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 On the plane to the island . . .
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Capucine45
Warming Up

USA
86 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2001 :  6:53:33 PM  Show Profile Send Capucine45 a Private Message
While onboard the plane taking us to paradise, would we be able to knit? This is actually a serious question. I will be flying soon and was wondering how the new FAA regulations affect carrying knitting needles onto planes. Does anyone know, or have an idea where to look to find out?

Heather

Admin
Forum Admin

USA
151 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2001 :  07:02:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage Send Admin a Private Message
Hi Heather,

There seems to be a bit of variation on the regulations, but I can tell you what I've experienced in recent travels. First, the signs all say something to the effect of "no sharp, pointed objects" but there's no mention of knitting needles.

At the advice of another knitter, who'd had success this way, I brought wooden needles. I chose the shortest sock DPNs I could find (the 4" ones) and a stamped, self-addressed envelope so that if they said I couldn't take them on the plane, at least I could mail the needles back to myself. But, I went through several security checkpoints with no problems whatsoever.

However, on one leg of a flight, I discovered that someone else on that same flight wasn't able to bring her needles on board. They were aluminum/steel or some metallic substance, and I don't know just how fine or pointed they were. The security guard had told her it didn't matter what they were made of. But meanwhile, I'd gone through the very same checkpoint just fine.

So my theory is that if you stick to shorter wood DPNs, which present no more threat than a common No. 2 pencil, you stand a fighting chance of being able to knit on the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration Web site lists what you can't bring in your carry-on luggage. The page is located at:

http://www.faa.gov/apa/tipbroch.htm

The only questionable item is:

"All cutting and puncturing instruments. This includes pocketknives, carpet knives and box cutters, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors, and metal nail files."

Again, I think the key word here is "metal." I can imagine that a pair of 12" wooden single-pointed needles with a sharp tip could be considered a puncturing instrument, but the shorter DPNs would break before causing any harm.

Has anybody else had problems with needles on flights?




Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
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yarnpeddler
Warming Up

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2001 :  11:28:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit yarnpeddler's Homepage Send yarnpeddler a Private Message
Clara, Thanks for the link to the FAA site.

There has been a thread running at Woolworks,

http://www.woolworks.org/dcforum/woolworks/58.html

where knitters have been sharing their airlines vs. knitting needle experiences. Much like your own experience, there seems to be no hard and fast rule. I am flying to Florida later this month and am going to stop by the airport a few days before, bring my 5 inch flexible Bryspun sock needles, and ask.


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terrileemp
New Pal

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2001 :  9:18:55 PM  Show Profile Send terrileemp a Private Message
I flew to Tucson last Oct. On the flight down I wasn't asked about my knitting. I had bamboo double points. In Tucson a week later, they took the same needles away from me. A pencil was sharper and more lethal that those needles. But as frustrated as I was I wasn't stupid enough to argue <G>. I love the idea of a SASE to mail them to myself, if would have saved giving up my needles.
Until the system settles in and everyone calms down and they have a clear list of forbidden items, I wouldn't count on keeping your needles, but since I was facing 11 hrs of planes and airports, trying to bring my knitting was well worth it. One suggestion - although I don't know if it would really make a difference - make sure you have something knitted on the needles. Maybe if they see you really can knit they'll take pity.

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moorecat
New Pal

Australia
3 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2001 :  9:23:23 PM  Show Profile Send moorecat a Private Message
...Has anyone who frames these rules ever *tried* taking needles away from a knitter?

I can just see us sweet knitters saying to the terrorist: "Just wait until I've finished this row!"

...tee-hee-hee...

HK

Moorecat

HK

Moorecat
Melbourne, Australia
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Den1
New Pal

Uganda
1 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2001 :  9:31:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit Den1's Homepage Send Den1 a Private Message
I read on the airline securities on the web that knitting needles were forbidden on the plane. So I guess no more knitting on airliners.

