AmericanAirlines: "knife as checked baggage only."

Oct 9, 1998
Not sure if I brought this to the attention of y'all yet. I received a letter from American Airlines in early September. It displeased me a good deal. Guess who flew TWA instead... with his knife.

August 30, 2000

Mr. Eric S. Chang
PO Box 2073
Champaign, IL 61825-2073

Dear Mr. Chang:

Your inquiry concerning American's policies and procedures for the acceptance and transportation of knives was referred to me for review and response. I welcome the opportunity to address your concerns.

It is our policy to accept any type of knife as checked baggage only. Our procedures are thorough and our personnel are trained to exercise care in handling the belongings of our customers. Baggage related activities are carefully monitored, and we are constantly working to provide error free handling of all checked baggage.

I hope this information will be helpful. Please travel with us soon; it would be our pleasure to welcome you aboard.

Yours truly,
Ms. T. M. Hendricks
Executive Office

Chang and the Rebels of the East
(Southern Taiwan Shall Rise Again!)

[This message has been edited by Comrade Chang (edited 10-31-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Comrade Chang (edited 10-31-2000).]
Comrad Chang,

Please keep in mind that the airline is only one of the players involved. Airport security and customs on international flights will also have a position. I usually make it a practice to put my knives into my checked baggage, it reduces the last minute hassles you can get into. Just make sure the knife is secure for safety.

When possible consider buying the knife locally rather than trying to take one with you. This reduces the risk on one leg of the trip, ensures that you have a knife when you most want it, and gives you yet another reason to buy another knife.

i fly american mostly.....take a small folder with me always....put it in my carry on briefcase...NOT in my pocket...have never been hassled might help that the thing is made out of titanium and talonite, but i doubt they look at it thru the xray thing.....dont take it in you pocket...keep it fairly small/ keep in mind that what they are telling you is company policy...because they must...its like a lot of things in, look friendly...and keep going.

[This message has been edited by tom mayo (edited 10-31-2000).]

I'd be very leary of checking any knives in baggage but then I'm biased. I have had several problems with baggage and knives. I had a knife stolen once that wasnt a great loss as it was a pos. What really makes me very leary is having to check all of my knives in with my baggage. I recently flew to San Antonio Tx with about $3000.00 worth of handmade knives. Imagine my dismay when everyone on the flight got thier luggage but me. I eventually got my baggage and all my stuff was there but it was a very tense few hours. The airline had it delivered to me but I'm looking for other ways to deal with my knives rather than checking them in my baggage.

Arthur D. Washburn
ADW Custom Knives
What Tom Mayo fails to mention is that the folder to which he refers has so many holes drilled in the darn thing that it probably looks like a cheese grater on x-ray!

Both Ti and Talonite (r), BTW, show up nicely on x-ray. The difference is with a metal detector, where Ti will usually pass, but Talonite will not.

Comrade Chang,
It's pretty clear that headquarters doesn't know how the field operates (gee, how unusual). I've flown American several times this year. CF Dragonfly in the change tray never gets a second look; small Centofante in the carry on never gets a first look.


Let no one ever from henceforth say one word in any way countenancing war. It is dangerous even to speak of how here and there the individual may gain some hardship of soul by it. For war is hell, and those who institute it are criminals. Siegfried Loraine Sassoon
I guess. Once, my friend was flying back American Airlines (I think). I was seeing him off and placed my Stryker in the tray (I wasn't boarding a plane, but the guy didn't know that). Guy opened it half way, looked at it for a couple seconds, closed it and handed it back to me. I walked through a metal detector with my Leatherman Micra before as well.

