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News knitting needles on a plane

Published on May 19th, 2018 | by Angie

75 comments

Can I take knitting needles on a plane? Our guide on how to travel with knitting needles

With the holiday season upon us, many knitters and crocheters are packing their bags to visit family far and wide. Should you be fretting about taking knitting needles on a plane? Here are some tips on how to travel with projects happily and stress-free. 

Are knitting needles allowed on a plane?

Yes, most travel agencies and airlines allow you to take knitting needles on to a plane. At LoveKnitting we were thrilled to discover that knitting needles are not banned on flights. Here is confirmation from the travel section of the United Kingdom government web page, the Transportation Security Administration in the USA, and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, all in agreement that you can take knitting needles on a plane.

Can I take large knitting needles and scissors in my carry on luggage?

We’ve spoken with a lot of knitters around the world, and even though the main travel agencies agree that knitting needles (and crochet hooks) are acceptable in carry on luggage, you still have to get through the security checkpoint, and the security guards have the final say over what gets through. Even though scissors with blades under 4 inches long are supposedly allowed on a flight, it’s unlikely that you’ll get through with them. Sometimes, security guards will think that your needles look like a threat, and they will confiscate them.

Essential tools for knitting on the go

Bamboo or wooden needles 

We recommend taking bamboo or wooden needles on a flight – they look less threatening than their metal counterparts. We also recommend not taking your favorite set of needles, just in case they do get confiscated. Stick with circular needles for more compact knitting; remember that you can knit flat with circulars just by turning the way you would with single pointed needles. These Addi circular needles are economically priced as well as a delight to knit with – a win-win situation!

Can i knit on a plane - our guide to taking needles on a plane, with bamboo circulars. Read more at LoveKnittingShop Addi Fine Bamboo Circular Needles

Stitch markers 

Travel can be chaotic. Whether you’re a 20-something heading home for the holidays from university, or a parent with small children, getting to the airport and through security is enough to derail any project. Add in the possibility of having the dreaded middle seat, and you’ll forget where you were in the pattern in no time. Use some stitch markers to mark important places in the pattern and help you keep your place.  We love these triangular Clover stitch markers, which come in 3 different sizes to fit almost any project.

Can I take knitting needles on a plane? Take some stitch markers! Read more on LoveKnitting.Shop Clover Stitch Markers Triangle

Lifelines

If you’re halfway through a project that you want to take with you on a plane, take our advice and run a lifeline through your stitches with some waste yarn or dental floss before you leave for the airport. In the (hopefully unlikely) instance that your needles do get confiscated, your project won’t be ruined. Read more about how to run a lifeline.

Can I take knitting needles on a plane? Run a lifeline just in case. Read more on LoveKnitting

Snip snip

Taking any kind of scissors in your carry on luggage is a big risk, no matter what shape or size. We’ve heard tales of even the tiniest scissors being confiscated at security checkpoints! To be safe, be clever – take some dental floss with you. The tiny ridge that’s used to cut the floss will cut through most yarns!

Remember, not all airports and airlines are alike. While many knitters have never encountered a problem taking their knitting needles on a plane, some have. If you’re unsure, it’s best to contact your airport and ask what their policies are. Happy holidays, and happy knitting!


About the Author

Jack of all trades, Master of Netflix and video games. A musician by passion, a gamer by choice, and a crafter by chance: I write about knitting and crochet and design fun patterns!


Last updated: June 27th, 2018.

75 Responses to Can I take knitting needles on a plane? Our guide on how to travel with knitting needles

  1. miss agnes says:

    Since the final say is left to the security guard, the safest policy is to leave the needles in your luggage, not the carry-on. I don’t know any knitter who would willingly leave needles, even cheap ones, behind.

    • Angie says:

      Hi Miss Agnes,

      Most knitters I know want to be able to knit on long flights, which is why they want them in their carry on luggage. It’s true that the safest option is to put them in checked baggage, but it’s unlikely that they’ll be confiscated if they are bamboo, wood, or plastic. I for one love to knit on long flights, otherwise I get so bored! Happy knitting!

    • Susan rosko says:

      I try to take circular or non-metal needles. I’ve never been stopped for that, but had a 2″ long folding pen knife with scissors confiscated. Usually I bring the shortest thinnest scissor I have–like the one my dog chewed the finger slots off of. I have carried knitting internationally, too.

