Airport rules regarding pocket knives

Written by ian ragsdale
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Airport security is tight around the world as passengers, regulators and airlines seek safe air transportation. Although the following rules about pocket knives and other blades are specific to the United States, almost all national safety organisations have adopted similar restrictions. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) promotes knowing the rules before flying to facilitate the security process.

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Carry-On Luggage

It is absolutely forbidden to have any sharp blade on a plane, including small pocket knives and key-chain knives. The only tools allowed on board in carry-on luggage are such lightweight tools as wrenches or screwdrivers that are less than 7 inches in length.

Checked Baggage

Nearly any kind of knife, blade or tool can be carried in checked baggage. This includes swords, razor blades, pocket knives, saws and axes.

What To Do

If you accidentally leave a pocket knife in your carry-on, security simply will ask you to return to the airline's desk and put it in your checked luggage. If there isn't time, you may be able to mail it to yourself at the airport post office. Otherwise, security will confiscate the knife.


Anyone trying to bring a concealed blade on board can face charges at the local or federal level.


An updated list of prohibited items is available at the TSA website.

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