People have a lot of questions when it comes to traveling with their knitting and crochet. But, by far and away, the number one question is: Can I take knitting needles on an airplane with me? The short answer is yes, but read on for important details.
TSA Allows Knitting Needles On The Plane
If you’re flying in the United States, then you need to know the TSA rules. When you check their website, the answer is very simple. Can I take knitting needles on an airplane? TSA says yes. They say you can take them in your checked baggage as well as your carry-on luggage.
How to Pack Knitting Needles For the Plane
The TSA rules also provide this reminder:
“Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.”
Therefore, if you’re packing your knitting needles into your checked baggage, then you should follow proper protocol. This simply means making sure the ends aren’t poking out able to hurt someone who might check your bag. This is a good rule of thumb when packing knitting needles in a carry-on as well. Simply use a knitting needle storage bag inside of your larger bag to solve this problem.
What About Sewing Needles, Thread Cutters, Scissors, Etc?
Again, if you’re turning to TSA, the short answer here is yes, you can take these things on board. But there are caveats. TSA reiterates, “In general, you may place your knitting needles and needlepoint tools in carry-on or checked baggage.” Therefore, both your knitting needles and your sewing needles / tapestry needles should be fine.
They add, however, that scissors and thread cutters are a different story. Their official rule is that if scissors are smaller than 4″ then you’re allowed to bring them in your carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, their rule of thumb is that “circular thread cutters or any other cutter or needlepoint tools that contain blades must be placed in checked baggage.” In other words, you probably won’t be able to take those on the plane.
It Depends a Lot What Happens at TSA Security
I know a lot of people who have taken circular thread cutters in their carry-on luggage without any problems. It all really depends on a variety of different factors. While TSA has formal guidelines, the people at the TSA checkpoint have a little bit of discretion when letting you through security. Therefore, you might encounter someone who says that you can’t take your thread cutters or scissors or anything else on board. In fact, despite the official rule, someone might tell you that your knitting needles look dangerous and can’t come on board.
You have the right to ask for a supervisor. When you do, say that you had looked up “can I take knitting needles on an airplane?” and the TSA site says that you can. Bring the page up on your mobile to show them. In most instances, their refusal is a mistake, and the supervisor will let you through.
Tips for Taking Knitting Needles on a Plane
If you want to make it easier on both yourself and the TSA staff, then consider these options:
- Pack bamboo or plastic knitting needles instead of aluminum / metal ones.
- Choose only the needles you need for the flight. Pack the rest in your checked bag if you have one.
- Choose shorter knitting needles such as 4″ DPNs or circulars.
- Wrap them properly in a knitting tool bag.
- Bring children’s scissors with you on the plane. Skip the thread cutter.
- Choose a plastic tapestry needle instead of a metal one.
The answer to “can I take knitting needles on an airplane?” is yes. However, you can make it even easier on yourself by following the above rules.
Can I Take Knitting Needles on an Airplane for International Flights?
This is where things get trickier. Each country has its own rules about what’s allowed in carry-on and checked baggage. Some countries are super flexible. Others are very strict. Therefore, you’ll have to check with the country and airlines you’re flying with when taking knitting needles on international flights. While most people report that they don’t have problems, you just never know. Shiny Happy World reports that knitting needles are allowed on UK and Australian flights but specifically prohibited in Greece and some other EU countries.