This question came up on the FreshStitches Facebook page recently, and I since I have a lot to say on the topic (because I travel oodles), I thought it’d make a good blog post!
The short answer- in US and Australia
The quick and easy answer is “Yes, crochet hooks are allowed as carry-on items in planes in the US, Australia and lots of other countries”.
In my personal experience, I’ve carried crochet hooks on board planes in the US, England, France, Switzerland and Australia without any problems. The photo below is of my ‘hippo’, the case I carry around with me at all times while traveling.
Yes, I travel with metal crochet hooks (as pictured), and I have even brought steel crochet hooks (the tiny, pointy ones) with me. (For the tiny crochet hooks, I was questioned in Paris about what they were, but they weren’t taken away). I often hear people say that ‘wood is allowed, but metal isn’t', and as far as I know- at least in countries that permit crochet hooks- there’s no difference between the materials.
And (at least in the US), child-safe scissors (that is, blunt-tipped and with blades shorter than 4 inches) are allowed on board as well (and is stated so in the TSA Regulations).
Of course the disclaimer is this: any TSA agent (or their analog in another country) may confiscate something if they feel it is a threat. Ultimately, the agents are permitted to make judgement calls- and of course, you’ll hear stories about someone who had their hook taken away.
Also, there are countries where crochet hooks aren’t permitted on board (in fact, Australia was one of them until 2009). So, when you travel, always check the local regulations.
Tips for traveling with hooks
I’ve said that hooks are allowed… but that a guard could take them away from you if they are deemed dangerous. So, how can you feel confident bringing your hooks? Here are some tips:
- Bring yarn along with your crochet hooks. Better yet, be in the middle of a project. It’s much easier to explain what you’re doing (and that it’s a handicraft and not harmful) if there’s evidence of what you’re working on.
- Use a pencil case. If you’re not in the middle of a project, throw your hooks in with some pencils and pens in a pencil case. Especially if your hooks are wood, they’re unlikely to be noticed.
- Don’t bring anything irreplaceable. Actually, this rule applies to more than just crochet hooks! There’s always a tiny chance your hook can be taken away, so don’t bring your grandmother’s ivory hook- it’s just a risk you don’t need to take!
I’m not trying to help you sneak on anything that’s not allowed… crochet hooks are permitted on planes. But the truth is that sometimes you’ll run across an agent who either doesn’t know what a crochet hook is or doesn’t know that they’re allowed. And, it really makes for a nicer plane ride if you can have your hooks with you!