Traveling with Knives: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

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Everybody understands that some objects are entirely restricted on airplanes and in baggage, like flammables and explosives.

However what about knives? Can you bring knives on airplanes and pack them in inspected baggage? And which knives are permitted and which are prohibited ( for example, kitchen area knives, swiss army knives, antique/decorative knives, e.t.c.)?

When checking out issues that people get while traveling, we see these concerns being asked numerous times. That’s why in this post, we’ll address all of them, in addition to covering other associated topics, such as global knife laws, how to pack knives in travel luggage, how to secure them from being taken, and others.

Warning/Disclaimer: This is illegal guidance and I am not a lawyer. I’m simply a travel lover, who’s speaking about my own experiences. Knives in baggage are severe due to the fact that bringing the incorrect kind of knife can get you detained. If you’re trying to find legal guidance, you ought to speak with a lawyer, or call the authorities/airports/customs.

Rather enjoy a video? In this brief one-minute video, we discuss one of the most fundamental things and enter into more information in the complete post.


Can You Bring Knives on Airplane in Hand Travel Luggage?

Since 2001, the TSA ( Transport Security Agency) has actually enhanced its security, and now all things that can act as weapons are restricted from cabin baggage, that also includes knives.

The only types of knives that are authorized on planes are round-bladed butter knives and plastic knives. This implies, that you can easily pack them inside your carry-on, personal things, or bring them in your pocket when going through the airport security. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on the number of knives you can bring, and there are no requirements for concealing/packing them, as long as they’re butter knives or plastic knives.

In 2013, TSA declared that soon knives with small blades will be authorized in cabin luggage, such as swiss army knife and small army knives or hunting knives. However, the act was never ever in fact carried out. You can still find a couple of posts with controversial details based upon that update, however, as of today, 2020, just butter knives and plastic knives are permitted cabin baggage.

Can You Bring Knives in Checked Travel Luggage?

According to the TSA, you can bring actually any type of knife in your inspected baggage, consisting of death stars, pocket knives, and even swords TSA does not restrict the blade length, curved blades, concealed blades, or anything of that kind.

The only condition from the TSA is that all sharp items need to be securely packed inside, so the TSA representatives can safely inspect the contents of your bag. This indicates that you always need to safely protect the blade, so no one might get accidentally hurt while carrying out an inspection. If they’d get hurt due to the fact that you didn’t correctly secure your knife, you might get charged.

Though it is necessary to keep in mind that TSA is just a single regulator for restricting objects in baggage. Many knives are prohibited from inspected baggage by other airline company regulators, customs, and other authoritie

For example, butterfly knives are prohibited in a lot of U.S. states. The TSA does not actually care if you’re bringing a butterfly knife. Still, if the TSA security officer would recognize that this kind of knife is restricted in that particular state, he might call the authorities, and you might get detained by the police for bringing a prohibited knife.

Do You Need To State Knives in Checked Travel Luggage?

Formally, you aren’t bound to claim knives in your travel luggage within the U.S. That’s due to the fact that knives are categorized as sharp items. The TSA requires you to declare firearms, large amounts of medications, and other objects, however not sharp items.

Still, we would recommend willingly declaring knives at the check-in desk, particularly if you’re flying internationally. That’s because frequently the airline company workers themselves get confused in the rules, and some countries need all knives to be claimed.

Knives are in a darkened area. Although you do not require to claim a knife in inspected travel luggage within the U.S, we have actually heard people saying that their inspected luggage wasn’t loaded on the airplane, just due to the fact that the security officers discovered an undeclared knife in the luggage. Most people who travel with knives always claim them, and they report having no issues. Which is why we would suggest you to claim knives although you do not require to.

The Kinds Of Knives That Are Authorized in Checked Travel Luggage

legal knives shown next to illegal knives

Pocket Knives/Swiss Army Knives

Swiss army knife are typically legal worldwide. We have not discovered a single state/country where swiss army knife are prohibited, so you can safely load them in your inspected travel luggage.

