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FACT: Canadian, U.S. and British security agencies DO allow knitting materials on board.
With summer here and travellers from all over the world dropping in to The Loop, we are hearing more questions about whether you can fly with your knitting. Opinions and stories vary, but the facts are available on the websites of the agencies that control security. Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. all permit knitting needles. Of course, a traveller will always be subject to the discretion of the individual security officer on the day of travel. Common sense suggests you opt for smaller-sized needles in bamboo, wood or plastic, rather than 12”-long steel needles or 36”-long circulars. (Socks are the perfect, compact airplane project!)
On occasion someone will say to us, “But I asked and they said no” and it turns out they asked the airline ticket agent or another staff person who is not part of a security authority. We suggest it’s better to ask security staff, if you must, but – since the items are not prohibited – why ask? Below is a sampling of links to national security agency sites that provide guidance for the crafty traveller, explaining what is and is not restricted from your luggage (checked and carry-on). We hope you will find this little guide helpful. Bon voyage!
In Canada, it is not the individual airlines, but CATSA – the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority – that determines what can be brought on planes. You know, the same people who have become obsessive about the dimensions of the toiletries you have in your carry-on. Here is a link to their searchable database clearly indicating that knitting needles and crochet hooks can be brought in both carry-on and checked luggage. Thank goodness! Because it’s bad enough to be crammed in that little seat having to watch bad movies. Knitting is what makes it bearable.
The U.S. Transportation Security Agency has an equally civilized policy – you can bring your knitting and your needles, but NOT circular cutters with hidden blades.
Flying to the U.K.? This page tells you the items you can NOT take on board, and there is no mention of any knitting equipment on there. You may be disappointed to learn that you can’t take your meat cleaver on a plane in the U.K. though.
How about New Zealand, the home of so much delectable merino wool? Here is a link to the Kiwi Aviation Security Service’s list of prohibited items, and it contains no mention of knitting needles.
It is harder to find this information for the European Union. Some EU countries have tighter restrictions and in fact do prohibit knitting needles, while others allow them. Here are two examples of European sites with some info on the topic, showing this variety:
Bratislava, Slovakia (an EU member state) – no inclusion of knitting in their prohibited items list.
Ireland (an EU member state) – specifically states no knitting on board.
So when travelling to Europe it may be important to check with the individual countries’ security authorities.