Traveling with knives...


Aug 11, 1999
Hello! I'm flying next month, and I don't want to be without some sort of knife. I have a Ladybug on my keychain, but I want to take my Woo...

if I pack it in my carry on bag, will it set off the detectors? I can't check in any baggage at all, so I need a knife that will make it through the security checkpoint. The knife has to be at least 3 inches long, so either the Woo or CS Voyager.

Help me people!!
Also...what about titanium knives? Do they set off the detectors? I'm thinking about Livesay's Titanium Tiger neck knife....

or how about the plastic knives? CS's Delta Dart or Newt's NRG? And, how serious is it to get busted with one of these knives on you? I REALLY don't want to be without a knife...
Titanium may or may not set off the detector( so I have been told)
Your carry on baggage wil be xrayed and a knife spotted. They would not be pleased.
If you must I would suggest a carrying a ceramic, or plastic blade. Obsidian will also make it through. You will have to carry it concealed on your person.
In the last few months I've traveled on a few domestic flights while carrying a Ken Onion Random Task as well as a Leatherman WAVE.

When I removed the RT, I SLOWLY opened the blade to show it to security. (I didn't want the thing flipping open in their hand!)

The WAVE was never inspected, even though it has two blades.
I have travel to other country by submitting the knife to the flight attendent. They will keep the knife for you until the destination reached and you'll have to pick it up at the customs check point. Not to worry about the customs, you'll have a form to fill up as a prove that your knife had been given for safe keeping. I'm not sure about U.S local flights as laws very from state to state.
Hope this helps!
MrG - check out Mad Dog's Mirage-X or Frequent Flyer, though you may need a CCW to purchase one commercially. They're ceramic, if memory serves (the Mirage has metallic rivets, I believe, and it might be tough to conceal).

Titanium would probably set off the detector, just like your pocket change does.

keninshiro's idea is perhaps the best, a call to the airline might smooth the way for arranging transit for your blade. You get nailed at the detector... well, I expect you'll miss your flight, your knife, and some bail money
Good luck!


Take care,


Been there, Done that, Got the T-shirt...
Travel with pocket sized folder in Domestic US, as long as blade is 4" or less FAA says okay, but no serrations allowed. No fixed blades either. If you cannot take the blade on flight, you can (and I have) check the knife itself in a small box the airline wil give out for this purpose at check-in. Blade length acceptability is determined by security personnel, ask for the supervisor before getting in line for the metal detector and ask him or her if your knife is okay, if not, check the knife at front counter. Also, look like a yuppie if possible, it helps a lot.

Do not get caught bringing a non-mag piece on the plane.
Titanium of any size will set off the detector. My Spyderco Mini Police Necklace
doesnt set it off, but my watch or leg will
set it off.

AKTI #A000011
I'll tell a quick story about flying with knives. A few months ago I was flying within the US and carried my Spyderco Police knife. 4 1/8" non-serrated blade. OAL 9 1/2". I pulled it out when stepping up to the metal detector and the guy behind me said loudly "Jesus Christ that's a big knife". So of course airport security opens it up and measures it right there on top of the desk. I and the knife were aloud to pass. The female security guard just looked at me and asked that I leave it in my pocket during the flight. I wanted to say something really vulgar to the guy behind me, but decided against it, since he probably votes.
Some of you are overlooking something important....If you attempt to go through security with a non-magnetic knife concealed on your person, then you have deceived security and the FAA with the "Intention of going armed". This will get you in alot more trouble than having the rent-a-cop at security say yea or nay to your folder. I always put my folder in my toiletry kit in my carry-on and send it through x-ray. If they see it, it is of legal size so no problem. If they don't, I did not try to hide it. Take it out of your bag either at the gate or in the restroom. This has not caused me a problem no matter where I went. Just my opinion.
While I wouldn't worry about the Ladybug, I'd reconsider carrying anything on board that looked "scary". You never know who the security person is, and you don't need the additional hassles if someone's having a bad day at your expense.
I feel the same as you do, about wanting to carry a knife, but for the few hours that you'd be in flight, I think you'd agree that you could live without it.

