Traveling and Knitting

Have any of you guys had experience in air travel and knitting - especially with the new restrictions.

I am going to be traveling on some long flights - over 11 hours and would love to knit to make the time go by. I have wooden circular needles where the circle is plastic. I have a cutting tool that passes as its all enclosed.

My questions:
Do you have trouble getting through security with the projects?
Are you too embarassed to knit on the plane?
Does the tight space on the plane just make it not worth the effort?

I did it once on a trip to India and got a ton of knitting done - but it was pre 9/11 and I still got lots of stares from the other passengers.

Let me know if you have had any experience in this area.

By the way - I just found this web site and I'm addicted - you guys are serious knitters and I realize I have much to learn.


MMario's picture

I haven't had any problems - but that was all domestic flights.
MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Welcome to the site and thanks for asking this question. I will be taking several long trips this Spring and was wondering the same thing. Oh, and in regard to people watching...let em watch and learn how to be an interesting, well rounded, authentic human being!!

I have had some problems flying into England and around Europe. A lot depends of the airline. One airline I have used would not allow any knitting needles in the cabin.

grandcarriage's picture

What airline didn't allow needles in the cabin?

It's an English airline that flies all over Europe - name of Ryanair. I won't be using them again, but some of the short haul inter Europe airlines can be a bit touchy also. Mostly it's getting them past security.

michaelpthompson's picture

Ryanair is actually an Irish airline, not English. They are famous for their steeply discounted fares (they often have special sales of seats at €10), and all the extra fees they charge to make up the difference. They actually proposed a fee for using the onboard toilets earlier this spring. The PR was so great afterward, that they held a contest for suggestions of additional fees. Some of the best were:

· Charging for toilet paper – with [Ryanair CEO Michael] O’Leary’s face on it,
· Charging €2.50 to read the safety cards,
· Charging €1 to use oxygen masks,
· Charging €25 to use the emergency exit,
· Charging €50 for bikini clad Cabin Crew.

They certain have a sense of humour about the whole thing, as illustrated by this informational placard that has been circulating for some time, and is posted on their web site.

> We are sorry, but the spam filter on this site decided that
> your submission could be spam. Please fill in the CAPTCHA below
> to get your submission accepted.

"All knitting is just one stitch at a time."

StuartWS's picture

The FSA website specifically mentions knitting needles as non-restricted items. I've kntted on a few flights and never been harassed. My philosphy is "If I don't treat it like a big deal, it doesn't become a big deal". Good luck to you!


(BTW--I'm a native Hosutoninan)

MMario's picture

It's getting them through security in the first place that is the problem, from what I understand - most of the stories I've heard is not being allowed to carry them on - not that there were objections once on the plane.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

I've never had any problems flying domestic USA, to Europe or Israel, or within Europe (Netherlands, Germany, Poland). The only comment I've ever had from fellow travelers (post 9/11) was regarding security letting me take the knitting along. I've often used wooden needles. Once a stewardess brought out her knitting and asked me to show her how to bind off.

kylewilliam's picture

I always bring knitting with me on planes - no sissors (either break the yarn or use the little cutter meadllion thingy from clover) - and I *always* use bamboo circulars on a plane - that way I don't worry about dropping one of the needles, and the wood needles packed in my carryon look like pencils on an ex ray (sort of) - I have never thought of it as a big deal, and it has never been a problem for me on the flights I have been on (which have all recently been domestic) -

err on the side of caution - no metal finishing needles, no metal knitting needles (straight metal needles might be taken) - and no sissors... you'll be fine :)



steve kadel's picture

i am in trnsit now and have flown domestic and international from 9/11 on with knitting always. i wouldn't fly without them and have never had a problem. i take needle ends to calm any nerves and don't bring scissors, but i almost always carry metal needles

we put birds on things

grandcarriage's picture

I use a brand called "Daisy": They are plastic circulars, and usually pastel coloured needles in orange, yellow, pink (gag) blue, or green...depending on the gauge of the needle.... They look very innocent. Once I was made to exhibit my ability to the security as they didn't believe that I knit. LOL.

Still, I don't know that I could fly abroad without knitting. It keeps my anxiety in check. Knitting or heavy sedation...I prefer knitting.... expecially if I was flying across the ocean.

