Taking your knitting needles (and crochet hooks) on the plane

I’m sure a lot of you will be jetting off home for the holidays and something I often stress about is taking my knitting or crochet on the plane. Will my stuff be confiscated at the x-ray? There seems to be no standard answer to the question, and reading the airline rules will often give you no clear answer, so here are my tips for getting on the plane with your needles and hooks.

  1. Ask before you go – you need to ask not just the airline, but the airport too as the hand luggage check is not done by the airline staff. Even if they give you the all clear, there is still no guarantee you will get through as someone may still see your knitting needle as a weapon.
  2. Assume your stuff will be confiscated and take precautions:
  • if you are taking a work in progress, put your knitting onto a scrap thread before getting on the plane. Then if worst comes to worst you can surrender your needles without your work unravelling.
  • don’t travel with your best needles (pack them in your checked luggage so you can switch when you get to your destination).
  1. Crochet hooks are generally fine, even metal ones, because they aren’t pointy like knitting needles, but to be extra safe take a plastic or wooden one.
  2. Plastic and wood / bamboo are more likely to be accepted than metal – they show up less on the x-ray and are less likely to be seen as weapons.
  3. Short needles are more likely to be accepted than long ones. So, your dpns or circulars are less risky than your 35cm straight pointy ones.

Best thing to take:

  • A plastic crochet hook
  • Cheap plastic circulars as long as they aren’t too pointy
  • The new Prym ergonomic knitting needles – these are slightly bendy plastic with bobbled ends so really could not be considered a risk. But on the other hand they are quite fancy if you are unlucky enough to get them confiscated

So, what about scissors and even yarn sewing needles?

The rules on scissors are much more clearly stated than anything on knitting needles and crochet hooks so check the airline rules. Small blunt scissors are generally acceptable. I have a pair of plastic kids round ended scissors that I take. I do also have a yarn-cutter keyring which is always on my keys so it goes in my hand luggage. It’s always made it through, although strictly speaking it could be considered a razor blade (even though it’s plastic coated!) I have never had an issue with a yarn sewing needle – I slip one into my purse with my change and I can’t imagine that’s not OK.

Have fun on the plane with your knitting or crochet.

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