Yeah, you could call and ask if it's okay to carry whatever kind of knife on board, but you're still at the mercy of the person at the metal detector. How many times have you received information from "reliable sources", only to find not everyone's willing to abide by them?

Perhaps a compromise would be to carry something that you wouldn't be devestated at losing? You could ask them to have the crew hold it in the cockpit, I suppose.

When I was a kid, my dad picked up a sword on a business trip and when he flew back, he obviously wasn't allowed to keep the sword with him, but they kept it in the cockpit.
That was in the mid 70's, however.

Bottom line, don't try to sneak anything on board. Even a CIA Letter opener attached to your ankle would be cause for legal ulcers.

That's my two cents. Hey! How come you're giving me change?
I've had the good and bad with Airline "security."

1. My Katz Black Cat and CS SRK (along with asundry camping/survival items) went through the X-Ray in my carryon, and the 3" Voyager in the little tray. No Problem.

2. Went through with ATKO 5 in the tray. Security went to open it and couldn't figure it out. I gingerly took it from them and opened it my pushing the button and "pulling" the blade out with my fingers. No more problem.

Attempted to take old Spydero Co-Pilot through, serrated w/ a tiny little blade. Set off detector, dropped it in the tray, security opened it, called the supervisor. And since I was running close to the flight leaving (i.e. didn't have the time to check it in, and they didn't seem AT ALL interested in helping me out) lost the knife.
I recently flew (2X)through JFK w/ a Spyderco Experimental (like the Co-pilot, but G-10) using it as a money clip. No problems- on the way out I was asked to open it & made an issue of fumbling with the cash & generally having trouble. Airport security folks are not particularly impressed with the speed with which you can deploy a blade- if you can whip it out in a flash, it increases the "weapon factor" 10X. Of course your mileage will vary.
I always carry a Victorinox Adventurer (SAK) with locking 3.25" blade. I also carry a lot of pocket metal and a calculator watch. I just dump everything in the little basket that they pass around the detector. I've never had them bother to open the blade on the knife (since it's just a SAK). Maybe we could get Spyderco to make a knife in the same shape with red plastic sides.
I carry my Spiderco Delica (1/2 serr) when flying. Unclip it from your pocket and stick a few bills in it. Never a problem. (knock on wood)
I have carried my partially serrated mini Stryker in my carry on luggage numerous times.

As a general rule if the folding knife has a blade under 3.5", You look nice and Yuppie, and you don't try to hide the knife you shouldn't have a problem.

I have never tried carrying a fixed blade and I try to position the knife in my carry on in a position which is not too readily accessable.
I've had trouble with small fixed blade knives in carry on luggage a couple times. (Neither time did I really want the knife there--they just have a way of getting into my luggage). One time it was a 3.5" bladed hunter that I had received as a gift. People got agitated, but it really wasn't much of a knife. I had to check my "carry on" suitcase into the baggage compartment. The other time it was a 4" bladed Mora style hunter in my wife's carry on luggage. Even more excitement, particularly when she insisted she didn't have a knife in her suitcase. They finally gave her a box to check the item as baggage.

When I've wanted to carry a somewhat bigger knife onto a plane (to avoid delays of checked baggage) I pack it in a metal-framed brief case filled with metal-barreled pens. I turn the knife so that its xray silouette is not broadside. My problems have been with fabric sided suitcases containing nothing but clothes. A knife lying broadside close to the middle of that really stands out.
I used to think, like someone mentioned here, that there just isn't a reason to worry about it and try to carry a knife of useful length and proportions onto a flight. Until today, when I heard on the radio of some nut-case on an AMTRAK train outside of Cleveland stabbing 4 people, one of which is in critical condition. Others have postulated that a knife would be of little use against a hi-jacker. But it for-damn-sure would be useful in a case like today. So, at this point, I am paying CLOSE attention to all your methods of carrying aboard, because I'm gonna start! Makes me want to get a Mirage X. Oh, except I live in the People's Republik of Marylundt, and we can't get concealed weapons carry.

Work hard, play hard, live long.