    • Elizabeth Stanley says:

      If you don’t have hold luggage, carry a stamped self-addressed jiffy bag and you can post your needles home.

  2. Lucy says:

    I recently flew from Manchester to New York (JFK). I took a handwarmer project to keep me occupied on the plane. I was using thin bamboo dpns and I took a pair of ball-tipped scissors that I had originally bought for trimming my dog’s fur between his paws. I showed all of my kit to the security guard before it went through x-ray and they were perfectly fine with it at both ends. The ball-tipped scissors are great, as they literally don’t have a sharp point, so completely nonthreatening.

  3. Sharon says:

    Please don’t use dental floss as a lifeline! It can cut through your yarn! Other than that, I’ve not had any problems with my bamboo or wood circulars and travel frequently on US Domestic and International flights. Great article.

  4. Kathy says:

    Consider gifting a Thread Cutting Pendant to yourself and/or your favorite traveler. Google the term for photos & suppliers. It’s compact and travels well. Great for cutting yarn without the minty scent of floss.

    • Margo says:

      Not allowed on some flights to Canada, although I struggle to see how one could at all threatening or dangerous.

      • Joy says:

        It is a hidden razor blade which is expressly forbidden by TSA. All you have to do is to open the casing and you have a very sharp, lethal razor blade. Many people do get through security with it because the agent did not recognize what it was. But is it really worth possibly missing your flight, paying a hefty fine and/or going to jail when there are good legal options?

    • Anne Dean says:

      I took a pair of nail clippers , worked great.

      • Barbara Veal says:

        I use nail clippers when crocheting in the car if I need to snip yarn.

        • Tricia says:

          My nail clippers, nail file, and 1 inch kniting scissors were just confiscated in El Salvador. They also took a woman’s blunt darning needles. I, however, was allowed to keep my circular needles and my tapestry needles. Ironically, they didn’t confiscate my nail file from my purse, only my backpack.

  5. Carolyne Walker says:

    The best scissors to take on a plane are baby scissors with blunted ends. Nearly all airports let them through except parts if Australia.

  6. Terese says:

    I recently had a narrow escape flying back from Puerto Vallarta Mexico, after just missing the hurricane that turned into a not-hurricane when it hit land. I have taken circulars and crochet hooks on planes many times with no problems. Not this time. The airport security lady freaked out and said I had too many. I started jabbing myself to show they weren’t dangerous. Still no. i asked to see the regulations–the huge notebook of regulations showed very sharp Spanish hairpins, with a limit of 3. In order to avoid confiscation she said I had to take them back downstairs to the ticket terminal. There the airline employees just zipped up my project bag and threw it in with the luggage, no extra charge. It was a hugely stressful experience because it almost made us miss the flight. Funny thing was, the security person didn’t even stress over the small scissors or very sharp lace crochet hook I was carrying. Everything arrived safely, except the bag (one that they sell in flea markets for $15) will probably get tossed.

    • Leslie says:

      I had all my crochet hooks confiscated by a woman security officer in Merida, México. Even totally harmless looking large plastic ones. It took me over 40 years to accumulate that much kit! All gone at the discretion of one person.

  7. Dee says:

    I don’t travel a lot but I can attest to the issue with scissors – I was allowed them when I was flying in the US to Las Vegas but not within Canada between Abbotsford and Winnipeg. Fortunately, while I was fond of them, they were inexpensive dollar store scissors – I wasn’t about to check my luggage just for that. Just don’t assume because something was allowed on one flight it will be the next so I concur – don’t take anything you’d be devastated to have to leave behind.

  8. Linda Freed says:

    I have never had problems flying with any kind of needles and small scissors in the United States, but I have needed to put my projects into my checked luggage in several South American countries and a number of European countries. In one instance the counter folks pulled my checked bag, so I could stow a project when I didn’t realize I couldn’t fly with the needles.

  9. Mary Cuthbertson says:

    Knitting needles are permitted with cabin baggage on Australian Domestic flights but not when departing from Australia on international flights. Stow them in your check in luggage.

    • Lyra Helion says:

      Never had an issue in and out of Australia. Always use circulars though. I now tend to do socks on a minicircular on planes (also due to elbow room).
      Never take more than you plan to actually use on the plane in hand luggage seems wise, though.

      • Lyra Helion says:

        Actually, according to the Australian Government, knitting, crochet and embroidery needles are permitted. No distinction.

