If you’re packing for an upcoming flight, you might be asking: Can you bring a knife in a checked bag?
How would you be able to do that safely and legally?
Today, we’ll be answering both these questions according to the TSA. After all, they’re the ones who have the last say.
Can You Bring a Knife in a Checked Bag on U.S. Flights?
The short answer is: not exactly.
You might be allowed to bring a plastic knife or round-bladed butter knife in your carry-on, but that’s about it.
Generally, the TSA has this rule about knives: Knives of all types should be packed in a checked bag.
Carry-on luggage is not allowed to house a knife of any kind.
If you have any knives inside your bag, make sure they are sheathed and wrapped securely to prevent injuring any inspectors and baggage handlers.
Even then, the final decision will still rest with the TSA.
Realistically, where pointed items are concerned, you can’t wholly trust TSA guidelines. More often than not, the verdict will be what the officials tell you in person.
So, yes, even if regulations say you can bring a rounded butter knife on board, we still don’t suggest you do it.
Trusting the guidelines completely is just asking for delays and other kinds of trouble with security.
A knife in a carry-on will always warrant an investigation by officials.
Then, you’ll actually have to explain to these people how you plan to spread butter using such an item.
It really is more trouble than it’s worth, so it’s best to leave the metal knife at home. If you must bring one with you, make sure it’s made of plastic.
Nevertheless, this rule is in place for a reason: to stop people from carrying anything dangerous into the cabin.
It can be a minor inconvenience, but it benefits everyone in the end.
Legalities Surrounding Flying With Knives
Can you bring a knife on a plane?
Aside from making sure you abide by the TSA guidelines regarding this matter, you should also check the jurisdiction you’re headed to.
Would it be legal for you to carry a knife to your destination? Can you take kitchen knives in checked luggage?
Perhaps in your home state, it is, but that may change once you reach your destination.
You could be branded as carrying an illegal concealed knife, which is not something you want.
So, always make sure carrying a knife is legal where you’re going so that you don’t run into any trouble with the law.
If you’re checking anything into your luggage—from an automatic knife to a balisong, ballistic knife, folding knife, or flick knife—make sure to check the knife laws in your destination if you’re allowed to carry them.
Even a simple online search can save you a whole lot of trouble.
Traveling internationally is pretty much the same story.
You’ll have to see if the knife laws in your destination country will allow you to carry the one you have.
Also, unlike the USA, many of these countries aren’t as lax about gun laws, so you have to be even more careful.
Now that you know knives should be packed in a piece of checked luggage, do you have to declare knives in checked luggage?
Do You Have to Declare Knives in Checked Luggage?
In the USA, if your knife is wrapped accordingly, there’s no need to declare it.
Firearms, on the other hand, are governed by a different set of rules and should be declared.
Again, when packing your knives, make sure to do so correctly so that they don’t accidentally harm anyone searching the bag.
What’s the Deal With Pocket Knives?
Utility knives, pocket knives, Swiss army knives, you name it—these knives are not allowed in the cabin during a flight.
Again, the rules are pretty simple: it’s either a butter knife or nothing at all.
Pocket knives with blades shorter than two and a half inches used to be allowed in carry-on luggage.
However, this was stopped a few years later by an association of flight attendants that barred the TSA from ever allowing these dangerous knives inside an aircraft cabin again.
While officials checking your bag because of a tiny knife can be an inconvenience, plane hijacking is a serious and very real threat.
So, yes, we’ll bear with whatever has to be done to keep these dangerous situations from taking place.
Ship Your Knife Instead
Can you bring a knife on a plane? Yes, if it’s packed in checked luggage. Know, however, that it’s going to cost you.
These days, with airlines charging up to $30 for checked luggage, it is safer and more practical to ship knives to your destination instead.
That way, you can steer clear of the fees and travel with carry-on only.
It also saves you from worrying about possibly losing your knife, or the entire checked luggage, in transit.
This can help you save money and make life much easier.
Lastly, whether you ship your knife or not, it’s always a good plan to prepare a self-addressed envelope.
This way, if you forget to take out the knife from your carry-on, you can just mail it back to your residence.
Can You Take Kitchen Knives in Checked Luggage Internationally?
With kitchen knives (or any kind of knife for that matter), you need to check with the airline and the rules governing knives in your destination.
Here’s the verdict on some major international destinations:
- Canada and the UK
All knives, except Swiss army knives less than six centimeters, should go in a checked bag.
Knives with blades under six centimeters are allowed inside the cabin.
Flying With Knives
So, can you bring a knife in a checked bag?
Yes, and you should have no trouble doing so if the knives are packed safely and securely in the bag.
However, if your knife is deemed dangerous, make sure to check the local laws in your destination before packing.
If you’re flying to international destinations, like Europe or Canada, knives with blades shorter than six centimeters will generally be allowed inside your carry-on.