Going on holiday is amazing but the travelling can be stressful. Not only is it tiring to sit on a plane, you have to go through long queues and security checks before you even get on board. One way of relieving this stress is  to turn to crafting – and to get lost in knitting and crochet on the plane. But are you allowed to bring your yarn and needles/hooks on the plane – and are you able to get them through security?

This is one of the most asked knitting and crochet questions and almost every post you read online seems to give new information. That’s because there isn’t a straightforward answer: every country and even airport and airline has different rules. To help you, we’ve tried to do the ground work for you for when you’re in the air. We’ve used all the most up-to-date information as of January 2018 and we’ve consulted official policies and contacted the relevant airline when appropriate. If you’d like us to add more airlines or countries – or any information has since changed when you are reading this please contact us @CreaCrafts on Facebook.

Buckle in, folks, because this is going to be a mammoth of a post!

Things to bear in mind

These are things you should think about before your holiday.

  1. Remember to check with both your airline and your home and destination airport. For example, you may be allowed to knit on the way there but not on the way back.
  2. Although many flights do allow small scissors (with a blade less than 10cm) this might be an item worth keeping in your hold luggage.
  3. In case something does go wrong and your knitting needles or crochet hooks are refused through security, bring a pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelope that fits your knitting needles so you can send them back home. This is also recommended by the US authorities.
  4. The final decision is with the security staff who are ultimately here for your safety.  Even if your airport and airline permit knitting needles, bags may be subject to more screening. Respect their decision if they do not let your needles or hooks through.
  5. Even if you are allowed on the plane with knitting needles or crochet hooks, the cabin crew may  take them away or ask you to put them down at their discretion. This is more common when taking off/boarding so you avoid accidentally stabbing yourself(!).

Handy Hints

Follow these hints to avoid confusion, worry and untimely delays.

  1. Bring bamboo or plastic crochet hooks and knitting needles in your hand luggage – metallic looks more threatening and is more likely to be noticed by security.
  2. Pack spare needles in your hold luggage just in case. If you are hand luggage only holiday don’t bring your best and most expensive needles just in case they do get taken away.
  3. Opt for smaller projects or projects using circular needles as your arm movements are less likely to elbow the person next to you.
  4. Bring the yarn with you – some airports, such as Manchester airport, will only let them through security if they have the corresponding yarn.

So now we’ve looked at the basics, let’s look at specific countries.

The UK

The UK government officially states that knitting needles should be allowed as part of hold and hand luggage (see official government policy here).

Birmingham Airport – allowed (click here)
Bristol Airport – We’d read that Bristol had one of the most stringent security policies and some knitters had been denied their needles and hooks. We asked for a quote, and they said they “can confirm that knitting needles can be taken in hand luggage”, and it also appears on their official website (click here).
Edinburgh Airport – According to a discussion on Twitter (thanks for doing the leg work for us on this one, knitting travellers!) Edinburgh airport will allow you to take knitting needles/crochet hooks, but they do say to check with your airline too. (click here)
London Gatwick Airport – Gatwick’s official policy is that knitting needles and crochet hooks are allowed as both hand and hold luggage (see here). Although we have read a few horror stories of items being taken away at security, so follow our handy hints to avoid extra security checks.
London Heathrow Airport – Heathrow explicitly says they allow knitting needles (see here).
London Stansted Airport – Allowed – but if you take craft scissors they can only be 6cm long (click here)
London Luton Airport – While one website claims they are prohibited (see here) – this is out of date. Luton were unavailable for a quote, but they do follow UK guidelines and allow knitting needles on board.
Manchester Airport – In their quote to us they confirmed “that you are able to take knitting needles and a crochet hook through security as long as [you] have the wool with them.”

Ireland

In Ireland, it’s a bit of a tricky situation. Knitting needles are classed as restricted goods and are forbidden as hand luggage (see the official government policy here). However, Dublin airport claims they DO allow knitting needles through security (click here).

Cork: We contacted them as it wasn’t on their website, and they replied: “There is no issue with taking either items through security and on board an aircraft.”
Shannon: Knitting needles are prohibited (see here).

Australia

The Australian government say that knitting and crochet needles may be permitted. They’re among a group that includes umbrella with metal points and allen keys (who knew?!). This means it is the security screening officer’s discretion, and we therefore recommend following our handy hints to avoid undue stress (click here and here). This seemed to fit in our theory when we researched Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney airports, with a few comments that they were becoming more accepted on Australian flights.

United States

The Transport Security Administration (TSA) officially allows knitting needles and crochet hooks: stating “in general you may place knitting needles and needlepoint tools in carry-on or checked baggage” (click here). This security system is set nationwide, so follow our top tips and remember that the “final decision rests with the TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane”.

Canada

Knitting needles are allowed as both carry on baggage and checked baggage, according to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (click here).

Specific Airlines

Here are the policies for the following airlines.

Aegean – Knitting needles are not allowed (see here).
British Airways – you can take knitting needles in your hand luggage and checked baggage (click here).
Easyjet – Although their customer services on Twitter and Facebook have said to some people it was allowed, officially they are not allowed (see here), which was also confirmed to us by customer services on 17/01/2018.
Jet 2 – knitting needles are not allowed (see here).
KLM – knitting needles are not allowed (see here).
Ryanair – knitting needles are not allowed – confirmed by two separate customer service agents on 17/01/2018. (N.B. When the Deputy Editor pointed out that British Airways allow them, the first Ryanair rep replied “Fly with them then”!). 
Thomas Cook
 – To get this information we contacted Thomas Cook directly who stated that “If you are flying with Thomas Cook Airlines [you] are not allowed to take knitting needle or crochet hooks in your hand luggage [however] you can take them in your hold luggage.”
Virgin Atlantic – ok (confirmed by our customer services on 12/01/2018)
Virgin Australia – ok (confirmation here)

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Please note that while we have made every effort to make this blog post as accurate as possible and contact the relevant people for confirmation. If there’s any further information you would like us to tweak, remove, or add please contact us and we will rectify this immediately.