One of the season’s most frequently asked questions is, “can I take my knitting needles on a plane?” The short answer is, YES! You are allowed to check and/or carry on your knitting needles – bamboo, metal, or otherwise – on domestic flights in the United States. This is a good thing, because airports and airplanes provide some of the best distraction-free knitting opportunities. Plus, knitting passes the time, can be a conversation starter, and is something to do when everyone else has to power down during take off.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, knitting needles and crochet hooks are approved carry on items. Sewing needles and safety pins can also come aboard, as can scissors less than 4″. But you will have to check circular cutters or any cutters with a blade. TSA suggests to securely wrap any pointy/sharp objects placed in your checked baggage to prevent injury to baggage handlers or inspectors.
You can read more about what sharp and pointy knitting tools are and aren’t allowed here. You can also send a picture of your items in question to the TSA team via Facebook Messenger or Twitter. They will quickly answer your questions (we tested it out for you….see below!) on weekdays from 8:00 am – 10:00 pm EST.
Thanks for reaching out! Knitting needles & other knitting accessories are allowed in carry-on bags. Pls read: https://t.co/bWiAOg7suY
— AskTSA (@AskTSA) December 6, 2017
Traveling internationally? Best to check with the airline you will be traveling with, as different countries have different rules.
TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR KNITTING NEEDLES
- Have it in writing. Knitting needles as approved carry on items is not new, but with the holidays comes new hires and increased travel chaos. If you and your needles get hassled by a TSA agent, pull up the TSA’s official statement approving your pointy tools. Bookmark this page on your phone so you can reference it at a moment’s notice: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/knitting-needles
- Bring a lifeline. It happens; rules change. Instead of getting mad (remember, TSA has your safety and best interest in mind), keep your cool and place your live stitches on a stitch holder before you hand over your needles. This reusable stitch holder from Cocoknits is the perfect tool to get the job done.
- Don’t travel with your favorite needles. In the event that you have to forfeit your needles, or accidentally lose your project bag (it happens!), ensure that you’re not losing your favorite pair. Travel with a cheaper pair that doesn’t have sentimental value.
- Invest in point protectors. For two reasons. First, so that your stitches don’t fall of the needle during the hustle and bustle of traveling. And second, so you don’t poke yourself when you blindly reach into a bag or toss stuff on your airplane chairs. This knitter (yes, me) accidentally sat on a double point needle and the result was a very sore tush from the puncture wound.
- Choose circular needles instead of double points. There are a lot of great “pros” in the Magic Loop method column, but “great for on-the-go knitting” is in the top spot. Double points are so easily lost. It’s a bummer to lose one around the house, let alone when you’re on an adventure and it’s the only set of needles you have with you.