Can You Bring Chef Knives On a Plane?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 07/08/18 •  5 min read

The TSA says that cutlery is allowed in checked-in and carry-on luggage. Cutlery is not allowed in hand luggage, but the TSA makes exceptions for blunt cutlery made out of plastic. So, as long as it’s in your checked-in or carry-on luggage, you can bring a chef’s knife on a plane.

Chef knives are some of the most prized possessions of any professional chef.

Since they can cost chefs a whole lot of money, many of them make sure to bring their knives wherever they cook.

In fact, in most professional kitchens, chefs bring their own knife rolls with their personal cutlery collection.

Since they are such prized possessions, most chefs would want to bring their chef knife with them when traveling via plane.

But can you carry chef knives on a plane?

The TSA has rules in place to keep flyers safe, so while kitchen knives aren’t allowed in hand luggage, they are allowed in checked-in and carry-on luggage.

In this article, we go through everything you need to know about bringing kitchen knives on a plane.

Can you bring chef knives on a plane?

can you bring chef knives on a plane

TSA (Transportation Security Administration, an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security that focuses on the security of the traveling public in the United States) in 2013 have planned to allow pocket knives that have 2.36-inch blades or shorter in carry-on luggage.

A few months after it, the Association of Flight Attendants have raised this concern to stop passengers from carrying any type of knife while on the plane.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R.302) has included the provision that knives are never again allowed on US and US-bound planes.

The law clearly states that no knives (including the Chef’s Knife!) can be carried on the plane.

Though there are two knives that could be allowed – a plastic knife or a rounded blade butter knife.

However, proceed at your own risk.

Security personnel may still bring you to their office for questioning.

So it is better not to bring any knife at all!

If you really need to bring the knife with you, consider using services from courier delivery companies.

You may ask the hotel where you booked to see if they can help you in making the arrangement in the local area.

It would be better if you can ask a friend or family member that lives in your destination to receive it for you.

If it is a very valuable item, contact the courier company for insurance or to clarify their terms and conditions.

What if you accidentally brought your knife?

The good thing is, as of writing, knives are classified as prohibited items.

They are not unlawful and you will not be charged or arrested if you are caught carrying one at security.

They would instruct you to remove the knife before flying.

You may leave them if you are with someone who just dropped you at the airport.

Leaving it in your vehicle is a good option too if you are flying alone and parked the car inside the airport facility.

Baggage services could be available in your local airport, where they can safely keep the item for you for a fee.

If you don’t have any other option, you may leave it with the security office.

Why would someone bring a knife?

As mentioned, obviously due to the price of the item.

If you are the owner of that very precious knife, you would like to have it within your sight until you reach your destination.

Whenever bags are checked in from the check-in counter, passengers don’t have a chance to see them and how they are being handled and loaded on the plane.

Some even experience bag switching, where a passenger took another bag that belongs to another passenger.

There are even instances that the airline company and/or the airport services team were not able to load the baggage.

Probably, the knife was asked to be bought by a person living at the passenger’s destination.

There are brands that are not available in certain countries or states, and they turn to someone they knew living in the area to buy and bring it to them.

Or maybe the knife is too valuable enough for a person and doesn’t want to leave it somewhere or to someone.

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

Are chef knives allowed onboard?

In the US, you can only bring a knife on your checked baggage and not on your hand carry.

However, when you reach your desired destination, your luggage may be considered a threat as it could be regarded as an illegal concealed knife.

Therefore, if you were able to make it past the security checks before you reach your boarding gate (which most likely will not happen), it could still be an issue once you claimed your luggage.

To be on the safe side, it is better not to carry kitchen knives – especially on international destinations.

In case you really have to, it is better to check the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting about checked-in luggage.

The airline company you have chosen may help you in finding this information, or you may check online with the country’s official tourism website.

Some international airports have more detailed web pages that will help in knowing more about what to bring and what’s not.


Generally, there should be no issues with knives that are well packed inside a piece of checked luggage.

However, still consider the laws, rules, and regulations on your destination as they may not allow any kind of knife upon entry.

It would be better to leave them at home and use them when you come back.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.

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