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.

knives on airplanes.jpg

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.

sog micro knife.jpg

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

crkt lil guppie.jpg

crkt guppie.jpg

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

gerber vise.jpg

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

Wenger Esquire.jpg

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

vic tomo.jpg

Tomo knife and case by Victorinox

Midnite-Minichamp.jpg

Flashlight-equipped Swiss Army

Classic-Alox.jpg

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

victorinox swiss army flower.jpg

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

tsa allowed knives.jpg

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.

tsa not allowed knives.jpg

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.

Comments