Can You Travel With Kitchen Knives in Checked Luggage?

Maybe you’re heading off on a long holiday and want to take your best kitchen knives so that you can whip up a storm rather than spending a fortune on eating out every night. Or perhaps you’re a professional chef who is headed off to an exotic location for work purposes and you need to have your equipment with you.

Whatever the reason, it goes without saying that simply walking onto a plane with a blade isn’t a good idea. But how do you get your kitchen knives from A to B and can you travel with kitchen knives in your hand luggage or suitcase?

There is an international standard that states that all passengers are allowed to travel with dangerous goods including knives either in their checked luggage or carry-on bags. However, travellers should keep in mind that their luggage may be checked by security and you could be asked to leave your items behind; and airlines are well within their rights to do this.

You may also be limited on what you include in your carry on baggage due to restrictions on sharp objects. For example, if you’re travelling with a full set of kitchen knives, an airline or even a country could forbid you to do this. It’s important to check local regulations and those of your chosen airline before you pack knives in your luggage and travel, to avoid having your items taken from you.

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What Does the UK Government Say About Carrying Kitchen Knives On a Plane?

The UK Government website has some very useful information on what items are allowed to be transported via air and how you can carry kitchen knives. An extensive list of items on this page tells us that kitchen knives are not permitted in hand luggage and can only be taken aboard when in checked baggage.

In fact no sharp objects of any kind are permitted in the cabin for the safety of all on board. Even the smallest sharp object can be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands, and so with you inflight meal from your flight attendants, your bread roll will be accompanied by a plastic butter knife. Not even round bladed butter knives are permitted!

However, it is still essential to check with your airline as there may be other restrictions imposed by the company that are not listed on the government website. This is a very generalised list. Also keep in mind that these rules apply to knives whose blades are longer than 6cm. However, smaller blades such as a pocket knife or Swiss army knives are also unlikely to be permitted in hand luggage.

Is It Worth Travelling With Expensive Kitchen Knives?

If you’re the proud owner of high quality kitchen knives then you will know that these can be very expensive to buy. Many people will purchase the very best sharp kitchen knives they can afford with a mind to keeping them for many years; you’d consider them as something of an investment.

So naturally, you aren’t going to want to put them in any sort of danger and have to risk losing your investment when travelling or how to pack knives for moving. However, there are things you will need to think about when travelling with your knives and risks you’ll need to weigh up before you safely pack your kitchen knife in your carry on luggage or checked bags.

Confiscated Items

Let’s just clear one thing up before we start talking about confiscated items. If airport security confiscates anything illegal from you when you are travelling, you will not be able to claim it back. What’s more, you probably will be stopped from travelling and will also have the police to deal with.

For the most part, knives are not considered to be illegal. However a lot of people end up getting caught out at the airport because they didn’t realise that due to knife laws, they weren’t allowed to carry their knives in their hand luggage. By this point, it’s likely too late to return to check-in and put the knives in hold luggage so airport security will probably just take them away.

The idea of losing your precious, and probably expensive kitchen knives is the worst nightmare of a lot of passionate chefs but all is not lost. If your items have been confiscated by airport staff and they are not illegal, you have the right to claim them back when you return from your travels.

You can do this by using services like Post and Fly which will give you the option to either claim your items upon your return or have them shipped to you anywhere within the UK or Europe.

Stolen Items

It is a sad fact of life that some people will take what doesn’t belong to them. You might think of this in situations like burglaries in the home or people getting mugged on the street but the reality is far more shocking.

There have been figures released demonstrating just how many bags are stolen from baggage claim at airports each year. In the USA, in one year alone, there were reported to have been more than a million bags stolen in this manner. The total cost of these thefts was estimated to be more than $1.2 billion!

While there are security processes in place at airports such as baggage checking and CCTV, these are always a deterrent and theft does still happen at baggage claim. Of course, this shouldn’t put you off travelling with your kitchen knives altogether but it is food for thought.

If you are going to be taking knives with you on your travels, then it may be worth having a less expensive set just for this purpose. The last thing anyone wants is to discover that their super expensive and potentially sentimental knife set is gone without a trace.

Final Thoughts

Across the world, the rules and regulations on how to transport kitchen knives and  for travelling with bladed implements such as knives are pretty similar. You can carry chef knives when flying so long as they are declared and securely wrapped for the protection of baggage handlers and anyone who may come into contact with them, for the most part, these cannot be taken as hand luggage.

That said, there are some exceptions to this rule and certain airlines will have their own policies on the matter. For this reason, you must always declare knives and it is strongly recommended to find out the limitations before bring knives to the airport.
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