Flying with Needles

Just wanted to know what experiences people have had getting onto a plane with their knitting.  I have heard that wooden needles are okay but the metal ones are not.  I would hate to get to a gate and have them say I can't take it on.  Thanks!


Knit away, knit away

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I flew to London on American Airlines & knitted all the way across the Atlantic. Coming back was a differient matter. The check in agent advised to put my knitting in the hold. Even though I used bamboo.
I think it's easier domestic. Transatlantic is still a bit nervous.
after checking in at JFK i had to unpack my carry on because I had my laptop & the security guard said nothing about my knitting.

"They say best men are moulded out of faults; and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

JPaul's picture

I've flown to and from Mexico with metal double-pointed needles (size 5's) in my carry-on without any problems.

Below is a link to the Transportation Security Administration's (part of the US Dept of Homeland Security) list of Permitted and Prohibited Items aboard flights that originate in the US.  As you can see, knitting needles are listed as Permitted in both carry-on and checked luggage.

Of couse, that doesn't mean they can't take them away.  The document actually leaves it up to individual screeners to take away permitted items if they feel they are dangerous.  It's interesting to contemplate whether knitting needles are more dangerous in a man's carry-on vs a woman's, or in my carry-on vs. yours, Billbear.

Like I said, I didn't have any problems.  I had the list printed out and in my carry-on, just in case.  Maybe you could make sure you have knitting in progress on your needles, even if it's just a swatch.  That way, you can dazzle them with your skills if they need convincing.  And pack an extra set of needles in your checked luggage.

I'm pretty certain that you can't fly to or from any EU country with any sharp object.  They are really hot about it and search and scan everything. I've always had to put my knitting in my hold luggage.  I once even had nail clippers removed from my hand (ha ha) luggage.  As if I could possibly 'clip' the cabin crew to death...

Billbear's picture

JPaul, I did actually consider whether they would treat a woman carrying knitting on differently than a man carrying it on and thought, "I wonder if they would actually make me show them I KNOW how to knit?".  Thanks for the link to the TSA.

venneman's picture

Having flown twice with knitting needles, I say go for it. Two tips, though: One, have something knit on the needles. If you can, go halfway through a row, so you have something on both needles. That shows the screeners that you won't pull one out & knit the flight attendant to death. (Of course, no self-respecting terrorist would risk losing all the work on that lovely wool hat for a measly trip to heaven!) Second, have an envelope ready to go, big enough to ship your knitting home. This is a precaution, as I've been told that some airports are stricter than others. I've only flown from relatively small airports, but if you're departing from LaGuardia, Atlanta, O'Hare, etc., you'd be well advised to have something on-hand. Also, knitting on a long flight is a great way to get that hot flight attendant to stop for a little conversation...


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I fly very frequently and I almost always have Addi Turbos in a size 0 or 1 (sock knitting) in my carry on. I've never been stopped or even questioned. I've only done this within the US. I also carry folding scissors in my bag and nobody has said a word. This is actually scary if you think about it.