Kitchen Knives/Toolsets

Kitchen knives and kitchen knife toolsets are completely good to pack inside inspected travel luggage. It’s a common type of knife, and you should not get into any trouble for loading them in your inspected baggage. That stated you must be extremely careful when packing costly kitchen knife sets because frequently knives can get stolen from inspected baggage.

Antique Knives and Blunt Decorative Knives

Many countries will permit antique and decorative knives in your inspected luggage. However, some countries will not. If the antique knife has a long blade, or a curved blade, despite the fact that it’s blunt, you might get into serious problem in some countries. So when you’re carrying antique/decorative knives, always consult the local authorities before loading them, including layover/connecting countries. If it’s a costly knife, ensure to also insure it.

Fixed Blade Knives with Brief Blades

Many knives with a small, fixed blade that isn’t concealed, folding, or push-type will be allowed in inspected luggage. This greatly depends upon the state/country though. You must consult each state/country you’ll be traveling through, and search for the laws for “concealed carry” there. Some countries restrict knives to 3 inches in length, some to 5 or 6 inches, and some do not have any blade length limitations. Here, you can discover the knife laws for each U.S. state.

The Kinds Of Knives That Are Not Allowed to Travel With

Some kinds of knives are restricted in many countries and U.S. states. Most often, they’re prohibited due to the fact that they have actually a concealed blade, the blade is too long, or the knife creates stab injuries that are even worse than what a regular knife would make. You should prevent packing these kinds of knives and look for other means of carrying them, such as USPS or FedEx.

Flick Knives

Flick knives, other called switchblades or automatic knives have actually a concealed blade that comes out when a button is pushed. These knives are restricted in many states in countries, so we would not suggest traveling with them.

Butterfly Knives

Although butterfly knives are actually cool and might be a fantastic gift/souvenir, they’re restricted in the majority of states and countries.

Deceiving Knives Resembling Various Items, like a Pen or a Lighter

Lighter knives or spy-type knives that resemble pens that can be used as an amazing gift, however, they’re restricted almost anywhere. So do not pack them inside your baggage or you might get into problem.

Throwing Stars, Death Stars, and Throwing Knives

Knife throwing is basically a sport at this moment, and people who practice it deal with severe problems when traveling to contests due to the fact that throwing knives and death stars are restricted in many states. We have actually heard people using rubber throwing stars and knives for this purpose, which are authorized and legal.

Punch Knife

Punch Knife have a perpendicular handle, rather of a regular, parallel one. They were popular a couple of years ago amongst civilians as a personal weapon of defense. That stated, they’re not allowed in many countries and states, so do not pack them inside your baggage

Fixed Blade Bowie/Long Blade Hunting Knives

Although normally, a lot of fixed blade knives are authorized, some with longer blades or rugged edges are not allowed in many states and countries. Always consult the authorities before loading one in your travel luggage.

Machetes and Swords

Simply a couple of years back, Machetes and Swords were usually allowed in homes for self-defense, and now they’re prohibited in many countries and states. For example, in the UK, the majority of machetes are prohibited entirely due to the fact that they’re longer than 50cm in length. In many U.S. states and other countries, where they’re used as a tool for bush-chopping, they’re legal. So make sure to check out the laws before you choose to pack one in your baggage.

What Are the Knife Rules for International Flights?

Damascus steel kitchen knife toolset
Damascus steel kitchen knife toolset

When you’re traveling globally, you must inspect the knife rules for:

  1. The airline company regulator (for example, TSA in the United States or TCCA in Canada.)
  2. All the countries/states you’ll be flying through. For example, if you’re flying from London (UK) to Dallas (Texas) with a linking flight in Atlanta (Georgia), you need to inspect the knife laws for the UK, Texas, and Georgia.

Composing the knife laws for each country and state is impossible for us to do, so we’ll simply cover the most popular airline company regulators. You can discover the knife laws for many popular countries over here:

TSA (Transport Security Administration/USA) Knife Rules

TSA, which manages airline companies operating within the U.S., permits round butter knives and plastic knives in hand baggage. All other knives need to be securely packed inside inspected baggage, and no specific kind of knife is restricted.

