On domestic flights, Sikh travellers are permitted to travel with kirpans. The entire length of the 'Kirpan' should not be more than 22.86 CMs (9 inches), and the blade length should not be more than 15.24 CMs. Airlines may require you to check your weapon in if it exceeds the maximum size limit.
For international flights, all sharp objects must be removed from your possession before boarding. If you do not have the required tools on you, you will need to contact the airline before boarding to request an exemption. Some airlines may allow you to bring your own tooling while others require you to use their supplied tool. Any knife can be used as long as it is not deemed a dangerous item under local laws.
The decision on what items to allow on board an aircraft is up to the carrier but most allow knives with blades that cannot be deployed in an instant. This includes folding knives, utility knives, and even some military-style knives. They also may ask you to leave laptops, tablets, and other large items behind when checking out baggage.
If you decide to take your knife on board, just like any other piece of luggage, you will be provided with a tag to label it. You should also include the word "Kirpan" on this tag in at least one of the languages accepted by the airline.
Sikhs wear the kirpan as a sign of their faith. Jagmeet Singh, from Wolverhampton, described being reported for carrying a knife at Gatwick Airport when picking up his family as "disappointing." The airport stated that carrying a kirpan and blades up to 6 cm (2.36 in) was at the discretion of supervisors. "I believe that if I am a good person then my act of wearing a kirpan will not be found out by anyone and if it is then it wouldn't matter because I would be ready to give my life for my religion," said Singh.
There are several stories behind the origin of the kirpan. Some say it was given to Guru Nanak by God himself. Others say it was a sword used by his predecessor, Angad Bedi. Still others claim it's a ceremonial dagger used by priests during ceremonies.
What matters is not how old the kirpan is but what it stands for. The simple act of wearing the knife shows that you are willing to sacrifice yourself for others. This is what makes a Sikh - strong, courageous, and willing to sacrifice anything for what they believe in.
"The transport of blades, including kirpans and knives smaller than 6 cm in length, is at the discretion of the airport manager," it stated.
However, the manager may ask you to leave them behind if they feel like it can be done safely. If this happens, you will need to provide your own knife or scissors for shaving.
Knives are not allowed on planes, trains, or buses either in hand luggage or checked baggage. However, these rules are not enforced by airports, train stations, or bus terminals. If you want your knives to reach their destination unharmed, you should leave them at home.
However, if you have a medical requirement for carrying a knife, then you should consult with your doctor before traveling to find out what type of knife would be appropriate for you. For example, some people are advised not to travel with anything more than 3 mm thick because surgeons use thinner knives than others.
Also, don't forget to declare any knives you are carrying to the check-in staff. They will be able to advise you on whether your equipment meets with airline requirements.