Gandarufu's picture

Hahaha, i would have love to see you demonstrate your knitting skills at the scurity check :) I hope the security guy was deeply impressed? :))

PaxKnitter's picture

Here's the link to the TSA's (Transportation Security Administration) information about knitting needles.

I particularly like this recommendation :

In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security it is recommended that you carry a self addressed envelope so that you can mail your tools back to yourself as opposed to surrendering them at the security check point.



Gandarufu's picture

Thanks for the tip with the self addressed envelope.

Last time I took needles on a flight, I also added a life-line to the project. so i could save the project just in case they denied the needles...

MWK - Houston's picture

Guys - thanks for all the feedback - sounds like I need to pick up some platice circular needles and get the courage up to actual knit on the flights!

montanason's picture

I have traveled on domestic flights and taken my knitting. I was working on socks so I have several pairs of wooden double points. I had no problems at all. I have been told that metal needles may raise a flag but plastic and wooden should be fine. I agree with the advice of having a self addressed/ stamped envelope with you just in case. I would rather mail my things to me than give them up. The calm that my knitting gives me so outweighs the stares that people give. Most of the time they are just curious about what you are creating. I've had several wonderful conversations with people that were inspired to start again.
I will traveling to Copenhagen and Paris this fall so will be curious to see how it works for me. Good luck and enjoyable knitting. Let us all know how it turns out for you.
Phillip Rolfe

Kerry's picture

Knitting needles are a problem if you are flying within Australia, or leaving an Australian airport to go overseas.

rmbm612's picture

I have traveled three times within the last three years to Western Europe through Amsterdam, Paris,
Budapest, Romania, and Munich on Northwest, Lufthansa, a Hungarian carrier and KLM. I always carry Turbo circulars and a small blunt scissors with me and have never been search or questioned. As far as circulars go I don't carry anything longer than 40" and don't take more than 2 sets. I also am up front and take the knitting out of my carry on and put the bag holding the knitting in the bin in plain sight along with shoes etc. I've never has anything confiscated or had my carry-on searched. I would agree that carrying a self addressed envelop and a length of yarn to save the stitches if for some reason the needles were confiscated is good advice. Domestically, I've never had an issue. And I knit openly on the plane on both domestic and international flights. I have had many interesting conversations too about knitting. And who cares if someone stares or makes some comment. Chances are pretty good that you won't ever see each other again.

Up to a year ago, everything was fine. I knitted on flights whenever I could and wanted to. On one occasion I got an odd look from another passenger, but I reckoned that that was his problem, not mine. On other occasions I had some very enjoyable chats with other passengers and also with some of the stewardesses.

Since then, British Airways have become a lot tougher/stricter. Flying to America from England, and needles of any sort (including wooden ones) are strictly out. Just last week I flew to Berlin from London. I was assured by the check in staff (who even checked with someone in security, or so they said) that security would allow me my wooden needles on board. Alas, no! The alarm went off, and I had to go back and check in my needles too... I am not sure about American Domestic flights, but certainly BA, and on one occasion American Airlines said no very firmly.

Conclusion: Flying to and from England could be a problem, as could flying with certain English airlines.

hsfg's picture

No prob's here...
I travel alot. I carry my laptop and a breif case . The wooden needles look like pencils.
The laptop I use in flight to design patterns and re-chart lace . I get stares when I knit, but I usually do. I'm usually in a suit ( I leave the Armani at home though!)...then I pull out the knitting . Ha,ha !
The reaction....PRICELESS !

mrossnyc's picture

No problems on any flights leaving the US - domestic or international. I only knit with circulars, and have flown with bamboo and metal, and have taken several sets of needles with me when I was working on a sweater swatch. I also fly with round-tipped (safety) scissors without any problem.

Flying back to the US or within other countries, I find that the regulations vary too much and pack my knitting in my checked baggage.

I don't get that many looks and when I do, I really don't care. If anyone asks, it's usually the flight attendants and they're just curious what I'm making. The best look was when I cut a sweater steek on a flight and the guy that had been watching me bugged his eyes out when he saw me cutting through my knitting.