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Carrying Penknives?

Travel Forums General Talk Carrying Penknives?

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1. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 8y

Recently in SEA I had a near call with my old friend the Swiss Army knife. Going through a ferry port, customs hauled me over and said I could not take a weapon onto the ferry. It turned out my 'weapon' was my 10 year old swiss army knife at the bottom of my backpack.

They wanted me to surrender it. I refused, on many grounds. Namely sentimental value (that knife and its gadgets has saved me many times). After ten minutes and a final threat by me to see the 'boss' I was let through.

I travel overland a lot, and have never had a problem before. But with the recent Canadian bus incident and increased paranoia I wonder how long it will be before the humble traveler will be forced to go without this essential tool?

2. Posted by Rraven (Travel Guru 5924 posts) 8y

when we were flying back from Venezuela last year we got into trouble over a multitool..........the crazy part is that it was in our checked in luggage, we were sitting on our flight getting ready to take off when an air hostess comes over and askes to see my passport, after confirming who i was she then proceeds to tell me that i have to get off the plane because of a security matter and no my boyfriend can't come with i'm taken off the plane walked around the airport by security and an air hostess trying to understand what i'm supposed to have done.........finally i end up in the baggage area under the plane that i should be still on, i'm looking up at it and while hearing the engines i start to panic, whats in my bag, did any of my new friends pull a joke that had back fired...............finally they find someone with broken english and between them and my spanish pocket dictionary its explained that i have broken many safety and terrorism rules they have to search my bag which they had just x-rayed but needed me to be present............then i see that its not my bag, its my boyfriends, but because everything is booked under my name i'm held responsible ! now i'm really panicing..........some of his friends had been joking about leaving presents of drugs etc in his bag...........and i can still hear the engine above me............they go through the bag and pull out the has a saw on it, i have to explain why we have it .........all i can remember in spanish is tree / camping / cut / fire...........somehow they understand, whisper among themselves and produce a plank of wood,......i had to prove it was ours by cutting it in half......before then i'd never used it before.........i can assure you i was cursing Arjan at that time !!! after cutting it they seem happy and then proceed to further investiage the bag as there were multiple suspicious items.........a cheese knife (they threathened to make me cut a piece of cheese but it would take too long to get some, this is not a joke !!! they debated over it for what seemed like a lifetime), then they took out the lighter fluid for the zippo (they tried to tell me that these items together could be used for a !?!?! )........when they got to the tent they asked me about pegs, why were they sharp.....emmmm to keep the tent down.........)......eventually they let me repack the bag, and showed me back up to the airplane......the air hostess proceeds to give out to me as we have now lost our flight time and are delayed for two turns out that while i was away they had made an announcement about being delayed because of a matter of national security......... so while i was escorted back to my seat by someone in uniform i could feel all eyes starring through me.........did i mention our seats were at the back of the plane !! when i told arjan he thought i was joking till he could see i was very pissed off and totally freaked out .................he then thought it was hilarious and said i should have got someone to take a photo of me cutting the wood with security standing over me now i can see the funny side but at the time i was fit to scream !!! all because of a tool that was in a checked in bag which i wouldn't have been able to get to !!

3. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 8y

A great story! Loved it too bits. I hope you wrote it up somewhere to keep.

Strange how the passion of a penknife can bring out the rage in someone.

I would rather loose a $1000 flight than surrender my knife to some dodgy security type wanting it not to be stored in the baggage department. Too much sentimental value. It saved me too many times to say goodbye. If someone steals it, so be it. But try to take it, no way buddy.

I just got a feeling we'll all be forced to have nothing more dangerous than a plastic spoon in out pocket soon.

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

I've also had a few occasions where i've been picked up for my swiss army knife (it rarely leaves my person) over the past year or so. However, the one thing which seems to save it is making sure it is not alone - put it on a keyring with a load of used looking keys (whether or not they are important/useful keys is irrelevant, so long as it looks like they are) and it gets handed straight back to you. Have it alone, and it suddenly turns itself into a weapon or you have to spend allot longer justifying why you have it.

