Traveling can be stressful enough without having to wonder if your trusty multitool will make it past airport security. With rules that seem to change by the day, it’s understandable to have questions about which items are allowed on board an aircraft.
The quick answer is: Yes, you can bring a multitool on an airplane, but there are regulations around the types of tools and blades that are permitted.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover TSA regulations in detail, including prohibited items, tips for flying with a multitool, and what to do if your tool gets confiscated.
TSA Regulations on Multitools
Blade Length Restrictions
When it comes to bringing a multitool on a plane, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific regulations in place. One of the key factors to consider is the blade length of the multitool.
According to the TSA, any blade longer than 6 centimeters or 2.36 inches is prohibited in carry-on luggage. This means that if your multitool has a blade longer than the specified length, you will have to pack it in your checked baggage instead of carrying it with you on the plane.
It’s important to note that the blade length restriction applies to both fixed and folding blades. So, even if your multitool has a folding blade, it still needs to adhere to the maximum length allowed by the TSA.
Prohibited Tools and Features
In addition to blade length restrictions, the TSA also prohibits certain tools and features on multitools. These prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
- Blades that are spring-loaded or have a locking mechanism
- Knives with molded handles that conceal blades
- Tools with a serrated blade or a blade with a single edge
- Sharp objects such as awls, picks, or ice picks
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and guidelines provided by the TSA to ensure that your multitool is compliant and can be brought on the plane without any issues.
TSA Screening Process
When you arrive at the airport with a multitool, it will go through the TSA screening process along with your other belongings. The multitool should be placed in your carry-on bag and then passed through the X-ray machine for inspection.
If the multitool meets all the necessary regulations and does not contain any prohibited tools or features, it is likely to pass through the screening process without any problems.
However, if the TSA officer identifies a prohibited tool or feature on your multitool during the screening process, they may ask you to surrender the item or place it in your checked baggage. It’s always a good idea to check the TSA guidelines beforehand and ensure that your multitool is compliant to avoid any potential issues at the airport.
Choosing a TSA-Compliant Multitool
When it comes to multitools, Leatherman is one of the most popular and trusted brands on the market. They offer a wide range of models that are designed to be versatile and durable. However, not all Leatherman multitools are TSA-compliant.
The key is to choose a model that does not have any blades longer than 2.36 inches. This ensures that it meets the Transportation Security Administration’s guidelines for carrying on a plane.
One example of a TSA-compliant Leatherman multitool is the Leatherman Style PS. This compact multitool features 8 tools including pliers, scissors, wire cutters, and more. Its compact size and lightweight design make it a great choice for travelers who want to have a multitool handy without any hassle at airport security.
Gerber is another well-known brand that offers a variety of multitools for different purposes. Like Leatherman, not all Gerber multitools are TSA-compliant. It’s important to look for models that meet the TSA guidelines by ensuring that the blades are shorter than 2.36 inches.
An example of a TSA-compliant Gerber multitool is the Gerber Dime. This compact multitool features 10 tools including pliers, scissors, a knife, and more. Its small size and lightweight construction make it a convenient option for travelers who want to bring a multitool on a plane without any issues.
Victorinox Swiss Army
Victorinox Swiss Army is renowned for its high-quality Swiss Army knives, but they also offer multitools that comply with TSA regulations. These multitools are designed to be compact and versatile, making them suitable for various tasks.
One example of a TSA-compliant Victorinox Swiss Army multitool is the Victorinox Swiss Army Jetsetter. This multitool features 7 tools including a small blade, scissors, a screwdriver, and more. It is designed to be lightweight and easy to carry, making it a great option for travelers who want to have a multitool on hand during their journey.
When choosing a TSA-compliant multitool, it’s essential to consider the specific guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration. Always check the blade length and ensure that it falls within the acceptable range.
Additionally, consider the features and tools that are most important to you, as different multitools offer different functions. By selecting a TSA-compliant multitool from reputable brands like Leatherman, Gerber, or Victorinox Swiss Army, you can have the convenience and utility of a multitool without any issues at airport security.
Tips for Flying with a Multitool
When flying with a multitool, it’s important to pack it smartly to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience at airport security. Make sure to place your multitool in your checked luggage rather than your carry-on bag.
This is because multitools often contain sharp objects, such as blades or scissors, which are not allowed in the cabin. By packing your multitool in your checked luggage, you can avoid any potential issues during the security screening process.
Be Prepared for Additional Screening
Even if you pack your multitool in your checked luggage, there is still a possibility that it may be flagged for additional screening by airport security. This is especially true if your multitool has multiple functions and resembles a weapon in any way.
To avoid any delays or complications, it’s a good idea to be prepared for additional screening. This means allowing extra time at the airport and being patient if your luggage is selected for further inspection.
Remember, the goal of airport security is to ensure the safety of all passengers, so cooperating with the screening process is essential.
Consider Checking Your Tool
If you’re unsure about whether you can bring your multitool on the plane or if you simply want to avoid any potential issues, you may want to consider checking your tool instead of carrying it on. By checking your multitool, you can have peace of mind knowing that it will be handled appropriately and won’t cause any problems during the security screening process.
Just make sure to secure your multitool properly to prevent any damage during transit.
For more information on what items are allowed and prohibited on planes, you can visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website at www.tsa.gov. The website provides detailed guidelines and regulations regarding what you can and cannot bring on a plane, including information specifically related to multitools.
What To Do If Your Multitool Is Confiscated
If your multitool is confiscated by TSA agents at the airport, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. However, it is important to remain calm and follow the proper steps to handle the situation. Here are some things you can do:
Cooperate with TSA Agents
When your multitool is confiscated, it is crucial to cooperate with the TSA agents. They are just doing their job to ensure the safety of all passengers. Arguing or causing a scene will only make the situation more difficult.
Instead, remain polite and respectful, and ask them for further instructions on what to do next.
Ask for a Mailer
The TSA provides a service where you can request a mailer to have your confiscated items shipped to your home. This is a convenient option if you don’t want to lose your multitool permanently. Simply ask the TSA agent for a mailer form and provide your shipping information.
Keep in mind that there may be a fee associated with this service.
Confirm Prohibited Items
Before traveling, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the TSA’s list of prohibited items. This will help you avoid bringing items that are not allowed on the plane. If you were unaware that your multitool was prohibited, take this opportunity to educate yourself on the rules and regulations.
This will prevent any future incidents and ensure a smooth travel experience.
Remember, the TSA’s primary goal is to keep everyone safe during air travel. By cooperating with them and following the proper procedures, you can minimize any inconvenience caused by the confiscation of your multitool.
While regulations may seem ambiguous, having an understanding of TSA guidelines can give you confidence when deciding whether to pack your multitool. With some smart packing strategies and cooperation at security, your tool can make it onboard your flight.
The bottom line is that multitools are typically permitted, but need to comply with rules around blade length and prohibited features. Stay up to date on the latest policies, and your essential travel multitool can stay in your carry-on.