Travel News

Did Zurich Airport Finally Stop Allowing Knives to Be Sold Past Security?

Written by Charlie

Did Zurich Airport finally stop allowing knives to be sold after security and just before boarding US-bound flights? It appears so on my latest trip.

I have flown through Zurich Airport more than a few times (great airport, by the way!) and have always been surprised that they continued to sell their Swiss Army knives past security and just before passengers board flights for the US.

Did Zurich Airport Finally Stop Allowing Knives to Be Sold Past Security?

Now, I understand that, for Switzerland, selling Swiss Army knives is like selling their awesome Swiss chocolate – it is great thing for tourists to buy to take home with them. Also, I recognize that a country can make the rules for what is and isn’t allowed to be sold at airports.

However, for flights that are bound for the US, that decision of what to sell past security and before US flights is not really up to the host country. While it is, the US could prevent flights from having direct access to the US if they don’t abide by security standards that are set up. For US-bound flights, that means no knives. (I will say that is somewhat ironic considering how many tests the TSA fails in this regard!)

knives at airports

Knives that were for sale at the Zurich Airport a few months ago.

Yet, at Zurich Airport for quite a while, it was possible to buy knives up to 3-3.5 inches in blade length and to do so with a boarding pass for New York. After that point, there was no further security/metal detector check (except random security checks at the gates but they do not check a person’s pockets) and a passenger can walk right on the plane with the knife. In fact, on one flight earlier this year, that is what happened.

Knives No Longer Sold at Zurich Airport Past Security?

This past week, I was flying SWISS to JFK again and popped in that same shop (as I do every time I fly through there) and could not find the knives anywhere. I am not sure if they no longer sell them or if they have them behind a counter and only sell them to passengers not flying to the US. That still isn’t a foolproof security procedure (since it would be easy enough to have someone else buy it for you) but it is better than just offering them for sale out in the open.

It was always just a little strange to me that I had to confirm at online check-in that I was not carrying any sharp/pointed objects on board in my carryon but I could go ahead and buy such an item before boarding!

knives airport

The confirmation page at check-in with SWISS that you are not carrying any dangerous items onboard

Have you noticed if Zurich Airport has stopped the knife sales or did they just make it harder to buy them?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • At ZRH, knives with blades up to 6cm in length are permitted to be taken through security. They can and continue to be sold both landside and airside – perhaps the store you visited was out. Many others still have them.

    The same 6cm rule also applies in all EU countries – which is just as well given that there are “clean” airside transfers without additional security checks if you fly, say, ZRH-FRA-JFK.

    The US authorities are clearly aware of this, and it is amply documented in the passenger guidelines published by Zurich Airport, the German Bundespolizei etc.

    • I am aware of the 6cm rule but still find it odd that TSA will not allow such a blade through but has no problems allowing passengers to fly direct to the US with such blades. Not only that, but why does SWISS make you confirm you are not even bringing a sharp object on board for US flights if you can just buy them?
      Maybe it was out but I had not even noticed a place for them anymore? Thanks for the additional info, though!