocket knives fall in the prohibited category.
If for any reason you find yourself accidentally going through security screening with your pocket knife, you will have the following options:
- Go back and try to check the knife in your luggage (you can take your carry-on bag and check it as luggage or try to add it to luggage you have already checked)
- Contact whoever took you to the airport or is seeing you off and give the knife to them, if they are still at or nearby the airport
- If you drove yourself to the airport and parked, you can take the knife and store it in your car
- Mail the knife home or to your destination. TSA usually has supplies for mailing items at the security checkpoint for instances like these.
- Discard the knife or turn it over to security
What Happens to My Pocket Knife if I Leave It With Security?
You will never see the knife again if you leave it with security. It is not TSA’s responsibility to hold prohibited items for you, and anything left at security is considered federal government property. Items are then donated to different charities or discarded.
There have been stories of items being confiscated by TSA only to appear on eBay or other online retailers later.
This does not mean TSA agents are confiscating property to keep or sell, and the donation/discard policy prevents this from happening. A TSA agent will never be able to keep any property they confiscate from you.
The items sold online were most likely purchased from the charity they were donated to and sold by individual sellers, or sold by the charity itself.
So What Is The Final Word, Can I Take My Pocket Knife On An Airplane?
Yes and no. You safely store your pocket knife in your checked luggage and will be able to retrieve it once you get to your destination.
With that being said, you cannot personally carry your pocket knife on an airplane, either in your pocket or in your carry on luggage.
Every country has their own laws when it comes to pocket knives and carrying knives on planes. As well, they will have their own laws about carrying knives and what type of knives are legal to carry.
Be sure to check the local laws of the destination you travel to so that even if you do store you knife in your luggage and retrieve it at your destination, you still want to make sure it is legal to carry it when you get there.