        • Jan Lang says:

          The only problem I have had is flying from Melbourne to Tasmania and they would not allow me to take crochet hook and scissors on a plane, I packed it in my suitcase and all was fine.
          I have written a piece further down the page that I have just flown from Sydney to Bangkok and return and had no trouble taking the crochet and scissors on the plane

          • ee says:

            I had my scissors confiscated on my flight back to NYC from Melbourne. No amount of arguing that I’ve flown all over the US with them and passed that security check would convince the Australian Security guy to let them through. I’m lucky they let my knitting through though, 15 hours without knitting would be a killer.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks Mary I’m going from Perth to the eastern states and wondered

  10. Joan says:

    I saw a suggestion somewhere else about carrying onto a flight a crochet hook if you have long hair. Put your hair up into a knot and secure with the crochet hook. People will think it’s a hair ornament.

  11. Rosemary McKenzie says:

    I have flown many times between New Zealand and Australia and you are definitely not allowed any sewing or knitting paraphernalia on any planes. They are regarded as offensive weapons in both countries. This is for both domestic and international flights so I always out mine in my luggage.I would hate to be responsible for a passenger grabbing a knitting needle off me and holding up to a flight attendants face or worse. Please think of the safety of others when flying.

    • Lynn says:

      Must depend who you strike at the airport…I travelled to Adelaide from NZ April 2018 with my knitting in my handbag without any problems and knitted away happily on the trip without incident.

    • Elizabeth Stanley says:

      Surely a wooden knitting needle can’t do more damage than a thin biro or sharp pencil? No-one says don’t take a biro!

  12. Jan Lang says:

    I have just returned from Bangkok, flew both ways, the scissors I use are used for cutting nasal hairs and have rounded ends, you can buy them cheaply online, mine are 7cm long, though the blade feel blunt they cut through yarn cleanly, my crochet hooks are rather large size 6 or 7. I had them in my handbag and ready to show but they went straight through no problems, I crocheted most of the flight with no problem at all.

  13. Jan Lang says:

    I forgot to say that I flew from Sydney return to Bangkok

  14. Sue Vance says:

    I’ve just returned from London and knitting/crochet needles are a big no-no on Singapore Airlines.

    • Caroline says:

      I knitted all the way to Australia and back to London on 4 Singapore Airlines flights earlier this year. No problem. It must very much depend on who you get at security and how they interpret the rules.

  15. Karen Murray says:

    I have crocheted on domestic Australian flights with no issues- instead of scissors I use small nail clippers like you get in a manicure set- easily cut the wool.

  16. Hilary Jones says:

    But knitters dears, we are all not supposed to be flying at all! It’s the very worst thing for the planet, and the most irredeemable in terms of our co2 footprint. Am I naive to think that people who want to make their own clothes are creative, not destructive?
    Let me tell you about our wonderful railway journey to the Czech Republic- we’d never have seen what we did from a ‘plane…
    No worries either that the grannies might hijack the train with their knitting things.

  17. Wendy says:

    Hi thanks for brilliant article. Like most knitters I would love to take mine when going abroad but always worried about it , well not anymore. Holiday , knitting, and sun . Perfect. Wendy

    • Denise says:

      I always take my knitting when travelling (boat, car, plane even cycling (in hotel at night!). When flying it’s always in my hand luggage and I never get it out going through security and I’ve never been stopped. Happy knitting 😊

  18. Lynda says:

    I have always used an old pair of short sock-type wooden interchangeable needles removed from the project an placed in a small pencil case with other pens and pencils in my handbag. They just look like thin pencils on scanners so are fine so far, although I’ve not tried Australia yet. I then have an extra/ longer pair in my luggage so I’m covered if I ever did lose the mini ones. I also photocopy my pattern so I have a couple of copies with me but my original stays flat and pristine at home. I tried economising originally by not copying the picture, but so often got asked what I was making I now include the picture.

  19. Anne Smart says:

    I wanted to take my knitting in my hand luggage (circular bamboo needles) this June. Fortunately I asked Norwegian Air at Gatwick at check in and she consulted someone who said ‘Not allowed’. I was then able to pop them in my hold luggage and didn’t lose my work.

