This is a question we hear frequently at The Loop, and there isn’t a simple answer. Most people have the idea that they are not allowed to take their knitting on a plane. To me, being confined as a passenger in any vehicle for more than twenty minutes without knitting would be a form of torture. Especially on an airplane, crammed in with strangers, eating mediocre food and watching worse movies, I want to be able to knit. I actually love to fly, and the fact that it can be an excuse to do nothing productive but knit is a bonus.

Image from CMS Made Simple

So, what’s the answer to the question, “Can I take my knitting on the plane?” It depends.

If you are flying domestically within Canada and the U.S.A., technically you are permitted to bring your knitting. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has a checklist of Permitted and Non-Permitted Items on their website. The section that itemizes “Penetrating objects” clearly indicates that your kitting needles are permitted in both checked and carry-on luggage. Yay! it’s official!

But … what if the person working the security line isn’t aware of the policy, or is simply having a bad day? It does happen, you know. Just ask Marnina Norys. In May of this year, she learned about this the hard way, because of the pistol she was packing, in the form of a tiny pendant around her neck.

Meanwhile, the U.S. equivalent of CATSA, the Transportation Security Administration, has a policy and checklist very similar to the Canadian one. The TSA goes a step further with some helpful recommendations about traveling with your knitting.

Several people have told me that they have asked airline staff whether they can knit on board a plane, and were told no. While this may not conform with official government security policy, it’s likely that the people working on the plane have a right to make some decisions about this. They are the ones, after all, most at risk from your penetrating objects.

International travel may be a whole different affair, since each country or airline may have different security rules. I found a list of items the European Commission prohibits from air travel throughout the European Union, and I’m happy to see that knitting needles are not on it.

I have the great fortune to be planning a trip to visit my dad in the Netherlands in August, so I have a vested interest in knowing the rules. I think I’ll adopt a strict ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, with a sock or two tucked into my carry-on. And just for good luck, I might even print up a copy of a checklist in case it’s needed for reference …