Chang and the Rebels of the East
(Southern Taiwan Shall Rise Again!)
Chang - all airlines say that knives should be checked as weapons (standard procedures), something to do with FAA regulations. I guess what they mean is that they don't want anyone boarding a plane with a Bowie swingin' at their hip or something that size. Of all the times I've flown with a knife, it's a little plain edge folder like CRKT Ti Mirage, Spyderco Calypso Jr, or Benchmade 330. I've never been hassled about a knife, been hassled more for my steel toe Wolverines setting off the detector
And yes, The Vest and all its contents are packed in the check in luggage. I may be crazy to carry al those knives at once, but I ain't stupid

Proud member of AKTI, NCKK, and SCAK

In memory of James K. Mattis
Comrade Chang, Dexter gave you some good advice, when flying carrying something small and inoffensive like a BM330, a Spyderco Dragonfly etc. Leave the 3"+ knives in your luggage. If you really want to be safe, carry an SAK.
What is the best method of transporting approx 15-20 knives across the country for instance on a airplane to a knife show?

Value approx $25,000? Could any knife makers or dealers chime in here as to the best, and safest method of transporting this type of cargo.

If you are going into business I would suggest a blanket insurance policy for your inventory.

Just put the items into your hardsided suitcase, lock it and keep your fingers crossed. About 95% of the time the stuff will get there in fine shape. Of the remainder about 4% will involve luggage bumped off the flight during busy periods, which will arrive safely at your location within 24 hours (make some noise on this and the airline will do something to make it up to you for the hassle). Unfortunaely, **** happens sometimes and thats where the insurance comes in - its all part of doing business.

Being an employee of an airline, other issues are raised in the issue of "weapons." Mind you I travel extensivley throughout the United States and the Islands, and kind of like the American Express card, my Delica or Standard go with me everywhere. I will check into this with the "Executive Office" as I do not recall this individuals name. The security checkpoint personnel usally check for a blade length of less than 4 inches, however, anything can be confiscated at the discretion of the Security Checkpoint Supv.

I will let you know what I find out.

I profess ignorance. What is a "CF Dragonfly?" I know Spyderco makes one. But what does "CF" stand for?

For that matter, what's a "SOCOM?"

These acronyms are killing me. Oh well, I have some learning to do.

By the way, I carry a Swiss Army knife in my pocket, but I put ALL metal objects on my person in my carryon (including my Leatherman PST), and send it through the X-ray machine.

Afterward, I take them out of my carryon and put them back in my pockets. The PST stays in my carryon until I'm done with airports. Then it goes back on my belt where it belongs.

Sorry, just answered my own question. CF stands for "carbon fiber." I'm a relative newcomer to bladeforums, can't you tell?

Now I'm off to find out what a SOCOM is.

Hey does anyone know about this LEAD BAGS to protect your film from x-rays. would it be visible through the x-ray machine or would it be seen as black. I haven't had the guts to try.

I always carry a delica and a sak on planes. then I keep my serious stuff in my checked luggage. it isn't worth the hassle.

soon I will be traveling overseas and I want to bring my civilian we'll see if that LEAD BAG works.

will add this.....last year I was in Nashville waiting for my uncle (my brother and parents live there) and stayed outside the beeper cause I have three fair sized folders on my person....I asked the guard about the plane arrival and he said I should go to the gate....I explained my situation and he asked if any had serrations....when I said no he told me that is all they are concerned about.....interesting to say the least.
chrisaloia wrote:

Hey does anyone know about this LEAD BAGS to protect your film from x-rays. would it be visible through the x-ray machine or would it be seen as black. I haven't had the guts to try.

Oh no, don't use lead bags. I use one for my camera and film when travelling and it shows up as a big black mass on the x-ray. Security then has to pull me aside and open up the lead bag to view the contents inside. So if you stuff a SOCOM or a Sifu in there and they pull you aside to look in the bag, you're a goner

Hope this helps.

Proud member of AKTI, NCCKG, NCKK, and SCAK

In memory of James K. Mattis
Thanks Dex

I am glad I asked. think about me in the thailand airport pulling out a civilian infront of the customs agents.

I just wish people assume we were terrorists cause we carrying a knife. Is it that much to ask.

A airline pilot told me that on his way to fly the plain, he was going through the gate and he had a small fixed blade hunting type knife. The guard starting giving him all this BS. He said you trust me with a millon dollar aircraft full with passengers and not this knife I could crash the whole plane if I wanted to. I think he got on with it.