    • Denise says:

      I asked some years ago and was told no. However since then I’ve never asked, kept them in my hand luggage and never been stopped 😊

  20. Helen Hodgson says:

    It seems to depend entirely on the power-hungriness of the security personnel. I recently flew from London Stansted to Thessaloniki with no problem with bamboo needles and 2 metal holding needles, doing their job of holding stitches. However, on the return flight from Thessaloniki the lady at security took issue with the metal holding needles and snatched them out, leaving loose stitches. You can imagine my despair. She wasn’t at all sorry. I’m a granny and not at all threatening.

    • EE says:

      Sorry about that. A good tip I heard was to take interchangeable needles so you can just give them the needles but keep the knitting on the cable.

  21. Sharn says:

    Have had no problems with flying with needles etc since we were allowed to have them on the plane again, after 911, but struck an obstacle last year coming back through Melbourne Domestic Security, they confiscated my fold up travel scissors ( too long the man said) and nearly the items from the Virgin travel pack given to international passengers as well!! I don’t think Melbourne Domestic Security have a craft bone in their bodies. Other travellers have had the same experience with Melbourne.
    It also helps if you have a project on the needles I believe.
    The airline has the last say at the end of the day.

    • ee says:

      Yep I can confirm they took away my foldable scissors as well despite my arguing that they were not 4″ long and that they were blunt. I got to keep my knitting.

  22. Charlie says:

    I always fly with knit pro interchangeables and take a pair of chord stoppers with me to remove the needles in case security want to confiscate them….they can have the needles but they’re not getting my knitting! I then carry a spare set of needles in checked in baggage. At least you can then knit on holiday!

    • Nancy says:

      I also use interchangeables but hadn’t heard of chord stoppers. I tied the chord ends together (they are still a bit kinked) when I had my tips taken from me by security leaving Panama City. No problems previously in South America, United States, Europe, Asia, or here in Canada. A spare set in my luggage next time. And I totally agree, my needles grudgingly, but never my knitting!

  23. Lesley says:

    I have travelled widely and always take my knitting on planes with me without an issue. I use interchangeable wooden circular needles whether knitting in the round or flat because they need less elbow room and even in the middle seat I can knit. Also I always have the end caps for the cable in case the points get confiscated (easier than a lifeline!).
    Scissors – I have a cheap pair of folding blunt ended scissors with 1.5” blades and have never been stopped with these. I also wouldn’t mind if they were confiscated. In addition I carry a small pair of nail clippers without an integral file.
    Happy knitting 😎

  24. Kate says:

    I have not flown since 2011, mostly because we don’t like being herded about and treated like (potential) criminals. Eurostar does airport style scanning, but you can take any amount of liquids etc. and you keep your luggage with you. I had a small kitchen knife in my case as we were self-catering, and just explained that, when it showed up on the x-Ray. I am sensible, and take bamboo, plastic, or the shortest needles possible for the project. I usually take a baby or child’s garment, variegated wool means you can get away with the minimum of patterning and look out of the train windows as the countries of Europe whizz by.

  25. Josefina Placé Estêvão says:

    Most comments here are from outside de European Union. Well, people, don’t even think about your craft if you have to go through check points at airports here! Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, are all very strict where knitting needles, scissors (including short skinny nail and skin manicure sets), even those tiny Swiss ones that are no longer than an inch. I lost everyone of those items when in transit at Frankfurt Airport.

  26. Rachel says:

    I’ve also found it helps to say to the security staff, I have some knitting with me would you like me to take it out of my bag and put it in the tray? I never take scissors through so best to pick a project you know you can just carry on with for the duration of a flight!

  27. Carrieann says:

    The real secret is to plan. I knit many bed throws, and when travelling use really short bamboo or plastic needles (children’s needles are good), and my inflight bag has a pair of needles and 100 gram ball of yarn. To knit a strip of six or seven feet for edging or binding is a great in flight time filler, and the boring knit is completed by journeys end. Brilliant.

  28. Angela says:

    I recently flew London to Tasmania stopping at Singapore and Melbourne both ways and there was no issue with my knitting needles.

  29. Susan Shanahan says:

    I have travelled extensively both internationally and interstate from Melbourne and I have never been allowed to take my knitting on the plane with me, I have always had to pack it into my suitcase.

  30. Sharon says:

    No knitting needles allowed in Mexico! Only in checked luggage.

  31. Flora Mannix says:

    I always have my knitting project started on circular needles and placed in a see through bag. I’ve traveled the US, Canada and Europe and never had a needle issue. I was stopped once for my scissor. The TSA agent at my home base airport went through my carry on and took out the scissor in question, which I might add has its own protective plastic cover, and pondered confiscating them. I was allowed to continue my journey scissors and all. Now I use a pair of nail clippers to cut when necessary. Otherwise I leave the cleanup for when I get home when traveling with only hand luggage or have my checked luggage.

