Leaving your favorite blade at home when going on vacation can be a bummer, especially if it’s something you need for your job. Since 9/11, intensified security screens have made it increasingly difficult for knife owners to transport knives. A recent article in the New York Times highlighted the innumerable difficulties these crackdowns have caused on hair stylists, chefs, engineers, knife collectors and others who use knives as a function of their job.
So, what do you do if you must bring your knife on a trip?
The best course of action is to put your knives in your checked luggage, although many knife owners are hesitant to part, even momentarily, from expensive shears or blades. However, some knife owners are able to buck security and make it through.
According to the article, chef Rey Benavidez is usually able to travel from San Francisco to New York with his chef knives in his carry-on luggage. He packs his knives in a special chef’s kit and even wears his chef jacket. However, Benavidez said he’s still forced to check his knives, worth approximately $500, at times.
For these occasions, he has GPS tracking tracking chips in his knives and photographs his suitcase contents before flights.
Custom knifemakers who travel frequently to knife shows can have knives worth tens of thousands of dollars that need to be transported. In this situation, the best course of action is to have these knives shipped via UPS and insured for the full amount.
Ken Onion, a knife maker from Honolulu, said he had 14 custom knives worth about $40,000 stolen from luggage in 2006 on a trip to a show in California. He recommended that travelers buy insurance and that they photograph or videotape luggage contents and the handover to airline employees.
For valuable items, he said, “place them in a Pelican case, with a GPS tracker at the bottom of it,” adding that once his luggage has been checked in, he can follow it via the GPS locator to ensure it is on the same flight.
How about you? Have you flown with knives since 9/11? Do you have any advice for those with knives pursuing air travel? Let us know in the comment section below.