When travelling on an aeroplane for any length of period, I always want to know if I can take my knitting needles on the aeroplane with me. It is nice to have something to do and helps relax me whilst the journey seems to go by just that little bit quicker.
Especially for the long-haul flights.
As a knitter, I always want to knit. It calms and soothes me. And keeps me out of trouble!
When travelling by car I am always the passenger. I can keep myself occupied with knitting. But when it come’s to flying everyone starts worrying that their precious yarn and needles will be confiscated. Never to be seen again.
Not a great start to any knitters holiday.
I’ve heard of ways in which people try to bypass the restrictions. And whilst good ideas, if they are indeed restricted then the flight attendants are likely to confiscate them as soon as they catch you knitting on the plane.
Things are changing though. Some airlines and airports are allowing you to take knitting needles on an aeroplane, and crochet hooks, with you in your hand luggage.
3 Types of Restriction
All restrictions are ultimately up to the airline and airport security. And you should check the restrictions in all countries you will be flying to and from. Note that they are usually found under the sharp objects section. However there are generally three rules:
- They are specifically listed as OK to carry in your hand luggage.
- Nothing is mentioned. This is your grey area and means it is best to ask the airline and/or airport.
- They are specifically prohibited. I’m afraid there is nothing that can be done about this.
How to check if you can take your knitting needles on an aeroplane?
It is important to check several different sources, AND for all countries you will be flying to and from.
- Check the government website of the country you are going to and from. Not every country will have this.
- Check the website of the airport you will be using. If it doesn’t say, ask.
- Check the website of the airline you are flying with. If it doesn’t say, ask.
So for example, here in the UK the government website states that knitting needles are allowed on flights. Heathrow airport also states that they are allowed. And British Airways also state knitting needles are allowed. So I would feel confident about taking my knitting on board with me. But I would still follow my tips for packing further below.
If I were travelling to Italy for example. The EU website does not specifically list that they are or are not allowed, just that sharp objects are prohibited. The Italian website says the same. The Naples website only redirects you to the Italian one. And British Airways, my airline bringing me home, as we know above says I can. But because of the lack of a “yes” on the EU and Italian websites I would not be confident knitting on my way home.
At this point you have three choices:
- Ask the question. Ask the airport and your airline. If they say no, then don’t risk it.
- Don’t ask the question and try a few tips to make your knitting look less threatening. But be aware that you are taking the risk of having them confiscated still.
- Don’t risk it and find something else to do on your flight.
Be detailed in your request. By this I mean describe the knitting needles. Not everyone knows that knitting needles are not always long straight pointy metal objects. For example wooden circular knitting needles are more likely to get a yes, than your 30cm long metal ones. Even go as far as including a photo of the ones you want to take!
Not asking and taking the risk
Ultimately, it is the judgement of the security officers at the airport. If they or you appear as potential threat then you will lose your knitting needles. I have listed a few tips for packing further below. These will help lessen the look of the threat. However the biggest threat to your knitting needles when going through security is yourself. If you do get pulled to the side because of your knitting needles:
- Be polite.
- Remain calm.
They may allow you to keep them. Even if they don’t allow you to keep them, remember those four points. Who wants a crazy lady on a plane?
If you do get to the point where you are knitting on the aeroplane, remember that the cabin crew are still permitted to confiscate your knitting if they deem it threatening (or someone has complained). Most of the time they may just ask you to put it away. If they do, do it immediately. Would you rather finish your row or lose the whole thing? If they confiscate it, ask to collect it from them whilst you are leaving the aeroplane at the end of the flight. Again, remember the above four points the entire time.
If you are told your knitting needles are not allowed, do not risk it. I’ll leave that at that.
Packing to get your knitting needles on an aeroplane
So I have five tips to help you lessen the visual threat of your knitting needles. Remember, if they’ve said no please don’t risk it. Either leave your knitting at home or put it in the hold.
- Pack wooden or plastic knitting needles.
- If you must use straight needles, have needle tips on them.
- Have the project already started on the needles.
- Ideally, take a circular knitting needle and do so in parts. Remove and put the needle tips with pens and pencils (do this with your crochet hook too). Wind the cable up with your headphones if you haven’t started your project yet.
- Take knitting needles and yarn that you can bear to lose.
- Take print outs of where it says you can take your knitting needles.
None of the above, not even the print outs, will guarantee you anything. As I said before, it is entirely up to the airport security officer. And the absolutely final say comes from the cabin crew.
So, once again, it seems sometimes we are allowed to enjoy our craft at one of the times we may need it most. Either to relax. Keep our minds occupied. Or just to keep us out of trouble. In our seat. Knitting away. And not bothering anyone due to withdrawal symptoms. Just me huh?
I’d love to hear if you have any stories whilst knitting or crocheting on an aeroplane, or if you have any further tips for our readers. Please comment further below. Enjoy your flight.