Airline Travel Info for Knitters

comments (11) February 9th, 2009     

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Tina_Hilton Tina Hilton, contributor
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Bamboo needles are the safest bet.

Bamboo needles are the safest bet.

Photo: Tina Hilton

Planning your vacation and wondering if you can get your knitting needles through airport security? Yes you can with a few caveats. Over the past year,  I've had no problems with my knitting paraphernalia traveling around the US. In Paris, they throughly searched my knitting bag and waved me through intact. In London, officers searched and seized all my newly purchaed Addi Turbo needles but let me keep the bamboo DPN's! This was disturbing since I was a two inches into my first two socks at a time Magic Loop project and had to put all the hard won stitches on holders! Rats!

According to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) policy, knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage.  However, there is a chance that needles can be perceived as a possible weapon by a  TSA Security Officer.  Officers have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow it to pass through security.  That means they will take them away from you, never to be seen again!

Here is what TSA suggests when bring knitting needles on an airplane: 

  • Circular knitting needles are recommended to be less than 31 inches in total length 
    They recommend that the needles be made of bamboo or plastic (Not metal (like Addi Turbo needles)
  • Scissors must have blunt points
  • In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security, they 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.
  • Most of the items for your knitting 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.  They will be fine in your checked baggage.

If you are traveling internationally, check with the airline you are flying for more information. If you are like me, flying is knitting nirvanna so you want to be certain that you will not be left without the tools to work on your project.

posted in: TSA knitting needle regulations, knitting on airplanes, knitting needles through security

Comments (11)

catsrcats1 writes: These same rules apply when you are sight-seeing at many national monuments that require transportation, such as the ferry to the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York.
Posted: 8:48 pm on December 1st
judyv writes: I have found that using circular cables with removable bamboo needles works well when traveling. I unscrew the needles and leave my knitting on the cable with stops placed on the ends. I have never been questioned at either domestic or international flights and can happily knit as I travel from one place to another. I will remember to place an envelope in my kit before the next flight, just in case...
Posted: 8:38 am on November 23rd
Cecelia4silk writes: Thanks for the awareness- I travel domestic and international quite a lot, never had a problem .The smaller the airport they are more cautious and more likely to stop you- regardless it is a great idea to have a SAE not just for needles.
Posted: 7:37 pm on March 20th
MaggieBelize writes: Thanks for the post! I've not yet had any needles confiscated, not even a wicked-looking hooked metal cable needle (!!). Knock on wood. But I do carry a SASE just in case, and duplicate needles in my checked luggage.

For my last international flight, I went even farther: I put rubber pencil erasers on my wooden DPNs. Made 'em look more innocent, I thought.
Posted: 11:41 am on March 7th
SMVG writes: Tina,
I am traveling overseas and based upon the uncertainty I will mail my stuff ahead of time. Thanks for bringing this up.
Posted: 11:44 am on February 21st
PoochPal writes: It is a great idea to be prepared with a self-addressed envelop just in case. I have not had a challenge in carrying on small circular needles. I took a necklace charm thread cutter instead of scissors. Maybe we could start a 'Mile-High Knitting Group'... Sorry to hear folks lost projects and tools.
Posted: 11:10 am on February 18th
OrahLee writes: I wonder who might have access to all those in-progress projects? Might give me a head start on something, even if I had to finish with a contrasting color. LOL.
Posted: 12:29 pm on February 16th
jessajune writes: I always try to fly with wooden needles, and I haven't had any trouble so far. A chat in a yarn store a few weeks ago with a random knitter let me know that it doesn't always work, even so - it really is up to the individual agent. She lost her needles flying out of Paris, much to her chagrin. I'll definitely be carrying a self-addressed envelope from now on!
Posted: 11:46 am on February 12th
sarabee writes: Thanks so much... I've always wondered, but never taken the risk... after watching a friend slightly impale herself after sitting on a set of metal needles (ouch! I was the one to pull it out!!!) I always thought they could be considered dangerous weapons... :)
Posted: 9:18 am on February 10th
MichaelaMurphy writes: Hey Tina,
Thanks for this--I have never had a problem with taking my knitting on domestic flights and as for overseas--it has depended on the country. I do wish that I'd had a self addressed envelope a few years back when I lost my project to Heathrow security--ugh!

Posted: 9:24 pm on February 9th
Jen_W writes: Thanks for the info, Tina!
Posted: 8:25 pm on February 9th
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