5. Posted by wotthefiqh (Inactive 1447 posts) 8y

Bloody hell Rraven,
That is a pretty heavy reaction!!!
My wife gave me a new Swiss Army knife for Christmas 2005 but I blew it big time.
We were flying to Bangkok on our way to Myanmar March 2006 and I mistakenly put my new knife into my small carry-on pack instead of putting it into the checked-in backpack.
Got through immigration, going through the X-ray station before the departure lounge at Perth airport and STOP!!!
I couldn't go through with my new SA knife, I couldn't go back and put it into checked-in luggage and it had to be confiscated.
I was NOT flavour of the day and I try not to make the same mistake but it seems so ridiculous.

6. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 8y

I've carried a Leatherman and a swiss army knife (yes, both) for years. I have forgotten the Leatherman on my belt before on the way to a plane....My sad folorn look at the loss of my old friend was enough to make them let me mail it ahead. (I never saw my old buddy again. Fuckers!) And my swiss army knife, in my pack and checked, has caused people to balk, on local planes. I credit "Terrorism Madness" for this.

But the one that truly makes me laugh is a little light that I inherited from a travel buddy called the "Glorb" It is an LED light set up into lantern shape, and it used to work pretty good....But I got pulled aside so many times to explain what the hell it was ( I assume they thought it was a pipe bomb), that I chucked it in Panama.

Now, even if I have a bag small enough to carry on, I check, because my Leatherman is in there. That thing has been a dray horse in my life. I am loathe to be without it. I figure I can sweat out the extra half hour at the airport to get my bag back....This has bitten me in the ass only once, In Guat City, where I had to wait for the bag for a week. Upside was, I found some great new undies in Antigua that week.....


7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 8y

I once had the police in Ulaan Baatar suggest that my Leatherman tool was some sort of offensive weapon, but I think they were just looking for a reason to extort money from me.

I've done a few trips where I have left the Leatherman behind because I didn't want to go through the hassle of checking a bag. I've never had a problem when I have checked a bag, though. Hopefully it doesn't become an issue in overland travel, that would be a pain.

I did hear that they put x-ray machines into the subway station in Beijing. I wonder if its just a temporary measure for the Olympics, or if we will find our bags being x-rayed at subway stations across the world soon.


8. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

My little plastic CAA nail file was confiscated by security at the Canadian Parliament when we were running late for pre-budget lockdown. My colleagues were waiving me on impatiently cause we were going to miss the budget reading, and I'd lost the stupid thing in the lining of my purse.

We just made it, but I never got my file back. I guess they were afraid I might file the Prime Minister's nails to bits or something.

9. Posted by Rraven (Travel Guru 5924 posts) 8y

Quoting tway

My little plastic CAA nail file was confiscated by security at the Canadian Parliament when we were running late for pre-budget lockdown. My colleagues were waiving me on impatiently cause we were going to miss the budget reading, and I'd lost the stupid thing in the lining of my purse.

We just made it, but I never got my file back. I guess they were afraid I might file the Prime Minister's nails to bits or something.

armed and dangerous.............. i had a bottle opener taken from me before in Italy..more annoying then anything

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

I had a similar incident to Rraven's story, although on a lot smaller scale. I was flying back home from Moscow and got into a bit of trouble with airport security. They were scanning luggage at the entrance of the airport and they pushed the alert button after seeing metal objects and some wire.

The lady was totally in a panic (she has got bomb! hold her!), I just stayed totally calm and told her I was going to open the bag and show her that there was nothing there. The wire was the loading cable for my mobile - and the strange metal objects were a steel cup and a set of German Bundeswehr army silverware. I pulled them out and held it under her nose just in the moment a bunch of armed guys were storming to the scene.

Their faces were priceless! One look and they all started laughing, shouting "Loshka, loshka!" (Spoon, spoon!) The lady got a good amount of ribbing for pushing the alert button from the soldiers and I am sure she had to buy them a bottle of vodka later.

To be fair, it looked like an electric contact from the side.