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marji-in-tc
Chatty Knitter

180 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2001 :  9:45:34 PM  Show Profile  Send marji-in-tc a Yahoo! Message Send marji-in-tc a Private Message
I'm glad you brought this up. When I read the question I wondered "How are we supposed to get the knitting to the desert island?" I've flown several times since 9-11 and have been targeted 3 x's for searches. All of my bags were searched one time. I realized then that it was just as much a matter of Who was doing the search as anything. I had checked my knitting in my check-in luggage, and that was searched. The agent searching was a woman who also knits. She allowed me to carry my needlepoint frame with a small pair of scissors that come in the drug-store variety sewing kits onto the plane (they barely cut a yarn much less anything else). That same pair of scissors was confiscated from me at a different airport a week later. Actually, I was told that if I did not give them up that security would be called to meet me at the next security checkpoint. Some common sense is going to have to be arrived at, hopefully sooner than later - but I would not attempt to take knitting on a plane unless you are carrying large stitch holders to transfer your entire project to and are prepared to give up the needles. I have seen such a variety of search protocols and standards that I don't think you can plan on taking anything. I've seen nail clippers confiscated.
BTW, I am a 45 yr old caucasian woman, usually travelling alone and in business dress - have no idea how I keep triggering the random searches.
Have a great trip. marji

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MissMuffet
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2001 :  10:07:20 PM  Show Profile Send MissMuffet a Private Message
HI Heather:

I was traveling this past Thursday and I asked the security guard at the Phoenix airport if I could travel with knitting needles. He said NO!!!. Then he said "do you have any with you" I assured him that I did not have any and that I was asking so that I would know what to do in the future. Then he said " DEFINITELY NO". I was flying on Southwest from Phoenix to Lubbock, Texas. You might check other airlines, but I bet the answer is no everywhere.

Brenda

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yarnpeddler
Warming Up

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2001 :  10:35:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit yarnpeddler's Homepage Send yarnpeddler a Private Message
I just had a brain storm! A young customer of mine several years ago told me that once when she wanted to knit and had no needles, she used chop sticks. I think I will buy some cheap chopsticks and knit something with them on the plane. Or maybe I'll use pencils!! It seems pens and pencils are still allowed. Yes, thats what my new plan is. I'll take my knitting needle guage with me to the store and choose some pencils and use them as needles. Where there's a will, there's a way.!

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jdjda
New Pal

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  06:31:40 AM  Show Profile Send jdjda a Private Message
I recently flew on American Airlines to London from DFW. In my carry on bag I had a sweater on size 8 plastic circulars, about 5" or 6" completed. They went through security just fine. Perhaps in the future common sense will prevail.

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Admin
Forum Admin

USA
151 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  06:46:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage Send Admin a Private Message
That's a great idea, yarnpeddler! And we could always hedge our bets by bringing several different types of substitutes. So if we hit a gate staffed by overly obsessive people, they may take the chopsticks but they wouldn't be concerned by, say, the retractable ballpoint pens.

For the pencil idea, I do believe the art-supply stores sell pencil-like things but without any lead. I've seen pencil-like things with an eraser in the middle, for example, or the ones that just have some sort of wood fiber in the middle and you use them to smudge your drawings. That way we wouldn't have to watch in dismay as the pencil smeared lead all over our precious knitting.

Ditto if you like to spin on a plane but don't dare bring a small drop spindle. I've managed to spin quite a bit of yarn just by twisting it to the cap of a pen (Sharpie markers work best), then rolling it along my leg to get a spin, and then wrapping it around the pen at a lower point.

Then there's always those little straws the flight attendants give for stirring coffee - I bet you could do some interesting work with them. (And if they give you those plastic stirrers with the paddle-like tip, you could just snap off the tip and have an even finer needle to work with.)

If we didn't have too much invested in the final product, I think any of these solutions would work. Heck, you could even knit with really thick spaghetti pasta if you're careful. If they confiscate our pasta, we know it's time to stop flying, period.

