Traveling to Europe with 2.9 inch blade; checked luggage or carry-on?


Gold Member
Apr 6, 1999
I'm heading to Europe this weekend and want to enlist everyone's wisdom on whether or not I should pack my little partially serrated mini-Axis in my checked luggage or in my carry-on. My feeling is that ultimately it is at the discretion of airline security as well as customs to decide if the knife is "dangerous;" it is also my feeling that I worked hard enough to get that little limited production gem that it's not worth taking the chance tossing it in my carry-on. Don't get me wrong, it's going either way. It's not mandatory that it be with me for the eight-hour flight, but I was just thinking about skyjackers and all (Easy, easy, note the sarcasm... and no offense intended toward skyjackers). Thanks in advance for your responses as it's down to the wire now.

For the outbound flight, I don't know, but for the return flight from Europe I have an idea since I've been flying around european airports a lot.
You didn't tell us where exactly are you heading to.
As a general guide, England and Germany are the most strict, they wouldn't let you carry it on you. On the other hand, they are very careful with your own rights, so they wouldn't confiscate the knife, they would just make you check it with your luggage.
Unless its actually an extremely valuable item (in which case there are more secure ways for it to travel than in checked luggage), I've never understood why anyone would want to risk carrying a knife through airport security if they had even a suspicion that it might be inappropriate to do so. It's only a few hours, the peanuts aren't THAT hard to open, and if you're a person who could stop a skyjacking with an a small folder, I'm sure you'd have no trouble using a pen instead.

That said, I had no trouble carrying my Pro-Grip to and from Bermuda. Maybe their security is really laid back, but they didn't seem to care, even though its partially serrated. At the time, I had literally no thought that it might be inappropriate, so I brought it; now that I've read the airport security stories on this forum, I would never attempt such a feat again, though. I probably wouldn't even bring my Leatherman Wave.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I'd have to agree. I think I'll stick it in my checked luggage and just pack my favorite ball point instead. Thanks fellows.

One of the few ways you can suddenly end up in a survival situation is a plane crash. I would never go on a plane without a knife, if only for utilitarian purposes. I've always carried a Swiss Army Knife and had problems only once in 35 years. Hey, it's neutral, it's Swiss. For at least 5 years I've carried a 3.25" lock-bladed Adventurer model without problems. I always carry a pile of keys (with a Swiss-Tech tool on the keyring), pocket change, and a lighter (survival gear)along with my SAK. I pile all this stuff in the little plastic tub that the guard hands you at the metal detector. They never seem to worry about the red plastic of the SAK. If my pockets are overfilled I sometimes put the SAK in my hand luggage. I just turn it so that it shows up edge-on in the xray machine. My briefcase has enough metal and pens in it that the knife is insignificant. They're really looking for guns and bombs.
I travelled between Newark and LAX last summer
with a serrated Delica and a multi-tool in a carry-on
backpack, and nobody said boo. But just last week, I
bought a cheap knife with a plain edge for just such
occasions, so I can carry on my person.

[This message has been edited by RH (edited 19 May 1999).]
I always check big knives in my luggage, and carry only small, non-serrated knives on my person when traveling by air. I generally don't travel with anything especially valuable, but if I'm worried about the prospect of confiscation I'll bring a pre-stamped padded mailing envelope, addressed to myself, and if there's a problem I can simply mail the knife home to myself. Of course, I'll have an extra blade in my carry on bag, in addition to whatever is in my checked luggage. If they won't let me carry the knife on board, I'm certainly not going to let them keep it. (I'd put it in the garbage before I'd surrender it to a security guard.)

David Rock
Take a look at my topic: Can I carry on a commercial aircraft? posted in the Tactical Forum. It was last updated April 14, but there's 37 replies and a lot of good information about traveling with a knife.

Since you are going to Europe, my advice would be to leave your knife at home. Overseas laws concerning knives are very different from ours in the US. If you're traveling to Asia, consider the knife you carry a donation.

