Pocket Knives And Airports - Tsa Knife Rules

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There are few things more handy or functional to carry on your person than a pocket knife. Whether you need to slice open a package, cut a fishing line or peel an apple, a pocket knife is a stellar tool. But what happens when you're heading to the airport with your pocket knife?

Security Regulations for Pocket Knives

Since 9/11, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has drastically increased the number of prohibited carry-on items at airports. Currently, a pocket knife is on the list of prohibited carry-on items. It's always a good idea to check out the full list of prohibited carry-on and checked items before you fly.

The good news is that even though you can't carry your pocket knife on an airplane, you are allowed to check it in your luggage. Of course, if you're in the habit of putting your pocket knife in your pocket, there's a good chance you'll forget and end up walking through security.

What happens if I accidentally carry my pocket knife through security?

Don't worry, you won't be arrested or charged with breaking any law. TSA classifies banned items in two different sections, prohibited and unlawful. Prohibited items, such as pocket knives, are items that are completely legal outside of the airport. If you accidentally go through security with your pocket knife, you'll likely be given four options:

1. Take the item back and check it in your luggage
2. Give the item to someone who is seeing you off, if they are still at the airport.
3. Take the item to your car
4. Mail the item; TSA often has mailing supplies at security.

If I just leave my knife at security, what will happen to it?

Interesting question. Check out this post from the TSA blog, which was the result of a report by CNN that some discarded items were being sold on eBay.

According to TSA, this would only occur if the items were donated to a non-profit, which then sold them. TSA regulations deem all items left at security property of the federal government. Items are either destroyed or distributed to various non-profit or relief agencies.

What if I don't have a pocket knife?

Well, then you clearly don't have much inclination to taste or handiness. Luckily, you can find a large selection of pocket knives at websites all over the internet. And if you're not convinced you need a pocket knife, you might want to have your head examined.
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John Moxly has 1 articles online


John Moxley has spent more than 30 years working as a writer in various facets of the sports and outdoors industries. As a pocket knife collector who often travels, he has become well aware of the the laws regarding pocket knives and airports. John writes for Knife Depot.

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This article was published on 2010/10/23