Has this ever happened to you?
You’re flying to your son’s house the day before Thanksgiving. You accidentally sleep in and have to skip the coffee and speed to get to the airport on time. Unfortunately, there is already a huge line of people waiting to get through security. You grumpily trudge through the sluggish line, looking forward to when you can finally sit down on the plane and continue knitting your granddaughter’s Christmas sweater.
At last, you reach the front. You place your carry-on bag on the conveyor belt, walk through the metal detector, and freeze. The TSA agent is slowly pulling your knitting needles out of your bag. You start to panic, thinking, Can you bring knitting needles on a plane? Are they going to arrest me? Am I going to jail for the rest of my life? I hope they don’t give me a jumpsuit – orange isn’t my color!
But the agent simply inspects the needles, smiles at you, returns them to your bag, and says, “Have a nice flight.” Wait, what?
Can You Bring Knitting Needles on a Plane?
It turns out that knitting needles are allowed on airplanes, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA says they understand that knitting is a soothing way to pass the time during a long flight, so knitting needles and crochet hooks are acceptable.
It’s good to keep in mind, however, that the TSA can always confiscate something from your carry-on bag if it looks potentially dangerous, so you may not want to fly with your best set of knitting needles. Remember, the TSA is there to keep everyone safe. If the agent questions you about your needles, be polite, and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Here are some knitting travel tips to help you get through airport security smoothly and to keep your important knitting projects safe:
Bring plastic or bamboo needles on your trip. Large metal knitting needles may be seen as potential weapons to some TSA agents, and you don’t want to chance it.
Wind your yarn before you go and put it in a plastic bag so it won’t get tangled in your carry-on luggage.
Pack your needles and yarn in a clear pencil case or makeup bag to keep them safe. Make sure you place this case in a bin on the conveyor belt as you pa
ss through security so that the agents can easily see what you are bringing on the plane.
If you need to bring craft scissors, make sure they have blunt edges and are less than four inches long (child scissors are a good option). Thread cutters, however, are not allowed on airplanes.
Because TSA can seize anything they find threatening, don’t bring anything on a flight that you don’t want to lose. Keep your favorite knitting needles at home and bring some cheaper ones on the plane.
If a TSA agent pulls you aside because of your needles, politely explain why you have them and what they’re for. Above all, be nice.
Check the TSA’s official list of prohibited items before you travel, as the policy may be updated before you go. Also make sure to check the prohibited items for each country you’ll be visiting if you are flying internationally.