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Can a Pocket Knife Go in Checked Luggage?

Can a Pocket Knife Go in Checked Luggage?

We all have or know someone who has accidentally brought something to the carry-on line at the airport, that ended up getting confiscated or thrown away. Everything from water to large shampoo bottles have fallen victim confiscation. However, there are more expensive things which have been taken away-such as pocketknives. Those who want to have their pocketknife once they get to their destination may wonder if it can go in their checked luggage.

According to the TSA guidelines, a pocketknife can go into checked luggage. However, it must be sheathed so that there are no accidental injuries to TSA agents who may check the luggage before it is put on the plane.

There are several other things you might want to take into consideration before checking your knife-whether you need to declare it when checking, whether you should ship it to your destination instead of checking it, and whether it is legal to carry it at your destination. Read on to find out more.

Do I Need to Declare My Pocketknife?

If you are carrying a firearm to your destination and putting it in your checked luggage, you are required to declare it, or inform the airline that it is in your luggage. As of right now, the same is not required of any kind of knife including pocketknives as long as you are traveling within the US. Just make sure it is safely sheathed to prevent any potential injuries, and you should be good to go.

However, especially if you are traveling internationally or even if you are still traveling within the US and keeping the knife in checked luggage, many people advise that you declare it anyway. The reason being that some TSA agents may not be up to date on the rules and will remove the knife or not check your luggage at all. Better to be safe, go ahead and declare it and avoid the potential hassle.

Laws concerning weapons vary widely from country to country or even from state to state. Before you check and declare your knife, make sure you read any applicable laws about knife carrying at your destination. You don’t want to get there, have gone through all the trouble of having checked and declared it only to not be able to carry it, after all.

Knife laws for each individual state can be found here. Knife laws for the UK, Australia and Canada can be found here, here, and here, respectively.

Should I Ship My Pocketknife?

Sometimes travel can be unpredictable. Luggage gets delayed or lost or sent to the wrong destination. Maybe you are not going to be somewhere long enough to warrant having check luggage at all. For such situations, it may be worth considering whether to ship your knife to your destination instead of checking it.

You may be thinking that shipping is expensive and wonder why you’d want to do that when you can just bring it with you and have it quickly accessible. However, if you consider the fact that many airlines now charge an extra $20-30 for checked luggage, then it may be less expensive it to ship it. Plus, you don’t have to worry about it getting lost or stolen.

*For guidelines and more detailed instructions, check out Shipping Easy.

Some Things to Keep in Mind for Checking a Pocket Knife

If you are not comfortable with the idea of shipping your pocketknife, but want to make sure that your knife stays in your luggage and arrives at your destination, then here are some tips to follow:

  • Tie it to your suitcase. If your knife has a hole built into it you can weave a string, or wire through the hole and tie it to the suitcase. This might make it more trouble than it’s worth to remove.
  • Keep it stored in a bag with dirty underwear or socks. Potential thieves won’t want to go digging through that!

Final Thoughts

According to TSA rules, you are not allowed to bring your pocketknife (or any other knife) in your carry-on. However, you are legally allowed to put it in your checked luggage as long as its properly sheathed. If you decided to check it, make sure you look into the following: the laws about carrying pocketknives are your destination, whether you should declare it, and whether you should forego checking it and it just ship it to your destination.

If you do decide to check the knife but are worried about it getting lost or stolen, you can implement some preventative measures, such as storing it in a bag with dirty laundry or tying it with wire to the side of the suitcase, making it troublesome to remove.