Some Carry-On Pocketknives Will Be Allowed

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TSA Knives Allowed

Update: Click here to download the official PDF from the TSA outlining approved knives.

For the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, passengers on U.S. airline flights will be allowed to have some small carry-on pocketknives by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The change reportedly will go into effect April 25.

Knives with “retractable blades” under 2.36 inches and narrower than 1/2 inch at the widest point will be allowed, TSA Administrator John Pistole said. However, some knives will remain prohibited, including those with “locking blades” and/or molded handles. Exactly what “molded handles” pertained to in terms of knives is unclear at this time, though handles with finger grooves and otherwise contoured for an enhanced grip appear to be targeted. Box cutters and razor blades will continue to be banned.


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As a result of the knives that remain prohibited, it appears that “small pocketknives” would be those within the aforementioned blade and lock constraints with uncontoured handles such as traditional Swiss Army knives, keychain knives, utility/scout pocketknives with can openers, screwdriver blades, etc., and “champagne patterns”—wine/bottle-opening knives with corkscrews. However, it is difficult to find a utility/scout pocketknife with a blade that is less than 2.36 inches long and 1/2-inch wide. As a result, it would appear that only such knives as the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic and other similar pieces will pass muster.

Meanwhile, overseas passengers will not have to check their applicable knives when traveling through the USA.

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