Small Knives on Planes: Your Guide to What You Can Carry On

Like many women, I carry a pocketknife in my purse that faithfully serves me in many situations — from snipping tags off new clothes to repairing a broken nail to opening a bottle of wine.

Nothing annoys me more than when I reach into my purse for my trusty tool and realize it’s not there. Why isn’t it there? Because I’ve been taken a short trip on a plane. And I haven’t been able to carry it on with all my other necessities.

That’s about to change. The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that we will be able to have our “small knives” in our carry-ons when we take plane trips beginning April 25, 2013.

“Small knives with non-locking blades smaller than 2.36 inches and less than 1/2 inch in width will be permitted,” the TSA has said.

Photo: TSA

You may not carry on a small blade if it is fixed or lock, or if the handle has a molded grip. And you certainly may not carry on a knife with a large blade.

The TSA hopes that the new rule will shorten security screening lines at airports. At a typical airport during a typical month, workers confiscate 850 pounds of prohibited carry-on items from passengers, and knives typically account for half of that weight, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The new rule will also allow people to carry on items like lacrosse sticks, “novelty bats,” and a maximum of two golf clubs. Supporters of the new rule says it makes sense. Because of locked cockpits, a bad guy can no more hijack a plane with a pocket knife than he can with a paperweight or some knitting needles, this Wall Street Journal editorial points out.

Other folks aren’t so happy about the idea that some people will be carrying on small blades, including flight attendants who must contend with unruly and sometimes violent passengers.

What do you think, Knives Illustrated readers: Do you agree with the TSA’s new rule or not? We welcome your comments.

—Erin Masercola