Update: TSA delays policy to allow small pocketknives in flight

Update | April 23, 2013: The TSA announced yesterday that it was postponing the rule allowing small knives on planes. There was no new date announced for the policy change, so stay tuned. The original post is below …


Effective next month, your Scouts and others traveling by plane will be permitted to carry on small pocketknives.

The Transportation Security Administration said on Tuesday it was relaxing certain restrictions to allow small pocketknives, golf clubs, and other sports items to be carried on to planes, better matching international standards for air travel.

The changes take effect on April 25, 2013, meaning Scouts and Venturers flying to the jamboree, a high-adventure base, or anywhere else this summer may have one less thing to worry about at the airport.

Be careful — not all pocketknives are allowed as carry-ons. A knife is only allowed if: 

  • The blade is no longer than 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) in length 
  • The blade width is no more than 0.5 inches at its widest point
  • The knife does not have a locking or fixed blade
  • The knife does not have a molded grip

That means knives that are too wide or too long or those with locking blades or a molded grip should remain in a Scout or Scouter’s checked bag — or stay at home.

A blade that’s 2.36 inches long or shorter is a pretty small knife, so primarily we’re talking small multitools like the Leatherman Micra I keep in my pocket at Scouting events. Small, Swiss Army knives might fit the requirements, but I’d break out your ruler to be sure.

And a note for all those packs, troops, or crews headed to far-off ski destinations: The TSA also announced on Tuesday that ski poles can now be carried on.

Here are the TSA’s explanatory graphics:

tsa-pocketknives-1 tsa-pocketknives-2 tsa-pocketknives-3 tsa-pocketknives-4