  32. Sgiza says:

    I would think a sharp pencil or pen would be just as dangerous if not more than small thin wooden knitting needles. What about the pin stitch holders? I remember when I use to have a plaid skirt with a pin like that in it to close the skirt and decoration. Would they take that if used on clothing? Just a thought.

  33. Joanne Williams says:

    I am surprised to hear of people taking nail clippers with them for their knitting. I recently went through security with my knitting safely secured in my checked luggage and saw a barrel nearly filled with nail clippers confiscated from previous passengers.

  34. Elizabeth Dorman says:

    If we can’t knit, do we read a book? Knitting is very creating and relaxing. Do these security people not realize this? We just want to knit to pass the time on long flights.

  35. L says:

    I have recently flown from Malta and Barbados and knitting needles are a definite no no. In fact they are specifically mentioned on the printed list along with knives and scissors etc.

  36. Gwen says:

    Fingernail clippers work great for cutting yarn as well, and I have never had problems with getting them through TSA.

  37. sibbi yarger says:

    I was thrilled when i asked and was told I could take my knitting on the aircraft. I knit while at the gate waiting to board and while on the plane. I have been taking my knitting for over 3 years not. I like the idea of bamboo needles, they are quieter and less threatening, but I have gone on board with all types of needles in my work. I only take the piece i am working on and it is usually a simpler project because i may have to stop and start unexpectedly. I put the scissors and my bag of knitting “accessories” in my luggage. My last baby blanket was done totally while traveling and knitting is calming while we fly. Enjoy the ride!!!

  38. Bonnie says:

    I bring my crochet all the time when traveling. I use nail clippers to cut yarn when on a plane. Have never had an issue.

  39. Pat says:

    The only place I’ve encountered with needles was in Germany. They ran my bag through the scanner at least five times, and went through the bag between runs. I don’t know WHAT they thought was hidden in there, but finally gave it all back to me. I carry the blunt-end scissors that have the engraved inches on the side, and don’t have any problems with taking them. In Hong Kong, we had to switch things from one bag to another for about an hour, because their weight rules for suitcases were different than any other we have encountered, and my regular small, sharp scissors ended up in a carry-on by mistake. When they tried to take them away, I started crying, (they were the ones that had made us move everything around in our other luggage to begin with), so they put the scissors in a small box, gave them to a stewardess, who gave the box back to me when we arrived at our destination. I DO only take plastic needles in my carry-on, and put my yarn needles, folding scissors and cable needles in an Altoid box,usually also in my carry-on, and they don’t even bother with that! You just never know what they will do!!

  40. Pat says:

    I’ve already commented

  41. salome2001 says:

    I have flown easyjet both internal in the UK, and international. All times I have removed *everything* from my carry-on and put it in the trays at security. Nothing hidden. Each time there has been no problem… the only issue I had was forgetting a tube of hand cream that I keep in my knitting bag.
    I find having socks on dpns seems to make security a bit in awe of knitting amazingness..

  42. Kay Finnis says:

    Unfortunately, neither Domestic or International flights in Australia will allow knitting needles and I certainly wouldn’t even try taking a pair of scissors with me. I did ask about the circular needles and was told no to those as well. When on a long flight from Aus, knitting sure would help pass the time.

  43. EvelynU says:

    I bought a really cheap sewing kit at the 99 cent store just to get a “disposable” pair of scissors to take when I travel.

  44. Jennifer says:

    My finger nail clippers were confiscated at Prince George by a power hungry man!

  45. Winsome says:

    I usually carry kids craft scissors and never have problems with them since the tips are smaller and not sharp and you can still cut wool.

  46. Sheila says:

    It was once suggested that you print off the regulations from the applicable agency website to show the ignorant security personnel if you are challenged.

    I was knitting in our local social security office and was told it was against regulations. I could store them in the bag at my feet, but apparently, the 8 inch bamboo needles were dangerous in my hands!

  47. karen folkerts says:

    I’ve never had any trouble with US or European flights – bringing mostly circular needles and double-points. I had all of my knitting gear confiscated leaving Panama, once and had kiddie safety scissors and circular needles taken on the way out of Nairobi. So don’t bring your favorite needles!

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