Official airplane rules for knitting needles

I know there are already some threads on this, but I thought it might be easier to find if I started a new thread. The deal is this: the TSA has knitting needles on their list of acceptable items to take in your carry-on luggage WITH THE CAVEAT that any security officer at any point of inspection may use their discretion and tell you that you can’t. So just beware. My advice is to take cheap needles with you in case they confiscate them and carry extras in your checked baggage. Here is their official statement on the matter:

Great link! I know that these regulations change fairly regularly and so it’s good to have the link to keep up to date…

Thank you so much for this info- I am leaving next month from the states to London, Paris, and Lucerne & fully intended to bring whatever needles I wanted with whatever isn’t done for the travel time. Last I checked, knitting needles were allowed period with no caveat. I was debating taking my metal straights since I didn’t want my harmony wood ones broken- now I am considering not taking the wood either lest they be confiscated. (and the return envelope would work- if I am having a problem leaving the US- but not much help in another country without first knowing proper stamps, etc.)

Can anyone share their recent experience, especially internationally? Usually security is much tighter with US than with other countries. (note to self, do not bring up harrowing customs experience in Detriot wherein you were asked why the underwire to your bra was bent while being searched…)


Security is very tight in London, you could probably fly in with them but maybe not out again - check the security rules at the actual airport you’re using online.

I’m sorry to say that I too have had an altercation with a British official at Gatwick. I flew out of Minneapolis and into Gatwick with little 4" scissors. No one said a word on the way into England. 1 month later on my way home one of the security people tried to confiscate those very little scissors. I stepped out of line and said, very nicely, I brought the scissors into England and didn’t want to lose them. I was told that if they fit in your outstretched hand and were no longer than 4" that you could carry them. I said “please” go and get a ruler and measure these". I had a ruler in my purse, but didn’t want to use that one…I was scared and upset. So he did just that. Came back with a ruler…measured my scissors …and waved me on through. I never challenge authority and was shaking in my shoes, but I’m glad to say I still have my little scissors!!! I make a trip to England once a year and hope they don’t put me on their “bad American to watch out for list”. Constance

YAY, Constance! I’m glad you did challenge them. And won! I think I would take cheap needles if I flew. I would hate to lose good ones!

Two years ago mom flew from Atlanta to Germany with metal crochet hooks no problem however she only carried one of those little disc thread cutters, no scissors.

I flew last summer to Alaska was non stop from Atlanta to Anchorage we were allowed any kind of knitting needles … pretty strange IMO I certainly think I could do more damage with a pair of options than nail snips.

IMO check with all the airlines you will be flying on right before you leave preferably print out list of permitted items and carry that with you , I did just in case they wanted my needles.

On another note, I got called to Jury Duty and the thought of sitting all day waiting for my name to be called without my knitting made me shake. So I went ahead and took my knitting bag but only my bambo needles. The HLS officer told me that wood or bambo needles are allowed but not metal. Wood makes it through the metal detectors so they consider them safe.

Not sure if this is the official word but it worked for me.

So Constance,
are you from Minneapolis?
If so, small world, bec. I just flew up there last week!
Karen G
in GA

I guess they figure you can’t do much damage with a bamboo/wood needles. I’ve got some metal needles with some sharp points.

ThisIrish website states that knitting needles are not allowed in the restricted area of an Irish airport or on any aircraft [B]leaving[/B] an EU airport.

And as a personal experience, although I didn’t have knitting needles with me, the security in Paris was tougher than any security I’ve gone through in Boston. Had to show my liquid bag, carry on was x-rayed AND searched, I was patted down and I had to take my sleeping baby out of his sling (no buckles, no metal, just fabric tied with a knot). I didn’t think I was that crazy looking… :wink: Good Luck!

The ex-ray and scans can’t pick up any type of wood. I took some N#17 and they didn’t even know they were in my purse. We are talking [B]Buffy[/B] [B]the[/B] [B]Vampire[/B] [B]Slayer[/B] stakes! :slight_smile: I took kid scissors with the rounded ends and they checked them:???: I am heading out Sat. with wood and plastic and a pendent cutter.:teehee: Hope this helps.

I recently flew domesticly on Qantas, and knitting needles of any material are considered deadly weapons.
Yeah, Right. Me sitting bored for an hour is a deadly weapon. Seriously, I get that some metal needles have Pointy tips and would make a great shank-So have a size and material limit. those thin plastic needles that are bendy would be very hard to cause damage with.

In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security it is 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.

You know, this could be a pretty good idea and I think I’ll follow it from this point forward. Except… have you ever seen a mailbox at an airport? Would the security guard(s) take the envelope and drop it in the mail for you? I’m not sure I recall ever seeing a mailbox, but I was never looking for one… :think:

I had jury duty a few weeks ago. I was working on a scarf and didn’t want to stop. I’m glad I didn’t take it with me as there was a sign by the metal detectors that said knitting needles were not permitted. I read a whole book (I read way too fast) while I sat there!

I think that you could do some serious damage to a very passive person with knitting needles but that most folks could fight you off before you did much! And you could only hurt one person while the others ganged up on you. Silly!

In case a Security Officer does not allow your knitting tools through security it is 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.

I often wondered about this. The Atlanta Airport (I noticed last time I picked someone up, after reading some previous thread on the topic), has a post office right in the airport–OUTSIDE the security area. So, I’m guessing that if I wanted to mail something back, I’d have to leave security, go mail it and come back to the line–which would probably make me miss a flight. And that assumes that the officials would allow you to walk away with what they just deemed a weapon.

So…has anybody ACTUALLY MAILED a package of knitting needles back to themselves after being denied taking them on the plane?

I found a discussion on ravelry about this- and there were a few people explaining that the pendant cutter you’re talking about is a “circular cutter” that is not allowed. One girl said she just put hers in with her jewelry in her carry-on and wasn’t questioned. Other people said they just took dental floss- which was allowed and does a fine job on anything under worsted weight.

Or nail clippers. Nail clippers are acceptable in all airports, and they cut yarn just fine, when in a pinch.

Someone else here once said that they just used pencils to knit when they flew. They are size equivalent to an 8 and have never confiscated.

THANK YOU! I am going on a plane trip soon, and plan to take a knitting project along! This has been a topic of conversation at knit group lately, so will pass on the news. again, THANKS!