Can you take a Swiss army knife on a plane in 2023?

Traveling often comes with its share of uncertainties, and in today’s complex world, airport security regulations are among them. 

There’s something truly comforting about having a Swiss Army Knife at your disposal. Renowned for its versatility, reliability, and even sentimentality for some, its allure is undeniable.

However, the burning question remains: is it permissible to bring it onboard a plane?

Well, let’s delve into that, shall we?

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a Swiss army knife is only allowed in your checked luggage.

It’s a no-go for your carry-on or personal belongings.

Some people are so habituated to carrying this versatile tool that they only realize they’re contravening the rules when they’re stopped at the security checkpoint.

Related: Can You Bring a Multitool on a Plane?

It’s important to note that the TSA guidelines expressly prohibit all types of knives from being carried inside your carry-on luggage.

There are instances where certain sites market small pocket knives as “TSA approved”.

However, it’s essential to realize that the TSA does not engage in testing or endorsing knives for air travel.

Such marketing strategies are merely tactics employed by these outlets to boost their sales.

As a standing rule, all knives with blades constructed of metal, or any sharp objects for that matter, are prohibited from being brought inside the cabin.

As responsible travelers, it’s our duty to abide by these guidelines to ensure a safe and smooth journey for all.

What are the consequences of violating TSA knife rules?

If a TSA agent happens to find a Swiss Army Knife in your carry-on, you typically won’t be subjected to a fine.

TSA agents encounter situations like this quite regularly, so they tend to be understanding. Usually, they will give you the option to discard your knife.

In dealing with this scenario, it’s crucial to maintain a calm demeanor and show respect toward the TSA agents.

Related: Can you bring a Gillette razor on a plane?

The last thing you want to do is become confrontational and argue with them.

Bear in mind that since 2022, the fine for carrying knives in your carry-on has risen, and now ranges from $390 to $2,250.

Persistently arguing could land your name on the unruly passenger list. Moreover, you risk losing your eligibility for TSA PreCheck screening, as this is typically reserved for “low-risk” travelers.

Related: Can you Bring a Pencil Sharpener on a plane?

Fortunately, there’s a more favorable alternative: mailing your Swiss Army Knife.

This option is viable if you’ve arrived at the checkpoint with some time to spare.

Start by checking your smartphone for the nearest collection box location.

In principle, each terminal should have a mailbox situated before the security checkpoint.

Inform the security personnel that you plan to mail the pocket knife to your address, then exit the checkpoint.

You should be able to find packaging and postage supplies at the airport’s gift shops.

Preparing the knife for shipping and purchasing the necessary packaging should take no more than 15 minutes.

A padded envelope is generally sufficient for a small Swiss Army Knife. Just remember to use the correct number of postage stamps.

Can you reclaim your pocket knife after it’s been confiscated by the TSA?

Regrettably, the odds of retrieving your pocket knife once it has been seized by the TSA are virtually nonexistent. All confiscated items effectively become the property of the federal government.

Some of these items may be donated to charitable organizations, but the majority are sold at auctions, typically in bundles of 20 pounds or more.

It’s important to remember that individual items are not tracked, so it would be impossible to trace where your pocket knife might end up for sale.

How to pack your Swiss army knife in your checked luggage

Though there are no specific precautions to take when packing a Swiss Army Knife in your checked luggage, it’s essential to keep the safety of TSA inspectors in mind.

According to the TSA, all sharp objects should be packed in a manner that prevents potential risks to those handling your baggage.

Given that a Swiss Army Knife doesn’t have exposed blades, simply placing it amongst your other belongings in your luggage should suffice.

However, if you have knives with exposed blades, I would recommend using bubble wrap and duct tape to sheath the blade effectively.

This helps to prevent any potential injuries during luggage inspections.

Just remember, safety is key. So always pack in a way that ensures the well-being of those handling your luggage.

Are you allowed to bring a bladeless Swiss Army Knife in your carry-on luggage?

According to the TSA, travelers can bring multi-tools without a blade that measures under 7 inches in their carry-on luggage. Hence, a bladeless Swiss Army Knife, essentially functioning as a multi-tool, would be acceptable to carry on board.

However, let’s have an honest moment here. I can’t help but liken a Swiss Army Knife without a blade to an airplane without wings – it seems to lack its essential character.

While it’s still functional and helpful, something significant is missing.

What Kind of Knives Can You Carry in Your Carry-On?

The TSA has clarified that travelers are allowed to bring plastic or round-bladed butter knives in their carry-on luggage.

This means you can include a box of disposable plastic knives in your carry-on bag.

However, it’s advisable to steer clear of sturdy plastic knives that closely resemble real cutlery.

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TSA agents may request that you stow these items in your checked baggage instead.

If your plastic knives could potentially cause injury, it would be better to store them in your checked bag as well.

Remember, final decisions always rest with the TSA agents on duty. It’s their job to ensure everyone’s safety onboard, so please respect their decisions, even if it means parting with your plastic cutlery until you reach your destination.

Can you bring keychain knives on the plane?

Keychain knives are permitted only in checked baggage; they are not allowed in your carry-on or on your person during a flight.

However, you are allowed to bring keychain metal bottle openers, provided they don’t contain a blade.

Do you need to declare knives in checked luggage?

When flying domestically, there are no specific regulations that require you to declare knives in your checked luggage.

So, no matter the number of knives you’re carrying, it’s not mandatory to declare them when traveling within the U.S.

Related: Can You Bring a Gas Mask on a Plane? 

However, if you’re flying internationally, it’s crucial to note that some countries might require you to declare knives upon arrival.

These regulations can vary significantly, so it’s always recommended to familiarize yourself with the specific customs rules of the destination country before your trip.

Where Can You Purchase Small Knives Previously Confiscated by the TSA?

If you’re interested in acquiring a collection of small knives and multi-tools that have been previously confiscated by TSA agents, a great resource is the website This site hosts auctions for such items directly from the government, often in bulk.

While you can find these items on eBay as well, it’s generally not recommended.

Many of the sellers on eBay are resellers who acquire bulk lots from sites like GovDeals, sift out the most valuable items to sell separately, and then list the remaining items.

As a result, the quality and value of items you might find in such eBay lots could be less than optimal.

In essence, buying directly from GovDeals can potentially give you access to a wider variety and higher quality of confiscated items.

Plus, you might just land an unexpected treasure amidst these lots!

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Sorin Susanu
Sorin, the primary writer for this site, launched it in 2019 as a hobby and a means to refine his English. With a passion for travel ignited by a trip to Italy at age twelve, Sorin has been exploring the world and sharing his adventures ever since.