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Knives and Airports

I've never quite understood security's buzz with taking knives on board . . . inside the cabin of every aircraft is one or more really good axes on display (for emergency escape use)!

Beats the hell out of any knife when it comes to doing some real damage inside the plane . . .

Regards, HILTON
I think Chuck said it perfectly. I recently had to pay the local IRS office a visit, in the federal court building here. I wasn't really thinking when I left the house, because I had my BM975 in my pocket. I put in in the change tray when I went through the metal detector. The guard saw it, took a look at, told me it looked like a good, sturdy knife, and let me go on.

Just goes to show, there are some sane people around.

Knowledge without understanding is knowledge wasted.
Understanding without knowledge is a rare gift - but not an impossibility.
For the impossible is always possible through faith. - Bathroom graffiti, gas station, Grey, TN, Dec, 1988

The official rules, as I've understood them, are no folders over 4 inches, and no fixed blades, and no switchblades, and nothing that is "menacing." That's how we get diverse experiences here.

From Misoula, Montana, I was told my fully serrated Endura was OK, but my home-made 2-1/2" fixed blade "bird and trout" knife had to travel in checked baggage.

But I am amazed by one story above . . .

A concealed Benchmade Nimravus (a 4-1/2" black fixed blade for the uninitiated) at the Los Angeles, California, International Airport?!?!?!? And the guard suffered a broken bone in the incident?!?!? Sheesh!!! And the gentleman is not doing time, or out on bail pending appeal? If not, it must be because whoever was the highest ranking authority figure at the scene was uncommonly enlightened on the keeping and bearing of arms.

Any fixed blade, carried discretely, is a "concealed dirk or dagger" in California. Misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. I've done lawyer referral for guys who had fixed blades under much less suspicious circumstances. Like a utility knife with traces of packing tape on it, carried by a guy who cuts boxes at work, when pulled over by an LA County Sherrif for a broken tail light. Like a fancy custom boot knife openly carried by a guy in full cowboy regalia when he picked up his wife at the curb outside Hollywood-Burbank airport. Both cases were eventually dismissed, but their days were ruined.

AKTI Member # SA00001
This topic comes up periodically and it should. Each new thread is only a "snapshot in time." Since we continue to travel and regulations continue to tighten up, we need to address this issue about avery two to three weeks. Keep'em coming!

Bruce Woodbury
Living in the metro Detroit area, I've flown through Detroit quite a few times. Unlike chizpuf, however, I haven't had a security problem having to do with any knife. Of course, I'm usually carrying my small Sebenza as a money clip, or a Calypso Jr. with micarta slabs, neither serrated, so it must look more innocent. I also try to do the "clean cut, nicely dressed, polite young gentleman" thing, no "kill `em all, let God sort `em out" T-shirts. Of course I also have the old self-addressed stamped padded envelope standing by.

One friend was hassled once about his plain-edged Delica, and "confiscation" was mentioned. He politely asked the security guard, "Excuse me, but what are you charging me with?" "No, we're not charging you with anything, but the knife has to be confiscated." "I'm sorry, but you can confiscate my knife as evidence, but only if you charge me, and how can I be charged with carrying a perfectly legal pocketknife that also complies with FAA regulations? That's false arrest, sir." This was met with a blank stare. Then my friend offered, "If there's a problem that we need to discuss with your supervisor, I'll be glad to meet with him, or would you rather I send my pocketknife home or check my baggage?" Mr. Omnipotent Security God backed down, and allowed the knife to go through with checked baggage. A couple things I learned from his encounter:
- Always be polite with security, be disarming, smile and say hello, and at least appear to want to cooperate withsecurity's efforts to make the world safe for all of us. "Hi, if I can have the basket, please, I have some keys and stuff in my pocket I'd like to check through."
- Security guards many times have no grasp of the real laws that governs pocketknives. While my friend wasn't sure of security's authority to confiscate his knife, he also felt that security had no right or authority to do so, and he politely explained why he felt that way. YMMV with this approach, but remaining civil, polite, and allowing security to save face by not letting a "deadly weapon" through their checkpoint can make or break such an encounter.
- Always refer to your pocketknife as exactly that. Sheeple tend to equate the term "knife" with weapons and evil from watching too much TV. "Pocketknife" is a more innocent sounding term to many.
- Allow yourself plenty of time. I know, I know, many of us are pressed for time, but is an extra ten or twenty minutes worth it for some of us to not lose our pride and joys? Is the price of my Sebenza worth an extra half hour if I have to go back through, stand in line, and check my carry-on? Absolutely. Even the principle of not letting security get away with "acquiring" another knife for their collection drawer at home is worth it to me.

