Lost Needles

Well it finally happened. I was coming home from Mexico yesterday and the Security people opened my bag and found my knitting needles. They were plastic so I thought I was ok - they didn't think the same way. I thought my Spanish was pretty bad but once I got started I was babbling away in Spanish about how I have come through that airport many times and have never had a problem and how they were plastic and that was permitted. Oh well they took them any way. Luckliy they were detachable so I was able to keep my knitting on the cord. What a bummer.

What's worse is I got to the gate and a woman was knitting. I just had to go ask her if she had a problem getting through security. She was knitting on Bamboo and said they didn't even check her bag - then she showed me a pair she had in metal and still no problem.

I went to my LYS to replace the needles yesterday and they thought maybe it was a guy thing - that it looked odd to see a man with knitting needles.

Next trip is Monday and I'm going to put the detachables in my briefcase with my pens and see if they can find them. Monday is a 5 hour flight and I'll be so bummed if I can't knit.


scottly's picture

Yes, it all becoming more difficult. If you can have a bomb in your underpants, knitting needles in the right hands can be considered deadly weapons. I've only flown with bamboo and never had a problem actually lots of flght attendants knit too. It's probably going to be an airport by airport or flight by flight thing for awhile.

MathewGnagy's picture

Having done quite a bit of Travel, I have found two things...if the tips come off the cord, leave them off the cord until you are on the plane...to the dumb x-ray machine, they look like pencils, or some type of writing instrument. Secondly, I have found that its perfectly easy to leave the US with knitting needles in the bag, but coming back in is much trickier. I always use plastic needles and I ALWAYS have decent conversation with the airline people about my prject before...i double check at every possible location, with cops, with attendants, and baggage handlers. Anyone I can...so that by the time i get to the gate...some is ready to vouch for my lack of terrorist tendencies and gee....isn't that a neat sweater he's knitting?

All this checking as paid off a couple of times when I still had the big luggage nearby to stuff the knitting into...the long international flights...SUCH a drag without something to do with your hands....meanwhile...they serve the food with metal utensils on the plane...hmmm. There was sexism going on there! For sure!



Take light into dark places

Take light into dark places

PaulJMC's picture

that sucks!

I heard that in Australia they wer going to allow knitting needles back on flights but I have been too scared to risk it!

lucky you could keep the work live!


In cielo non c'e vino...beviamolo sulla terra!

NonStopAndrew's picture

I was in Australia in 2007 and didn't have any problems, have things changed? I took two sets of metal 9's and one set of bamboo, and no one said a thing. I knit most of my flight from LA to Sydney, then later from Sydney to Melbourne, Adelaide to Sydney, and Sydney to LA again. A scarf and a sock were the result, so time well spent.

KnitMark's picture

Coming through Heathrow in 2008 I was stopped by security for knitting needles in my carryon. They were acting like I had to be a terrorist. When I pointed out there were several people in the waiting area knitting, they responded, "but they're women." I actually had to stand there and knit for them to convince them that the needles were mine.

Tallguy's picture

No matter what the regulations are, it's all up to the security person at the gate. And if he takes a dislike to you, there is nothing anyone can say to change his mind (if he has one). Use bamboo for travel knitting (as if that makes any difference), and stash the rest in your luggage. Or take some books to study new patterns, or do some finishing on your knitting. Or sleep.

RickMartin's picture

Trust me - knitting needles in my hands are deadly weapons. I can kill a sweater in no time and don't get me started about the deadly affect I have on a stockinette stitch!


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

You have my condolences. Mathew's advice makes good sense. I have always made a point of following up with the carrier but will now know to beware some twit at security being silly. [Especially if I travel out of the country.] Good Heavens...I wouldn't dare risk my needles trying to hurt anyone [well, maybe in a life-or-death situation] but a silly pencil can be a lethal weapon if you want it to be. Sexism may have played a hand as well. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Mnjack's picture

I share your misery. I just came back from Guatemala today and in Guatemala they took my needles. I have traveled all over and this is the first time this has happened. I tried to tell them that I had brought them into Guatemala on a plane, why couldn't I leave with them ? No luck. I was working on a lace scarf, fortunately not much done and just told them to keep everything. There was no way I would be able to pick up all the stitches and I was almost out of yarn.

The thing that really made me mad was that they let me carry on my hiking stick, which would be a much more lethal weapon than a small knitting needle. I will try the needles that come apart next time. I was planning on taking knitting to France in May but we are coming back through Amsterdam and they have always been tough. Has anyone had any experience getting knitting needles through there ?

grandcarriage's picture

I pack Daisy brand circulars: Plastic and pastel colours. It's kind of hard to be threatened by baby-pink plastic needles with a sweater on them.

The only time I had trouble was a flight attendant (a woman) who told me that I couldn't sit in the evacuation row and knit. I told her, that if we needed to USE the evacuation row, there were much greater problems than my knitting. Another flight attendant (a knitter, of course) told the first attendant that my knitting was fine. I think it was just sexism or homophobia.

ronhuber's picture

I have circular needles that I buy at yard sales and take them with me. Usually work on a scarf. I travel through the States to Canada and they have been taken 75% of the time - usually in the American part of the trip. They only cost 50 cents so no great loss. As Tallguy says, it is all up to the security person that makes minimum wage. Rather scary is it not??

Hmmm...thanks for the heads up guys! I am making a move to Alaska in a month and with this being my first time flying and a 15hr. flight I definitly planned on knitting! TSA says this:

Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage.

Items needed to pursue a Needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside which cannot go through the checkpoint and must go in your checked baggage.

Delta Airlines is who I am gonna fly through and they say it's ok. But, like it was said before, it is all up to the big guy or gal that has been standing all day checkin' bags to say yea or nea....hmmmm.....gotta get me a backup plan. Wonder if a Knifty Knitter would be allowed? What am I gonna possibly do with that? Choke somebody out with the loop or poke them in the eye with a peg? LOL...gonna figure something out though.