Travel Knife

May 20, 1999

I am looking for a small knife to carry when I travel through airports and different cities. I like the MOD Hornet. How is this knife and can anyone recommend anything else good in that price range.


Shane, how many times do people need to say this? Do not try to carry a knife through an airport. It just is not worth the hassle. If you want your knife at the destination, put it in your check-through luggage and take it out when you get your bags. What would you need it on an airplane for? You would not be able to use it against a hijacker or other terrorist, and the best outcome you can hope for is to have it shipped with the aircrew. This happened to me in 1980 and it was an awful hassle. More likely, you will lose the knife and, if you run into a real pi--er of an airport cop, you may even be arrested.

Walk in the Light,
O.K. Forget the airport scenario. Should I get the Hornet, Mini-AFCK, or Spyderco Calypso Jr.

I travel ALOT and have never had a problem at an airport. I always carry one of three knives when traveling: a serrated Spyderco Delica, a partially serrated full-size Microtech SOCOM, or a partially serrated full-size Benchmade Stryker. I just slip the knife in a zippered compartment of my laptop bag and send it through the x-ray machine. I'm often asked to take my laptop out and turn it on but never have been questioned about the knife. In fact, I doubt if they even notice it. Just last week I was in Philadelphia International Airport, Pittsburgh International, Michiana Airport (Indiana) and O'Hare Airport (Chicago). I had my Stryker with me last week. Maybe I'm just lucky?

P.S. Once I get my BladeForums Spyderco Blue Native that will become my new travel knife (for a couple of weeks anyway).

[This message has been edited by Art M (edited 25 May 1999).]
I ALWAYS take at least one knife with me onto the plane and have NEVER had a problem. I use the same "put it in the bag to be x-rayed" trick that Art M uses. Once I'm through the x-ray machine, I take it out of the bag and put it back in my pocket. Usually, I'll take a Spyderco Delica, Gerber LST, and/or a Swiss Army Knife.

For what purpose do you put your knives? I would personally recommend the Calypso Jr., as I've had nothing but positive experiences with it. It isn't a real heavy-duty knife, but for light to medium-hard cutting, it can't really be beat.
My personal airline travel knife is the SAK Tinker. It hasn't gotten a second look yet, and if it IS confiscated it won't ruin my whole trip...easy and cheap to replace. I'd rather also carry a Spyderco Dragonfly, but again i worry about confiscation, and even that little knife would piss me off to lose.
BTW, in the Victorinox website there is a story about a child on a flight who was choking, and a doctor happened to be on board. He began yelling for a knife, and luckily another passenger had a SAK, which the doctor used to cut an airway and saved the kid's life.
I say take a Buck, if you have to lose a knife, lose one you won't miss.

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!

So what you are telling Shane is that he should carry a knife into an airport, but be prepared for a hassle? That simply does not make sense to me. I can see no use for a knife on an airplane that requires the risk. I will add that, if you read the other threads in this area, that seems to be the general conclusion.

Walk in the Light,
Hello Hugh,

I carry a knife because there are things that I expect to cut each day. I also carry one to cut the unexpected things. Sometimes it's the unexpected things that are the most important, a seatbelt, a bandage, a piece of clothing caught in machinery. You get the idea. I want a knife with me when I fly and it's worth a little extra thought or planning on my part to do so. I don't think that is unreasonable.

My AFCK mini has only been turned away once. The guard found the combo blade "menacing."
A lot of people go on and on about how FAA rules allow folding knives up to four inches and about how California courts have found that serrations alone do not make a knife menacing. But, the FAA rules basically allow a guard to disallow anything or anyone he wants to. If the guard doesn't like the color of your knife, it's outta there. If he doesn't like the look in our eyes, you're outta there.

When my AFCK mini was turned away, I simply walked back to the ticket counter, handed the knife and my tickets to the clerk and he checked it through. I claimed it with my baggage just fine. They have boxes just to take stuff that security turns away.

On my last trip, I took my Rekat Escalator from Portland, OR, to Dayton, OH, via St. Louis, MO, and then back. No problems. I just dropped the knife into a change tray along with my Leatherman PST, my watch, keys, and any change, etc. and handed it to the nice guard as I went through. I collected it all up on the other side each time without comment.