If you are coming to the UK I would put the knife in your checked luggage on the way out.

As I have said several times on this forum my Spyderco Carbon Fibre hanbled Dragonfly was taken at Gatwick (thay said no locking blades on the aircraft as hand liggage no matter how small - although my Dragonfly was described as evil looking LOL )

Ithen never got it back at the other end and you have to sign a discalimer to say that you have no comeback on them.

I have carried locking folders on aircraft from the UK before with very little or no trouble but I wont risk it again (you should have heard the grief got from my wife about how embarasing it was for her)

I always have my Micra on my keyring to deal with the pesky peanuts - on that point we got silly little biscuits on that flight instead- what is the world coming to

Harvey Wareham

Live Long & Prosper, so you can buy more knives :)

Some words of advice:
Avoid the rent-a-cops in Atlanta IAP.

Just a number of problems with explaining English every time I pass thru the security gates. Seems to be only the Delta terminals have this problem, though.

As for travelling with a blade, I've flown to Frankfurt (American Airlines) numerous times with my BM Sentinel. Only once did Lufthansa ask for me to check it thru to Riyadh. As for TWA, no problems. Air France didn't complain or fuss either when I went thru DeGaulle.

Whoever said you can't buy happiness, doesn't know where to shop.
I travelled a few times between US and Europe always with my Wenger Ranger knife WR0062 in my camera bag. No problem. Last time I had Kershaw Ti ATS 34 with 50/50 blade - no problem at all. But be careful in UK. My students were arrested in London for using a kitchen knive (about 8 cm long) while cleaning fruits on farmers market.
Knife laws vary largely between different European countries (like gun laws also). As far as I know there is no Directive (minimum standards for national laws) from the European Union to the member countries on knives like there is on guns. In Finland carrying a knife of any type or length in a public place without acceptable reason is prohibited (but if catched, you normally just get fined). Self-defence is not an acceptable reason, the need of a knife in work is. Specially prohibited are daggers, stilettos and bayonets etc., as well as some other items like knuckle irons and spring batons etc. Over here they surely confiscate your knife if you try to take it to an aeroplane in your person, and you might be fined also. Put it in the checked luggage instead. You don't need a knife in the plane. If the worst happened, and that is statistically about zero chance (planes don't get hijacked in Finland) a SMG might help, but trying to use a small knife against a bunch of terrorists in a plane would get you and possibly many other passengers killed. Ossi
Hi All,
Sometimes the gate rent-a-cop just wants a new knife, that's why I always travel with a cheapo on to the bird.
The last time I had trouble was at LAX. I asked for my knife back to take off the keys and when I got the knife back, I opened it up , stuck the blade in a crack and snapped it off. When I handed the pieces to the rent-a-cop, he was verrry unhappy.
Returning from Paris two weeks ago after visiting with Nemo and Fred Perrin, I was specifically asked if I was carrying anything "sharp" before checking my bags.

I had already secured all of my knives (those I bought there and those I had brought in) in checked baggage on the advice of JM (Nemo) and Fred.

I left my SwissTech Utili-key on my keyring without incident though.


Live Free or Die

I'll just second the majority of opinions here. SAK in your pocket and sub 3" folder in your checked luggage. It is just not worth the potential aggravation (and possible legal problems) of trying to get a 'tactical' folder past airline security. Especially when you weigh the odds of actually needing a tactical folder on a plane. The SAK (or similiar knife or multi-tool) will handle everything you will possibly need a knife for, until you can retrieve your other knife from your luggage.

"Walk softly and carry a big folder... and a small folder... and a SAK... and a multi-tool..."
Thanks for the responses. Again, I've decided to just pack it in my checked luggage. I considered the advice not to take it at all, but then I decided that the little thing has such good kharma attached to it that I'd want it on the plane somewhere to help alleviate my fear of flying. Thanks again, and I'll talk to everyone in two weeks.