Will the TSA allow you to bring knitting needles on an airplane in your carry-on luggage? I’ve got all the answers to this common question!
You guys, this is SUCH a common question: can I bring knitting needles on an airplane? Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve got answers for you. I looked up all the info you need and I’ll keep this post updated to the best of my ability so you always know if it’s ok to put your knitting needles in your carry on luggage!
But first, why are we even asking if you can take knitting needles on a plane?
Since 9/11, airlines cracked down on any items in luggage that could be considered weapons. This is a good thing. And since knitting needles are long and pointy, I know many knitters think twice before bringing them to the airport.
But honestly, an airplane is a GREAT place to knit because you’re basically forced to just sit around doing nothing. It’s ideal knitting time!
I’m going to cover this question in several sections based on where you’re flying, and then at the end I’ve got some great tips and tricks for whatever knitting/airplane/airport situation you find yourself in.
Can I bring knitting needles on an airplane in the US?
Yes, you can! Surprised? Me too! You can put knitting needles in your carry on luggage or your checked bag. They do ask that you make sure they are wrapped (or maybe stuck into your yarn) so that a TSA agent doesn’t poke themselves if they check your bag.
You are also allowed to bring scissors less than 4 inches long as long as they are also sheathed.
Some knitters I know prefer to travel with nail clippers to cut yarn as they’re possibly less likely to cause a bag search when they show up on the x-ray machine.
Can I bring knitting needles on an airplane in Canada?
Also, yes! The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority says you can bring knitting needles of any material on a plane (though I suggest sticking to bamboo or plastic)
On Canadian airlines, scissors must be shorter than 6 cm (2.4 inches) long to be in your carry-on luggage.
Can I bring knitting needles on a plane in Australia?
This answer was a little harder to find but I did find it! Yes, you can bring knitting needles on domestic flights in Australia!
Please note that for Australian flights, scissors must have rounded tips and be shorter than 6 cm (2.4 inches) long.
Can I bring knitting needles on a plane in the UK?
Yep! The UK has the same rules as Canada for both knitting needles and scissors.
What about the rest of the world, can I bring knitting needles on international flights?
This is such a complicated question, I can’t possibly list every country in the world. (I also don’t speak enough languages to read all of their websites!) The EU however, does have general rules that prohibit “sharp items” which seems to leave final decisions up to the discretion of airport security agents.
So here is my advice on when NOT to bring knitting needles on an airplane:
- If you are flying internationally between any countries other than the US, UK, Australia or Canada, don’t bring knitting needles.
- If you are using your grandmother’s precious irreplaceable vintage knitting needles, leave them at home.
- If you do not speak the language of the country you are traveling through and won’t be able to talk with security agents, don’t bring your knitting needles.
Here are some tips and tricks to make sure your knitting needles make it through airport security:
The tricky part of this question is that often the knitty-gritty nuts and bolts of airport security is left up to the discretion of individual airport security officers. Even in the US or Canada there are stories of people who were not allowed to bring knitting needles through security. So what should you do if you go through airport security and they tell you can’t keep your knitting needles?
- BEFORE you go to the airport, add stitch markers and a lifeline to your knitting project. Just do it. Even if you don’t have a problem in security, your project might get jostled around in your bag and you don’t want a bunch of dropped stitches!
- BE NICE! The golden rule never hurts, especially in tense customer service situations like airport security. No one likes airport security, don’t make it worse by being grumpy or argumentative.
- Visit the airport security websites I’ve listed above, print the page that says knitting needles are allowed, and put it in your knitting project bag. It’s possible some security agents may not know that rule!
- Pack bamboo or plastic knitting needles that won’t look menacing on the x-ray machine.
- Pack CHEAP knitting needles so if you lose them you won’t be upset.
- Choose short circular knitting needles instead of long pointy straight needles. Long metal straight knitting needles may look alarming on an x-ray machine! Don’t forget, you can always use circular needles for straight knitting projects.
- Consider asking to speak with a supervisor. IF you have the printed copy of the Transportation Security Administration rules with you and the situation has remained calm and polite, consider asking to speak with a supervisor to show them the rule. This may earn you a pat-down inspection though, just be prepared.
What should I do if my knitting needles are confiscated?
Let it go. Seriously, it’s not worth missing your flight. And because you listened to me and you did NOT pack your super valuable heirloom knitting needles and you DID add a lifeline to your project before you went to the airport, you can just pull those knitting needles out of your project, hand them over and go on with your day. The lifeline will save your place and prevent your knitting project from being ruined.
At this point you can either just not knit during your trip (not realistic for some of us, ha!), or you can use this as an excuse to find a fabulous local yarn store at your destination! (Just be prepared, you may have to surrender the new needles again on the way back home, consider mailing them back to yourself instead).
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