TSA To Allow Knives Back On Airplanes

For the first time since the September 11th attacks, you will soon be able to bring certain small knives on an airplane:

The Transportation Security Administration will soon allow small knives and baseball bats on flights for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks, drawing criticism from flight attendants who say the change is “poor and shortsighted.”

The new policy, announced Tuesday by TSA Administrator John Pistole at a speech in New York, takes effect April 25. Knives must have blades under 2.36 inches long and a half-inch wide and cannot have a blade that locks in place, as many knives do.

That’s not the only thing on the new list of permitted items, which also includes “novelty-sized and toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs,” according to a TSA statement.

“This is part of an overall risk-based security approach, which allows transportation security officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher-threat items such as explosives,” TSA added.

TSA still bans more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, even if it is in an unopened, sealed container. Liquids — typically toiletries — also must be put in a clear plastic bag and taken out of the main bag for X-ray screenings.

So let me see if I’ve got this right. My Swiss Army Knife? Okay. My shampoo? Banned.

Yea, that makes sense.

FILED UNDER: National Security, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. aFloridian says:

    Your Swiss army knife locks into place, doesn’t it Doug?

    Seriously, what kind of folding knife doesn’t have such a blade. Guess my assisted-opening Kershaw is still off-limits.

  2. John Peabody says:

    I’m happy enough that fingernail clippers (with files) will be allowed. Having one confiscated at security really did it for me in 2001.

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    I have 3 pocket knives and all of them have locking blades. Knives that don’t are dangerous and I wouldn’t have one so this is meaningless.

  4. @aFloridian:

    The blade on most Swiss Army knifes isn’t considered locked in place because the only thing holding it open is spring tension on a slip joint. A “locking blade” means a knife with some sort of catch that has to be disengaged with a separate action before the knife can be folded.

  5. Console says:

    What’s always been funny is that they let people in first class use knives. I guess terrorists are on a budget. That or people with lots of money have decent political clout.

  6. Lib Cap says:

    I’m getting a kick out of this, as I’m reading it in the SFO airport, Terminal Two, Admirals Club, right now…

    I had a nice conversation with the TSA agents… I told them that I can take a small knife… But they still took my small two bottles of water.

    Swiss Army Knives, Two Golf Clubs and Wiffle Ball Bats, OK… Tiny bottles of water (accidently left in my carry-on bag) not OK.

    Oh… and Boxcutters (smaller than a Swiss Army Knife)… somehow still not OK.

    Seriously, have they considered the damage that COULD be dome with a ski pole?

    THIS I would sequestration away. ALL of it.

    (… have a nice day.)

  7. @Lib Cap:

    It’s Security Theater, my friend

  8. Stuhlmann says:

    Why all the negative and sarcastic comments? This is the most positive and sensible step taken by the TSA in over 10 years. OK, the TSA logic is hard to follow regarding liquids, but at least we’re moving in the right direction. This small act gives me hope that some day I’ll be able to fill up a water bottle with my own home tap water and carry it on to an airplane, rather than paying $3 for water at an airport concessionaire.

  9. Fiona says:

    As Doug said, more of the absurdity that is National Security Theater.

  10. rudderpedals says:

    @Stuhlmann: Bring the empty water bottle to the airport and it’ll pass through security. Fill it up at a water fountain after screening and pocket the $3.

  11. Rick Almeida says:

    As a member in good standing of the Liberal-Academe-Media cabal and a resident of the Myrtle Beach area, my only comment is…

    WTF? Only 2 golf clubs? Are they gonna demand that all golf courses change to pitch-n-putt?


  12. PD Shaw says:

    My Swiss Army Knife?

    Not necessarily. A traditional boy scout pocket knife has a 3″ blade. Blades under 2.36 inches sound more like pocket tools, including maybe the smallest Swiss Army knives, but really things that don’t have a blade as the most important feature. That would be the nail file and bottle opener.

  13. al-Ameda says:

    drawing criticism from flight attendants who say the change is “poor and shortsighted.”

    Flight Attendants must have missed the memo – America is, quite possibly, the most stupid advanced country in the world.

  14. J-Dub says:

    There are restaurants inside the security gate. You could pilfer a 4 inch-bladed steak knife any time you wanted. You may have to buy a $30 steak first…

    That said, I want my 1-inch Swiss Army keychain knife back that TSA took from me several years ago.

  15. J-Dub says:

    @Rick Almeida: What jackass would try to carry on a full golf bag? I suppose the 2 club limit is good enough for someone who may have purchased a couple clubs and is bringing them home.