Are Multi-tools Allowed on Planes?
A multi-tool is great because it is a convenient size and allows you to have basic tools with you that are both versatile and useful in sticky situations.
In fact, if you are a hiker, camper, fisherman, soldier, hunter, or any type of outdoorsman, then carrying a multi-tool is very important – almost a prerequisite.
Luckily, you don’t need to sacrifice preparedness because you are flying on a plane, whether you are flying with checked luggage or carry-on only. But there are some rules about what you can and can’t take on a plane and how you need to pack them.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Believe it or not, the TSA actually allows you to take quite a lot of stuff in your carry-on through airport security. However, you just need to ensure that it meets a set of basic requirements.
However, a simple requirement that is not stated that you should always keep in mind is that you should never take anything along that you don’t want to give up. This is because, although the TSA regulations are very clear, sometimes their airport staff’s knowledge of the regulations is less than clear. Plus, if you are traveling internationally, there are a few differences in what is allowed by each country, so rather be safe than sorry.
The guidelines are:
- No flammable gasses or liquids
- Nothing pointy or sharp
- No metal (or similar) tools more than 7 inches long
- Nothing that could be used as a weapon
Surprisingly, you are left with a lot of space for tools. But always prepare for the fact that the TSA agent you are dealing with could take your multi-tool away. Don’t argue with the agent – it isn’t worth the effort. Also, don’t try to sneak your multi-tool through, because the consequences if found are not worth it either.
In fact, the punishment for trying to sneak your multi-tool through security can cost you a lot more than what the multi-tool cost you. When dealing with the TSA, rather give more information than less. Be open, honest, and forthcoming to avoid any issues.
Are Multi-tools Allowed on Planes?
You are allowed to take a multi-tool on a plane, as long as it follows certain requirements. The length of the tool when opened cannot exceed a length of 7 inches. So, open your multi-tool and measure the length of the unit with the longest tool along with the handle.
Most airports are happy as long as the length overall is under 7 inches, but they may give you some trouble if you have a knife tool. But this will vary from one airport and agent to another. If your multi-tool has a scissor tool, the total blade length of the scissors cannot be more than 4 inches long. The scissors on most multi-tools are shorter than this and should be fine.
If you have placed your multi-tool in your checked luggage, you should not have any problems at all, even if the tool is longer than a total of 7 inches.
How to Carry a Multi-tool on a Plane?
The main trick is to keep everything simple, light, and cheap, just in case you are asked to surrender your multi-tool. Start by selecting a versatile, weatherproof, strong bag that has organizing space for clothes, shoes, and your multi-tool.
Generally speaking, avoid wheeled bags if you can as they are often too big for the overhead compartment while also limiting your maneuverability and speed in the airport.
Be sure to declare your multi-tool when going through airport security. Have it in a place in your bag that can easily be reached so the security agent can check that it meets the standards.
A Note About Traveling
Always expect the unexpected. This applies to both your travel destination as well as the airport itself. One of the main reasons that you carry a multi-tool is no doubt to be prepared no matter what the situation.
Unfortunately, when it comes to airports, a multi-tool cannot help you if you are in a pinch, but if you follow the requirements and check that your multi-tool complies with the regulations, you shouldn’t have a problem.
A multi-tool can be a fairly inexpensive object to purchase and they are very easy to come by. While most airports and airlines do not have an issue with you taking your multi-tool onboard, the agent you deal with may.
If it is possible for you to either buy a multi-tool at your destination or to only take a cheaper one with, opt for that choice. We all have a favorite multi-tool, but you don’t want to risk it being confiscated. If you are unsure, rather be safe than sorry.