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
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betz8w
New Pal

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  07:11:13 AM  Show Profile Send betz8w a Private Message
I tried to take a vest that I was knitting on a plane. It was on circular needles with the short metal tips and I was NOT allowed to bring them on. I had about 8" of knitting on the needle and the guards were going to take it off of the needles. No way! I had to go back to the baggage check-in and check my knitting bag on. I am a 65 year old woman who doesn't look a thing like a terrorist, but I can not complain about the increase in security. I will try the short, wooden needles the next time I fly. The self-addressed envelope is a great idea!

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quiltknit1
New Pal

Uganda
7 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  07:18:29 AM  Show Profile Send quiltknit1 a Private Message
I flew via British Airways to London and Dusseldorf from Dulles International, Washington, DC, over the Thanksgiving week. British Airways clearly states in writing that knitting needles are verboten as carryon.

In my carryon, I had nylon circular needles from the kit that includes all sizes. I removed the points and capped the needle cable with the knitting on it and the needle points were buried in the skein. Nylon needles do not show on xray, and my carryon went through all security checkpoints UNTIL I was leaving Germany, and was pulled aside, as I was boarding the plane, for carryon search (my husband said, "See you later," as he boarded). She squeezed the stuffed bear my husband had bought me at duty free, all over, and told me not to worry, "It felt good." She pulled out the knitting and asked me where the needles were. I showed her and showed her that they were "soft" and bent easily. She checked with her supervisor, who said, "Why not?" and I knitted all the way home. It is all so arbitrary.

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quiltknit1
New Pal

Uganda
7 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  07:18:42 AM  Show Profile Send quiltknit1 a Private Message
I flew via British Airways to London and Dusseldorf from Dulles International, Washington, DC, over the Thanksgiving week. British Airways clearly states in writing that knitting needles are verboten as carryon.

In my carryon, I had nylon circular needles from the kit that includes all sizes. I removed the points and capped the needle cable with the knitting on it and the needle points were buried in the skein. Nylon needles do not show on xray, and my carryon went through all security checkpoints UNTIL I was leaving Germany, and was pulled aside, as I was boarding the plane, for carryon search (my husband said, "See you later," as he boarded). She squeezed the stuffed bear my husband had bought me at duty free, all over, and told me not to worry, "It felt good." She pulled out the knitting and asked me where the needles were. I showed her and showed her that they were "soft" and bent easily. She checked with her supervisor, who said, "Why not?" and I knitted all the way home. It is all so arbitrary.

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Lincoln Square
New Pal

5 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  09:31:38 AM  Show Profile Send Lincoln Square a Private Message
I agree with Marji-in-tc in that it's more WHO checks your luggage than what airline you're flying. That said, airlines are still responsible for their own security until federal regulations are put in place so on top of who checks your luggage, it depends on which airline you're flying. I'm flying United next week and on their web site there is no specific mention of a prohibition on knitting needles, but I did receive an email update that included knitting needles in the list of items not allowed in the cabin. American Airlines and British Airways specifically list knitting needles as prohibited items in their web site info pages, but Southwest just says "knives or sharp objects of any kind" are not allowed.

I'm checking my needles with my larger suitcase because I don't want to risk getting them confiscated, and I don't trust the security personnel at O'Hare to mail them back to me--these guys have thousands and thousands of customers going through security and enough stress as it is. If you're flying at a smaller airport it might be worth it to do the self-addressed envelope (good idea!).

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yarnpeddler
Warming Up

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  1:40:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit yarnpeddler's Homepage Send yarnpeddler a Private Message
ROFL!!!! Clara, I love the way your brain works. I thought about the pencil lead problem, too. Then I considered crayons! Then I decided there might be a whole new market for rubber knitting needles!! I am copywriting this idea so any manufacturers, beware, this is MY intellectual property.!!!! In the meantime I'm going to check my local art suppier for some of your ideas.

