When you’re on a long-haul flight, you need something comforting or distracting to occupy your mind. For many, it’s delving into a good book or listening to a favorite playlist. But what if your go-to escape is crocheting? There’s a chance that your crochet hooks could be (understandably) viewed as a potential weapon.
Yes! On flights within the US, crochet hooks are generally permitted in both Carry on Bags and Checked Bags, according to the TSA (Transport Security Administration) official government website. However, the final decision will rest with individual TSA officers.
Great news for crocheters flying within the US! But before you start packing your entire hook collection and related craft tools, we should point out that there are certain rules regarding how you pack crochet hooks in your carry on/hand luggage and you may decide you want to bring alternative supplies in case your tools are confiscated. Let’s look into the official rules in detail plus what is/isn’t allowed onto a plane…
The official TSA gov website states that crochet hooks are allowed in both your hand luggage (carry on luggage) and your checked luggage (stored in the aircraft hold).
The TSA also states that “any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.” For this reason, it’s wise to keep your crochet hooks in a tool case/organizer or separate bag (not loose) in both your checked and hand luggage.
TIP! Don’t keep your most expensive, luxury crochet hooks in your hand luggage (Tunisian, bamboo, wooden Furls hooks, etc) just in case they are confiscated by airport security. Since there’s always a chance that your hooks may be confiscated by TSA, we’d strongly advise packing your most treasured, expensive hooks/tools in your main checked bag or suitcase and taking cheaper, plastic hooks with you in your carry-on hand luggage.
Not only are these less likely to cause problems than sharp aluminum hooks, but you won’t miss a few dollar store hooks being taken off you. You can always come prepared just in case your hooks are confiscated at the airport security checkpoint – just bring a padded envelope and stamps with you to mail the hooks back to your home address!
Knitting Needles: Allowed in both Carry On/Checked Bags. Just ensure they are sheathed/wrapped to prevent injury.
Sewing Needles: Allowed in both Carry On/Checked Bags. Keep any sewing needles and needlepoint tools securely in a tool case or separate ziplock bag.
Scissors/nail scissors: Scissors can be kept in Checked Bags, but if packed in Carry On luggage, the scissor blades must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point.
For this reason, many crafters choose to take rounded-tip safety scissors e.g. kid’s kindergarten scissors or nail scissors, as long as they adhere to the under 4 inches blade rule.
Nail clippers: Allowed on both Carry On/Checked Bags. Nail clippers are a good, compact alternative to scissors and will cut your yarn/thread effectively. Just make sure it is this type of basic nail clipper (without the foldaway blade/metal nail file attached).
Multi-tools: These are any multi-purpose tools like pocket knives containing wire cutters, scissors, pliers etc. The same rules apply to any sharp objects – multi-tools must be sheathed/securely wrapped and tools with scissors less than 4 inches long from the pivot point can be taken on Carry On luggage, otherwise, they must be packed in checked Bags.
Also, any multi-tool containing knives (of any length) is strictly prohibited.
Play-doh: Allowed on both Carry On/Checked Bags.
Tape Measure: Allowed on both Carry On/Checked Bags.
If you wish to travel with any other craft tool or craft-related item that is not listed here, the TSA official government website asks that you “simply snap a picture of the item or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter.
Not all of the following items are craft-related, but some may be unwittingly used as alternatives to scissors/yarn cutting tools etc.
- Circular thread cutters (these are pendants containing a blade and will be allowed in your Checked Bag but not your Carry On luggage)
- Swiss army knives or Multi-tools with knives of any length
- Razor blades
- Flammable paints
- Paintbrushes (allowed in Checked Bag but not in your Carry On luggage
Taking the above-mentioned allowances into consideration, it would seem that crocheting is generally allowed on domestic flights inside the US. If you are traveling outside the US, always check with the airline you are flying with by contacting them directly or checking their website for clarification as regulations can vary greatly from country to country.
Just be aware that despite the positive TSA guidelines for crocheting on your flight, the final decision will ultimately rest with the individual officer at airport security.
Here are a few last-minute considerations to keep in mind while flying with your crochet supplies:
Be prepared for TSA officers to inspect your yarn – yes, yarn is soft and harmless, but a big bulky skein could conceal something. Kris Doyle from Happily Hooked Crochet magazine recalls being flagged at airport security in Los Angeles and asked to remove each yarn ball from the luggage so they could be tested for “explosive residue”!
Pack light (small over large projects) – as tempting as it may be to bring your giant blanket project onto a long-haul flight with you, it’s not very practical for carry on luggage and could be viewed suspiciously for concealment purposes (as above), so stick to smaller crochet projects like hats, socks etc.
Have a few rows/rounds of your project started before flying – because all TSA officers will make a different judgment call on your crochet supplies, “it may be wise to have “evidence” of your crocheting by ensuring you have already completed a couple of rows of work”, advises Jodie Morgan, creator of Crochet Penguin. Otherwise, simply carrying crochet hooks/scissors/needles on your person may be viewed as harboring sharp objects.