I usually carry around a small Swiss army kit my set of keys which contains a small knife inside the slot which is about 1 inch in height and very thin (see link for better picture, and it is described as a blade, not a knife in the picture)


One day when I was going through TSA airport security, I forgot to take off the kit and leave it at home. To my surprise I was able to get through without a problem, or anyone asking me questions. When looking at the TSA prohibited items (link below for reference) it looks like I am not able to bring it onto the plane.


Question: Was the Swiss kit with the knife overlooked by the TSA? If not, is it an allowed carry on item?

  • 3
    Mine was taken away from me on spot at Heathrow. However there was no weird looks which suggests they are familiar with many people making the same mistake. I think carrying a Swiss army knife is not the same as carrying a knife.
    – Ulkoma
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 20:51
  • I've carried the same thing (a victrinox key ring knife) on numerous flights. I've never presented it to anybody, but my bag has been examined lotsof time and it was never commented on.
    – CMaster
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


Here's what the TSA website says for "small swiss army knife":

Check Only

In general, you are prohibited from traveling with sharp objects in your carry-on baggage; please pack these items in your checked baggage. Scissors with blades smaller than 4 inches, small needles carried for special medical needs, and other sharp objects that do not contain a blade may be placed in carry-on baggage.

Any sharp objects placed in carry-on or checked baggage should be properly sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to TSOs and baggage handlers.

Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.

If it has a knife, it is not an allowed carry-on item. It is likely they either didn't notice or didn't care. The TSA does not have a stunning track record when it comes to detecting dangerous prohibited items.

The TSA a few years ago did briefly propose allowing small knives, claiming that the new policy would allow them to better focus on bigger threats, but dropped the plan after serious opposition by pilots, cabin crew, and members of Congress.

  • Yeah that is what I figured, especially since it was the TSA
    – LampPost
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 21:02
  • 2
    Small knives are allowed again in Europe, so in this case the rules do differ.
    – Willeke
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 16:03
  • 2
    @Willeke Really? I came across this question when I was searching for the exact same thing for European airlines. And their websites say no": eurowings.com/en/information/services/help/questions/… At least it doesn't necessarily apply to all airlines, it seems.
    – xji
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 18:57
  • 2
    @Willeke if they did allow you to carry a knife of any sort onto a plane at Bristol then security is breaking the law. It's allowable in hold luggage .gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/personal-items
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 23:48
  • 1
    @Willeke. My wife was refused to take a swiss-army knive on board flying from Lisbon to the Netherlands (within EU!), so don't count on it. They were kind enough to show us a way to mail it home for a few euros.
    – RHA
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 19:03

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