Flying with knitting needles

We get questions about this a lot. Basically, knitting needles are allowed, however there are certain guidelines that you can follow to reduce the risk that a TSA agent will perceive your needles as a threat. And no matter what the rules are on paper, whatever a TSA agent says is what is going to happen so be nice to them!

I will say that both Shannon and I fly with metal circular needles a lot and have never had a problem. We have heard of much more frequent issues when flying internationally. The following is from the TSA website:

Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage. However, there is a possibility that the needles can be perceived as a possible weapon by one of our Security Officers. Our Security Officers have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow said item to pass through security. We recommend the following when bring knitting needles on an airplane:

  • Circular knitting needles are recommended to be less than 31 inches in total length
  • We recommend that the needles be made of bamboo or plastic (Not Metal)
  • Scissors must have blunt points
  • 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.

Most of the items needed to pursue a Needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside. These items cannot be taken through a security checkpoint. They must go in your checked baggage.

Hope that’s helpful!

4 thoughts on “Flying with knitting needles

  1. As someone who has been traveling internationally quite a bit this year, I can recommend interchangeable needles. Just take the tips off, tuck them in a small case with pen or two and toss it in your carry on bag. I haven’t had a problem at all. Even going through Ireland, which has the most strict policies I’ve seen so far.

    Another good tip is to tuck a small self addressed stamped envelope in your bag just in case you’re asked to surrender your needles. You may have to go without knitting for the flight, but at least you’ll have your needles when you get home.

  2. After passing through many other airports, I finally got caught at the Paris-CDG airport. The Security guy took everything: circular needles, plastic darning needle and a plastic crochet hook. I think the guy was having a bad day.

  3. I fly JetBlue between PDX to JFK about every other month and have twice had trouble at JFK recently. I’ve been knitting on small circulars all this past winter, which seem to cause the most suspicion –some guards seem totally confused by the cable. (In my defense, I think small circulars are the best for knitting in confined spaces… tends to limit the risk of elbowing your seat mate.)

    The first time, I had to surrender my beautiful bamboo circular needle (in the middle of a hat). The second time, I had brought a stamped envelope and was able to mail my needles and knitting back to myself. Even more absurdly, during the second run-in, I was carrying a print-out of JetBlue’s list of permitted carry-on items, which specifically lists knitting needles:,Kb=askBlue,case=obj(631). Needless to say, the Napoleonic security guard totally disregarded the list. I complained to JetBlue and JFK and am still awaiting a response.

    Mary Ann mentioned losing her needles at Paris-CDG. I must have run into her guy’s mean New York doppelgänger, because I had to surrender my straight, metal needles at JFK before a flight to Paris a few years ago. I bought a short bamboo pair in Paris and sneakily wore them as hairsticks on the trip back to New York. I went through security at CDG without attracting a second glance, then pulled them out of my hair and threaded my project back onto them.

  4. I’m working on a baby blanket and of course it’s on metal circular needles. I’ll be flying out of Newark (EWR) and into Portland, Oregon (PDX). Has anyone had a problem flying through these airports with metal circs?? I guess it’s just a ‘who knows’ type of thing?

Comments are closed.