Can You Bring Chef Knives On a Plane?

Generally, a traveler is not allowed to bring chef knives on airplanes.

Based on the guidelines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), travelers can just pack knives, Swiss army knives, chef knives, and pocket knives in their checked bags if necessary. However, you may not even bring them on board in their carry-on luggage.

Now, the only exception is for plastic knives or round-bladed butter knives that are allowed in carry-on bags. The Transportation Security Administration In 2013 repealed the ban on small knives on airplanes, stating that passengers could bring their pocketknives as well as other small knives on board the plane.

After the Association of Flight Attendants and the public pushed back against the guidelines, the repeal was very short-lived.

Knives at TSA Checkpoints

If you are fond of carrying your chef knife with you everywhere, then you may forget to remove it before you head to the airport meaning that TSA will encounter the pocketknife during their security screening. Now, at this level, you have some options:

  • You can leave security and just place your chef knife in a checked bag.
  • If somebody will see you off at the airport, then leave the knife with them.
  • Just take the knife to your vehicle and leave it there.
  • You can mail your chef knife somewhere else, as mailing supplies are normally kept at TSA security.

If you are strapped for a while, or for other reason you can not use one of the options above, you could leave the knife at the airport security. Now, in this situation, the administration either donates it or destroys it to relief or non-profit agency.

Remember that while the Transportation Security Administration classifies knives as items prohibited, they aren’t unlawful, so you wouldn’t get charged or arrested with anything if you are caught with anyone at security. You will have to just remove the knife before flying.

(See more: best chef knives in the world you should know about)

Other Items Prohibited

Before you head to the security screening, check for the following TSA prohibited items as well as ensure that you leave them somewhere:

  • Box cutters
  • Ammunition
  • Scissors (metal having pointed tips and also blades above 4inches)
  • Firearms or any replicas of firearms

Last Updated on February 6, 2021 by Andy Wang

My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.