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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  2:59:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message
I haven't flown since the 11th, but was on a Ferry where they were pushing that security was tight. I was upfront that I had the needles, and said "They're wooden, they'd snap fairly easily" and the woman at check-in said "I didn't even know they made wooden knitting needles" (um... we haven't ALWAYS had metal, you know) and let me through.

Which is good, because what did they think I could do on a speedy vessel like a ferry (warp speed = .4 mph)?


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LondonK1P1YO
New Pal

United Kingdom
24 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2001 :  11:04:50 AM  Show Profile Send LondonK1P1YO a Private Message
American Airlines specifically mentions knitting needles as prohibited in carry-on luggage:

http://www.im.aa.com/American?BV_Operation=Dyn_AAPage&referer=index.html&form%25referrer_site=None

Knitters are among the gentlest of people. But we are traveling in a new environment. I have flown nearly 10 times since September 11. I don't even try to take my knitting on board any more. While we may be able to get around this new rule on occasion, we need to consider the comfort of other passengers and crew members. I would not want others made uneasy by my having knitting needles in the cabin.

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Lori Safer
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2001 :  12:36:20 PM  Show Profile Send Lori Safer a Private Message
I flew to Chicago in November and asked at the security check through on my way out what the policy on knitting needles is. I was told by security that knitting needles are a "tool of the trade" and they would be allowed as long as I had knitting on them. Needles with no accompanying knitting would not be allowed. As it was, I had checked them through with my luggage on the trip out. On the return trip I took my knitting with me as carry on. When I checked my bag, I was asked if I had anything in my carry on which might cause a problem with security. I said that I had knitting needles and they told me to pack them in my suitcase. I replied that I'd take the risk. My needles were plastic circular, size 10 and I was knitting a scarf. I rationalized that if the needles and yarn were confiscated, I wasn't going to be out much. I had no problem getting through security at all. I'd advise non-metal (plastic or wood) needles, preferrably large needles since they seem to pose less of a threat than very small needles (I packed my size two metal needles in my suitcase because I didn't want to risk losing that project). Hope my story helps you decide.

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Lori Safer
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2001 :  12:36:28 PM  Show Profile Send Lori Safer a Private Message
I flew to Chicago in November and asked at the security check through on my way out what the policy on knitting needles is. I was told by security that knitting needles are a "tool of the trade" and they would be allowed as long as I had knitting on them. Needles with no accompanying knitting would not be allowed. As it was, I had checked them through with my luggage on the trip out. On the return trip I took my knitting with me as carry on. When I checked my bag, I was asked if I had anything in my carry on which might cause a problem with security. I said that I had knitting needles and they told me to pack them in my suitcase. I replied that I'd take the risk. My needles were plastic circular, size 10 and I was knitting a scarf. I rationalized that if the needles and yarn were confiscated, I wasn't going to be out much. I had no problem getting through security at all. I'd advise non-metal (plastic or wood) needles, preferrably large needles since they seem to pose less of a threat than very small needles (I packed my size two metal needles in my suitcase because I didn't want to risk losing that project). Hope my story helps you decide.

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Lori Safer
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2001 :  12:36:33 PM  Show Profile Send Lori Safer a Private Message
I flew to Chicago in November and asked at the security check through on my way out what the policy on knitting needles is. I was told by security that knitting needles are a "tool of the trade" and they would be allowed as long as I had knitting on them. Needles with no accompanying knitting would not be allowed. As it was, I had checked them through with my luggage on the trip out. On the return trip I took my knitting with me as carry on. When I checked my bag, I was asked if I had anything in my carry on which might cause a problem with security. I said that I had knitting needles and they told me to pack them in my suitcase. I replied that I'd take the risk. My needles were plastic circular, size 10 and I was knitting a scarf. I rationalized that if the needles and yarn were confiscated, I wasn't going to be out much. I had no problem getting through security at all. I'd advise non-metal (plastic or wood) needles, preferrably large needles since they seem to pose less of a threat than very small needles (I packed my size two metal needles in my suitcase because I didn't want to risk losing that project). Hope my story helps you decide.

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