My secret is this: realize that the guards are profiling big time. They see each passenger for a matter of a few seconds. They necessarily judge each book by its cover. So, first, dress well. If you come through in army boots, camo cargo pants, and a black tee shirt that says, "I don't use 911, I use 9mm," (actual shirt seen on a person who was being all but strip-searched by airport security) don't be surprised if they take a dim view of you and your weapon. Nice looking shoes, slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie are the way to get through. Second, smile. And, finally, be polite. Make a point of allowing the lady in line behind you go ahead. Act like a gentleman and suddenly any tactical folder you may have becomes a little gentleman's pocket knife. If they're judging my book by its cover, then I'm gonna wrap myself and my knife up in the nicest cover I can.

If you are asked about your knife, answer politely and with a smile. Open the knife slowly and with both hands. Don't open it far enough to lock. If asked why you're carrying it, say something like, "Oh, it was a gift from my late wife and I always have it with me. I keep my nails trimmed. I have terrible calluses on my hands that I need to keep trimmed. And, God forbid, there should be a plane crash, well, I might need to cut my neighbor's seat belt to help him get out."

Whatever you do, don't make a public scene. The guard's motivation here is security -- not your security, but his own job security. Security guard at an airport is a good job. It's indoors, there's no hard labor or heavy lifting, and it doesn't involve raw sewage as so many of the other jobs people of this education level qualify for do. The biggest threat to the guard's job is obviously letting a weapon through, but
when was the last time a plane departing the US was hijacked? No, the bigger threat is members of the public complaining about him. So, start by politely addressing the guard by name. It's on his badge. Say, "Good afternoon Jose. Is there a problem?" The is subtle, but, in a very non-threatening way, it says, "I know your name." It's one thing, though, for Jose's boss to call him in and say, "Jose, I just got a letter from a passenger who came through here last Wednesday. He's complaining about you and says you refused to allow his little pocket knife through and that you were rude to him and that he almost missed his flight because of you." Jose will say, "Last Wednesday? A knife? Oh yes! I remember. That was no little knife. It was this big [hands held up a foot apart] and it must have been some sort of switch blade because the blade just jumped out of the handle right under my nose. Scared me to death. And that guy -- he was a strange guy. There was something about him that made me really nervous. I just really didn't think it was safe to let him carry that big knife on a plane." The boss's response: "Good job Jose. We can't have crazy people carrying huge switchblades on airplanes. Well done." Jose dodged that bullet.

But what if you made a big stink in public and Jose let you and your knife through. Now, the boss is going to get a dozen letters reporting that Jose let a mad man with a huge switchblade through just because the man intimidated him, and they didn't feel comfortable and safe on their flight as a result.

The guards are supposed to error on the side of safety. So, if you make a big stink, you put the guard in a no-win situation. If he turns you away, you complain. If he lets you through, everyone else complains. The lesser of the evils is to turn you away. So, don't put the guard in that position.

Finally, be prepared to take the knife back and check it through if necessary. This just means allowing some extra time.


That is precisely why I recommend the Buck.
Nothing wrong with carrying a small(<3") blade on a plane.
If they hassle you and confiscate it, hey no big loss, it's only a Buck. Besides, you never know when it will come in handy.
Tis better to have and not need, than to need and not have....

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!

I guess that I was just traumatized by the Chicago cop, not a rent-a-cop, but a real one, who threatened to arrest me because I had a Gerber Folding Hunter with a Flickit on it. Here I was, standing at the gate at O'Hare with a knife that was purely legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia and that the FAA police at Washington National had allowed on the plane and with my six year old son, and some over officious idiot cop decides to roust me about the knife. Fortunately, a member of the aircrew came by and took it in a box for me. I do not wish to ever have that repeated!

Walk in the Light,
To get back to your repeated original question, yes the MOD Hornet is a fine knife for general utility and and can be used for SD. Fit and finish are excellent, blade steel is 154CM, and has look and feel of a Microtech. I'd recommend plain edge for going through airports. I like to put a knife in my video carrying case because they'll focus on the camera every time. Shaving case is another place where knife gets lost. I've never had a problem getting a plain edge Spyderco Delica through Airport Security - plain edge Hornet shoudn't be a problem. Another solution is to carry SASE with you, and if you don't pass Security with knife , mail it to yourself. Hope this helps.

How about a Lakota teal. They're great little folders.
I've got a Jet Stone and Stainless steel. The knives are acutally made by Moki.
It's excellent.