IATA (International Air Transport Association/Worldwide) Knife Rules

IATA, which is an association that manages 82% of air traffic, has prohibited all knives in hand luggage You’re totally free to load any kind of knife in inspected baggage.

CAA (Civil Aviation Authority/UK) Knife Rules

CAA, which manages airline companies running within the UK, allows penknives ( swiss army knife) with blades much shorter than 6 cm ( 2.4 inches) in hand baggage however has actually prohibited multitools, even if the blade length on them is less than 6 cm. All other kinds of knives can be packed in inspected baggage with no restrictions..

TCCA (Transport Canada Civil Aviation) Knife Rules

TCCA, which manages airline companies running within Canada, allows knives with blades shorter than 6 cm ( 2.4 inches) in hand baggage, and all other kinds of knives need to be loaded inside inspected baggage.

CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Administration/Australia) Knife Rules

CASA, which manages airline companies running within Australia, has prohibited all knives from hand luggage You’re totally free to load them inside inspected baggage.

CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) Knife Rules

CAAC, which manages airline companies running within China, has actually restricted many knives, even from inspected baggage. Although they have not pointed out much, you can examine their knife rules over here We would not advise bringing any kind of knife there in your inspected luggage unless it’s a basic penknife or a kitchen knife.

How to Pack Knives in Checked Luggage

Here’s what the TSA states about loading knives in inspected baggage:

” Any sharp items in checked bags must be sheathed or safely wrapped to avoid injury to luggage handlers and inspectors.”

Your objective is to securely protect your knives so that when the TSA inspectors screen them, they do not need to open your bag to verify. If your bag is inspected and the knife is packed unsafely, your knife might get confiscated, or you might get taken legal action against if the security representative accidentally gets hurt.

Here are a couple of methods that you can use to safely load your knives in inspected baggage:

  • Some people load their knives in a metal/wooden container, locked with a TSA-friendly lock;
  • If you do not have a container, I’d suggest at least taping the blade with scotch or duct tape;
  • If you have actually packed boots or shoes, you can cover your knife in socks or undergarments, and stuff the contents inside the boots;
  • Use a DIY container: Remove 2 pieces of cardboard, put your blade/knife in between them, and tape the 2 pieces together with some tape.

Read Next: 75 Packing Tips For International Travel

How to Keep Your Knife from Getting Stolen from Your Inspected Travel Luggage

It’s a widely known reality, that there are lots of airport staff members who are on the lookout for easy-to-steal, highly-priced objects, such as knives and perfume. Although I have actually never ever had actually anything taken from my bag, many people who travel often have. And you generally can’t do anything about it, as a lot of typically, airline companies will not take responsibility.

For example, one time my girlfriend had her perfume “strangely vaporize” in her inspected bag. ( Nothing smelled of scent, so probably somebody simply poured the contents in another container.)

So how do you combat the theft of your valuable knives? Firstly, never ever pack knives that you’re afraid to lose or are irreplaceable. If your knife is valued over a hundred dollars, I would suggest buying insurance for the stuff of your bag or using FedEx.

When it concerns packing, you can’t properly secure your knives. What you can do is make it difficult for the thieves to get to your blade, which will reduce the chances of your knife getting stolen ( Hopefully, since they’re too lazy.)

Here are some things that you might do:

  • If your knives have a hole in them, use a copper wire to connect your knife to the frame of the luggage.
  • Make it disgusting for anybody to get to your belongings: Put your knife in a plastic bag, that has lots of your unclean undergarments.
  • Lock your knife in a metal box, which will make it difficult for thieves to conceal the stolen blade in their pockets, and slip by undetected.
  • Place it in a cardboard box and write “Sharp contents within, however safely packaged. DO NOT TOUCH” on top. Having actually written “do not touch” deals with the thieve mentally, since he might start thinking you have actually made extra precautions in addition to this one.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

We get questions about carrying things on airplanes often. So we have actually written many other guides, where we respond to the most frequently asked questions.

You can check them out over here:



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