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Does anyone have a definative answer on what is allowable in terms of small/medium folders for air travel? I'm getting ready to visit Cozumel and am wondering if I'll get popped for taking a BM812 - blade is 31/4"M2.Thanks
The short answer is No. no one has a definitive answer. FAA rules in the U.S. state that Folder under 4" is legal, however, individual airlines, airports, and local jurisdictions are fee to make up more restrictive policies. Airport security officers who may or may not know the FAA rules, or any or all of the other rules are pretty much free to interpret any of the rules as they see fit, or to just make them up as they go.
Many here will tell you that serrated blades are out, although I have never had a problem within continental US with them.
Outside U.S. different laws apply. Mexico has in theory fairly restrictive laws, although I have heard people say that they have carried fairly large folders (AFCK) into, and out of Mexico with out problem.
You will reduce your chances of problems if you pack the knife in your checked luggage rather than carrying on your person.
There is also something about "non-menacing" apperance of a knife. This gives security people lots of margin... Pretty much small non-serrated blades (BM705, CRKT small Apache, small Sebbie, etc.) should be no problem. I've been taking a small blade (recently small Sebbie) throught the airport security all the time. I just put it in the basket and go through. Sometimes they open it and measure the blade. All these blades that I mentioned are below 3" so there is a lot of margin to the "legal" 4" independly of the method security people use to measure.
If you have doubts and a little more time go to the security guy and ask (I've done that too
I'd DEFINITELY recommend NOT trying to sneak your knife in a carry on luggage.
In case of any doubts and no extra time, as Mike before me said, just pack your blade in checked luggage.
one of my many summer jobs was airport security guard. the regs are not to let anyting more than 4 inches or anything threatening on to the plane. this leaves a lot to interpretation. so to may depend on who is working the gate. usually serrated knives are bad, but it depends on who you get.
Gotta agree w/ NMH -- there is no definitive answer to your questions. No matter what the written rules read, you will be at the mercy of a barely educated non-professional interpreting the rules as he/she sees fit.
If you have to have a knife on your person, then take a small, non-threatening knife like a SAK, or small Buck. Keep the big blades in the checked baggage.