10 Knives You can (soon) bring on a Plane

UPDATE: A change in policy… the Federal Aviation Administration has put a hold on this new mandate. As of now knives of most all types are banned on U.S. commercial air flights. (Allowed are “plastic or round bladed butter knives” only, according to TSA.org.) We will monitor the situation and update on changes as they come.

In a dramatic policy change, the Federal Aviation Administration will soon allow small knives on commercial airplanes. Starting on April 25th, airline passengers can carry pocketknives with small blades. We’re not talking tactical knives. Even most Swiss Army Knives are still banned. But the new rules allow small knives with blades of 2.36 inches or shorter to come into the cabin and travel in your pocket or a carryon bag.

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Fly the friendly skies with a pocketknife. By TSA’s new rules this knife will soon be legal

Fixed or locking blades are not permitted. Neither are knives with “molded grips.” The Travel Safety Administration published a document called “Changes to Prohibited Items List” that outlines the new criteria.

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Mini tactical-like blade passes TSA criteria

We contacted several knife brands this week to find TSA-compliant models in current stock. See below for 10 knives that should pass inspection in a TSA security line. —Stephen Regenold

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Columbia River Knife & Tool lists five models as being compliant. The Lil’ Guppie model is shown here

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Gerber lists its VISE model as “TSA Compliant” on its website, among other models. It has a pliers, screwdriver, bottle opener, and a non-locking, 1.5-inch blade that should pass inspection in an airport security line

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Wenger’s Esquire and Evo 81 models are more fits. These tiny Swiss Army Knives have 1.75-inch blades, small scissors, files, and other implements. Approximately 25 knives in the Wenger line qualify, the company cites

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Tomo knife and case by Victorinox


Flashlight-equipped Swiss Army


Victorinox Swiss Army lists more than 50 knife models from its line that acquiesce with TSA’s new rules

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Lime Classic Edelweiss by Victorinox, a cute pocketknife adorned with the national flower of Switzerland

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TSA chart showing allowed knives

The new TSA rules take effect on April 25th. Flight attendant associations and large airlines like Delta have expressed serious concern and opposition to the policy change.

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TSA chart showing not-allowed knives

The TSA “Prohibited Items” document is highly visual with knife examples (see above). Bullet-pointed lists reveal what is and is not allowed, including blade length, width, and knife types. But there’s room for interpretation with some points on the document. I will be nervous taking any knife on an airplane still.

Some brands, including Buck, were hesitant to recommend knife model names for this article, as the TSA criteria is low on details. A Spyderco spokesperson, Joyce Laituri, said the brand “manufactures no knife models that fall within the carry parameters released by the TSA.”

Laituri continued, “We have spoken internally about creating a model but are waiting for TSA to further define the requirements before committing to the cost and time involved in tooling up a new knife design.”

sog micro knife.jpg

SOG sells a knife, the Micron (above), which has a 1.5-inch blade. It looks like a mini tactical knife, including saw teeth and a tanto-point tip. Most likely TSA would allow it, but I would double check with an agent before trying to pass through with the Micron’s aggressive look and hand-contouring grip.

SOG advises everybody to follow the TSA rules,” said Matt Crawford, a representative for the Washington knife brand. “We’re certainly not on a promotional campaign to encourage folks to carry-on knives. If there’s ever a doubt, check it.”

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.GearJunkie.com.

Posted by Josh - 03/14/2013 11:32 AM

Three of the knives on this list, including the SOG model would not be allowed because of their contoured grips.

Posted by Aldar - 03/14/2013 11:44 AM

also the SOG is a locking blade and the guidelines clearly state that locking blades are not permitted.

Posted by Albert - 03/14/2013 12:17 PM

No, the SOG Micron does not have a locking blade (just the slipjoint mechanism)…the Micron 2.0 line is a locking blade. The guidelines say “molded” grips, so that’s going to be very gray anyway. Depends on who’s working the line that day.

Posted by andrew - 03/14/2013 12:37 PM

so does that mean they will send me back my monogramed swiss army knife they took away from me a few years ago?

Posted by T.C. Worley - 03/14/2013 01:47 PM

I’m with Andrew – I want my confiscated knife back! Seriously though, this is great news – a small victory for normalcy.

Posted by Sina Wali - 03/14/2013 03:06 PM

@T.C. Worley
A small Victorinox for normalcy, indeed.

Posted by Tomer Ullmann - 03/15/2013 10:47 AM

Nothing about Ninja swords ?
I guess the know Ninjas are good people.

Posted by Dr. Evil - 03/22/2013 11:38 AM

Sounds like the Feinstein method of qualification. Features that have nothing to do with the performance of a knife but make it “scary” are reasons to not allow the knife. Molded grips, seriously.

Posted by KnosPickr - 03/22/2013 01:44 PM

The Leatherman Micra seems like an easy call by this criteria. I don’t see it on the list yet. However, I still won’t be carrying any on, since I know it is still a discretionary matter and that the TSA agent on duty can either give the green light, or confiscate. I’ve had way too many Leatherman Micra’s and similar Gerber tools confiscated to think that they’ll easily abandon the practice. Too much fun to keep my cool stuff for themselves.

Posted by Tim - 03/24/2013 05:41 PM

Find these knives and a bunch of other travel items at Outdoorshopping.com. Also, they even have locks for airplanes as well!

Posted by Björn - 03/27/2013 12:07 AM

I’m just wondering.
Why do you have to take any knive on the plane?

Posted by Deke - 03/27/2013 12:41 PM

Because if we don’t take knives on the plane, the terrorists win.. ‘Murica!

Posted by Les - 04/18/2013 07:36 PM

What constitutes a locking blade?

Posted by Desmond - 04/25/2013 11:46 AM

Seriously? What constitutes a locking blade would be a blade that LOCKS in place. Google, friend..

Posted by Helge - 08/10/2013 12:06 PM

I had my Victorinox Tomo knife snatched off me by the TSA at SFO two days ago. The blade was barely longer than a quarter is wide.
“Any blade is too long” is what she told me.
Be warned.

Posted by Editor - 08/11/2013 10:56 PM

A change in policy… the Federal Aviation Administration has put a hold on this new mandate. As of now (August 2013) knives of most all types are banned on U.S. commercial air flights. (Allowed are “plastic or round bladed butter knives” only, according to TSA.org.) We will monitor the situation and update on changes as they come.

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