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!