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check in a pocket knife only?

I have the following flights on an upcoming vacation: Houston to Dublin (United), Dublin to London (Cityjet), London to Bordeaux (British Airways) and Paris to Houston (United). I am hoping to carry on all luggage to avoid checking luggage. However, I would like to take my 3 inch blade folding pocket knife (I use it so often I would be ill at ease without it). I understand I cannot carry it on. Can I just check in a pocket knife for luggage? Other suggestions?

Posted by
10139 posts

I'm not sure how you would expect to just check in a pocket knife. Since you have so many flights you will either have to check a bag on each one or do without a knife.

Posted by
5417 posts

You'd need to put it in a box or duffel bag or something you could put a luggage tag on. If you put it in a duffel, I'd use some bubble wrap or newspaper to fill out the bag.

You can always buy a cheap knife when you are there.

Posted by
32155 posts

As previously mentioned, you won't be able to check only a Pocket Knife by itself. It will need to be in some sort of luggage, which negates the whole idea of travelling with carry-on only. There would appear to be two choices.....

  1. Don't take the knife at all. Buying one when you arrive in Europe won't be an option, as you'd have to discard it prior to each of the flights you'll be taking.
  2. Forget about using carry-on only and check one bag (checking luggage isn't really all that bad).
Posted by
2081 posts


I remember some airline(s)? thinking about allowing passengers to carry leatherman type tools but there was a blade length restriction. I dont remember the outcome, but maybe you can find that info and came of it.

i know and understand how you feel since i carry my leatherman 24/7/365 and when i leave it at home on my travels, i keep on grabbing for it when i need it.

but on the + since, so far ive never needed it to the point of having to buy one overthere.

happy trails.

Posted by
9110 posts

Actually, it was the TSA, not the airlines, that almost relented on short-bladed knives about a year ago - - they'd even announced the change with a by/on date.

Leatherman makes a bladeless multi-tool (Style PS). If you clip in to the outside of your carryon, inspectors will either recognize it or be able to inspect it without digging. They're on back order at a lot of places.

Posted by
4132 posts

Hmmm? I thought carriers operating most internal European flights require that you check your bag anyway, even if it is the typical 22" carry-on. Check with British and Cityjet about that. If they both require that you check your bigger bag and only allow one carry-on, and they say it's okay to put your knife in your checked bag, it might be worth it to buy one in Dublin, use it in Europe and check your bag, with it in it, from Paris to Houston. I repeated this TSA page that lists what you can carry-on vs. what you have to check:

Posted by
23113 posts

You are only required to check a bag if the overhead space in the plane is too small for a standard carry on. Fairly common in the US with the commuter style of aircraft which are becoming more common.

Posted by
12154 posts

If I had a 22" roll on, I would expect it not to fit in the measuring boxes - and have to check it. Even a 21" with wheels can be too big to fit. More often than not, even a 22" isn't going to be measured unless it looks stuffed, at which point it will be checked.

Back to the knife question. No you can't pack just a knife, they won't take a single item as checked luggage - they'll just confiscate it.

I used to travel with my Swiss Army Knife all the time until 9/11 (in fact I flew home from Germany shortly after 9/11 and had it in my carry on without anyone saying anything). Now I just buy a new one when I get to Europe. It's not hard to find a store in any town that sells them. Then I give it away before I fly home.

Posted by
7312 posts

While it may be a moot point for this discussion, for an itinerary like this, the TSA site is good for your flight from the US to Dublin, but to check what is allowable for European flights, you need to go someplace like this:

While the TSA and the EU have very similar requirements, they are different, for example, the TSA allows corkscrews, the EU does not.