Be smart, be prepared, be polite, be conservative in your choice of "flying partners", and simply hope for the best, that's all we can do.

Don LeHue

The pen is mightier than the sword...outside of arm's reach. Modify radius accordingly for rifle.

Then again, I was assaulted by airport security (hint for all of you rent-a-cops here, don't ever, ever try and put someone in a submission hold without first asking for cooperation/identifying yourself. Just ask the guy at LAX with the broken clavicle ) in Los Angeles, for walking through the Terminal Area' with same Nimravus in the waistband of my three piece suit. I guess I didn't really meet the concealed requirement of concealed carry that morning .

Sorry SS I must flame you. I highly doubt this claim and if your were just BSing you didn't indicate it good enough. One of the things Screeners (airport rent-a-cop) are taught is to avoid physical confrontations. Self defense is OK but physically restraining anybody is a strict no-no for any reason. That is for the LEO's (real police) to do if warranted.

I've never quite understood security's buzz with taking knives on board . . . inside the cabin of every aircraft is one or more really good axes on display (for emergency escape use)!

Yes there are several axes and hatchets on board and a Pilot pointed it out to me when I stopped his Ulu Knife. But they are supposed to be in semi-restricted areas for the flight crew. Sure anyone can push their way into the cockpit or galley to take it but it is far better to be there if the plane crashes.

The official rules, as I've understood them, are no folders over 4 inches, and no fixed blades, and no switchblades, and nothing that is "menacing." That's how we get diverse experiences here.

I couldn't have said it better. My only beef with the FAA/RAA and the airlines on knives is that they don't single out fixed blades as a restricted item in their posted carry-on rules.

FAA/RAA sets the rules for carry-on items. These are a set of minimum rules that the airlines must follow. The airlines may then add their own restrictions on top of that i.e. no serrated blades. The airline with the most gates on a concourse is the one that is responsible for security and therefore the one that sets the rules for that concourse.

Screeners are not direct employees of the FAA but of the airline in charge of security. The problems of screeners not knowing the rules is do to high turnover and a supervisor overloaded with training too many new employees. The turnover is due to not enough pay for the crap they put up with on an hourly basis. We love passengers who graciously question the rules AND comply when they find them out. We hate the a$$hole/b*tch who demands their rights and expects special priviledges and causes a scene when they don't get the latter and don't understand the former.

A couple of common misconceptions is that a screener can confiscate items and then 'pocket' them. Nothing can be confisicated by screeners at all. All they can do is stop it from entering the secure area. If there is something left at the security point it is turned into the supervisor who then turns it over to the LEOs, airline, security manager. Whichever is deemed most appropriate. I blame screeners saying the word 'confiscate' on poor training and the ambiguities of FAA. If it is not an illegal item you should be able to pick it up when leaving the secure area. I've seen a lot of neat stuff that I would like to have 'pocketed' but being a good employee I turned them into my manager. (One guy left his wallet with over $2000.00 cash in it!!! And flew to his destination none the wiser!!!)

Your personality (demeanor, appearance) and the screeners personality has nothing to do with restricted items. It will difinately make things go smoother but a nice, well groomed person is subject to the sames rules as a crotchety, desheveled person.

David Williams
Former rent-a-cop and supervisor

"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"
-Nordic proverb

I flew from Cleveland Airport to the New Orleans Airport last week for the Knifemakers Guild Show.I had a Toollogic in my wallet with a serrated blade.I also had a plain edge Delica as a money clip and a Comtech "Stinger" keychain with my luggage keys attached.The metal detector "beeped" and I had to walk back through.I actually handed these items to the security guard and walked back through the detector.He handed them back and I boarded the plane.I also had a self addressed stamped envelope in my carryon bag in case of a problem.
I have a written response from the FAA Security Manager at Denver International. He only asked that I not post the answer publically, but could do so in private email. If anyone is interested, please let me know.
Wow, I traveled quite a bit by airline this year, and had my "Q" clipped to the back of my baseball cap the whole time..... it was never even questioned.......I even walked right on a cruise ship the same way with no problem. And believe me, I stand out in airports!


Clay G.

Your looking a little small Clay
You need to take some creatine, andro and eat lots of protien and lift heavy

Who would want to give you any problems?

"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"
-Nordic proverb

Here's a funny one, I walked past the security check at an airport to watch somebody off, that's before they know who has tickets and is actually flying. I walked past right behind a big guy. They stopped him and took his knife, and a short fat lady patted her fingers all over the blade. I just kept on walking, hehe. And I had my BM 710sbt Axis. No way am I going to let anyone put fingerprints on the blade for no good reason!

"All of our knives open with one hand, in case you're busy with the other"