Back in 2013, there was a rule change that had been thrown about that small blade knives would again be allowed onto airplanes, according to the TSA. However, due to a large outcry from many – especially pilots and flight attendants – that idea was scrapped and knives are still not allowed on aircraft in the US.
You Can Buy Knives At This Airport – AFTER Security!
However, different countries (or course) have their own rules about what is allowed and what is not. Still, it was a bit of a surprise to me earlier this week when I flew through the airport in Zurich, Switzerland that you could actually buy Swiss Army knives after you had already cleared security!
This, in a way, makes sense since these were in a tourist/trinket shop and it is, after all the Swiss Army knife. If someone wanted that special something for someone before heading home, getting a genuine Swiss Army knife from Switzerland may be just that thing.
From what I can understand, it appears that the longest blade offered in this shop was between 3 and 3.5 inches (The Explorer knife).
Going to the US? No Problem.
I just would not have expected to have them offered just feet from gates that you could board airplanes from, including airplanes that fly directly the US. I asked the staff at the store if I could buy a knife and take it with me on the plane or if I needed to have it sent to be checked into checked luggage. They assured me that, if I had a boarding pass, I would be able to take the knife with me and onto my plane. This was even after I told them that I was flying to JFK. They said it was no problem.
Now, maybe they were misstating the policy to me. I could see them not being able to sell to passengers bound for the US (or at least on US airlines) but the point is they were willing to sell the knife to me even with my boarding pass.
No Extra Security Checks?
Besides, who cares if there was some limitation based on where you were flying? You could still have someone else buy the knife for you. The point is that you can buy a small knife in an airport after you have cleared security and just before you board your flight to many destinations, including the US.
There are many airports that have extra security check stations for flights bound for the US but apparently Zurich is not one of them. I passed gates for flights operated by AA, Delta, United, and other carriers heading to the US and there were no extra metal detectors set up for them.
I realize Switzerland is allowed to do what they want and I also realize that there are non-metal blades that are larger than a Swiss Army knife that people could get on planes. I was just surprised to see that it was so easy to buy a blade and board a US carrier for the US.
Are there other airports where you have seen it possible to buy a knife before boarding?
Featured image is the Swiss Army Explorer that is sold in the shop in the airport. Image is from Victorinox.