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Are crochet hooks allowed on planes?

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).

The Caveat

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!

35 Responses to “Are crochet hooks allowed on planes?”

  1. marinahunny says:

    i’m from malaysia and i think malaysia’s airport will allow but they will ask u what is that and didnt take them. just like paris i think.

    i love ur tips and it really works!

  2. Sabrina says:

    Another good thing is to print a copy of the regulations allowing the item (crochet hook, knitting needles, etc) and carry the printout with the item. I’ve traveled with socks on tiny metal double circular needles without an issue, thanks to having the printout with me for reference, the same for a laceweight project on small steel hook.

  3. Ellen says:

    I’ve crocheted on Air Canada flights from Toronto/Montreal to the US and never had a problem, but I *think* I was using bamboo hooks… I never wanted to chance taking a big knitting project, but I’m just chicken :)

  4. HookiLoop says:

    What a great post! I’ve travelled with metal, wood, and plastic hooks and have (so far) never had to pull them out to explain myself. I’ve also been able to successfully get metal yarn needles (for those airport-lounge yarn bombs) through security by placing them inside a metal cigarette case but I do always make an effort to take my snips/clippers out of my yarn bag and put them in my checked luggage (yes, this means I’m that crazy woman chewing off a piece of yarn with my teeth at the gate lounge – but thanks to this post I’ll try to smuggle in some child-safe scissors next time).

  5. TBoutiqueCritters says:

    Thank you for finally blogging about what we’ve all wondered about. Just sitting on a plane for so many hours, sheesh, you could finish a whole project depending on where you’re going.

  6. Barb says:

    I thought I would comment as I just had an issue with this very thing. I flew out of Edmonton,Canada with hooks in my purse & didn’t have any trouble at all. Leaving from Puerto Vallarta,Mexico it was a big issue. I had checked my bags & was going through the security gate & was stopped. They were going to take them or I could go check them on with the bags that were long gone. I ended up having to have them special wrapped & checked with the luggage…$$$$ pricey it was.

    • Bryn says:

      I had problems in Mexico too. The guard actually threw my hook away before I could stop him. I was really mad, especially since we got stuck at the next airport overnight and I couldn’t crochet.

  7. Barb says:

    Forgot to mention I had mostly bamboo, 1 plastic & 2 metal hooks with me at the time. I was really surprised but I just couldn’t part with my hooks, no way, uh uh. :)

  8. Robbie says:

    I’m traveling to the Philippines here soon and I was wondering if anyone knew if they were allowed on flights through/to Japan and Manilla as we will be going through both. Thanks.

    • Stacey says:

      @Robbie- I don’t know the specific policies about Japan (have you tried googling ‘Japan air travel regulations’?), but I highly recommend the Travelry group on Ravelry. It’s a group full of yarn-y travelers, and you can often find specifics about particular countries.

  9. thanks so much Stacey for your info . I have never flown before and I thought if I could bring my crocheting with me it would help to keep me busy . wish me luck!

  10. Thanks so much Stacey your info about bring crocheting needles on the plane was a really big help to me . I’ve never flown before and I thought if I were able to bring it with me it would help to keep my mine off flying … thanks and keep the blogs coming :)

  11. Gerri Mayces says:

    My husband and I are planning to fly to Hawaii next year. I was wondering if I will be allowed to carry metal crochets in my purse or my carry-on?

  12. Debbie Paul says:

    I noticed your “hippo” case in your craftsy classes too!! where did you get it? I love it!! I have one of those “perfect notions case” that isn’t so perfect!! I would love to get the “hippo”
    Thank you
    Deb

    • Stacey says:

      I love my hippo! It’s made by Clover, so you can have a peek at a craft store or LYS. It’s called a ‘Kritter Case’ :)

  13. Racu1952 says:

    These Clover Thread Cutters are great for cutting your yarn, so you don’t need scissors.
    http://www.stefanitadio.com/Images/Misc/tn_05-07-05_ThreadCutter.jpg

    • Stacey says:

      Actually, the pendant thread cutters are explicitly prohibited according to TSA regulations. They can be taken apart to reveal a circular razor blade inside… not very safe. Scissors (without sharp points) under 4″ are permitted, so there’s no trouble bringing those on.

      • Racu1952 says:

        Wow…well…they need to stop advertising them as such, I guess. I don’t fly anymore (too much hassle). Learn something new every day.

        Thanks.

  14. Racu1952 says:

    What about the ring kind?

  15. Racu1952 says:

    Sorry, not spamming, but interested to know. What about this kind? It’s molded plastic that can’t be taken apart.

    http://tinyurl.com/kqbkaoh

    • Stacey says:

      Here is a quote from the TSA webpage “Transporting Knitting Needles and Needlework: Items needed are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside which cannot go through the checkpoint and must go in your checked baggage.”
      Since it says they don’t allow circular thread cutters, I would hesitate to bring any type of thread cutter along. However, scissors are allowed with no problem. I bring my scissors as carry on every time I fly.

  16. Mary says:

    I buy a set of plastic crochet hooks just for this problem. I usually leave them in my suitcase for next trip. Of course they are not as good to work with, but it serves the purpose.. If they take them away, oh well!

  17. Marilee says:

    I travel with my crochet all the time. I’ve never had a problem with security in the USA (or Europe) except in Hawaii, where a TSA agent confiscated the baby blunted tip scissors I have had and traveled with for years. They were perfectly legal under TSA guidelines, so the guy was WRONG, but we were late for our flight and didn’t have time to call for a supervisor to intercede.

    Now I travel with a small dental floss container in my project bag, Not only can I easily cut yarn using it’s little built in floss cutter, I can use a piece of floss as a stitch marker.

    • Stacey says:

      Great tip!
      And yes, you bring up a really good point: it’s always at the discretion of a TSA agent, and sometimes they are just wrong. It stinks!

    • CPond says:

      Genius!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

      And Stacy, this is a great post–thanks for the info as well as all the tips and tricks.

  18. pat cooper says:

    great post and interesting comments. For a while I was traveling every weekend and I had no trouble carrying my hooks. I did, however, get stopped at a Social Security office, where the guard asked me to put my project back in the car! I also carry tiny Snippit scissors on a key ring on my needle case. I also usually pack extras in my luggage (if I have luggage). Thanks for the idea of carrying the print out.

  19. Rynette Coon says:

    I, too, carry a child scissors but I also have used the baby fingernail clippers that I carry at all times in my purse.

  20. Adriana says:

    I’m glad I found this post. I’ll be traveling to Paris in 2 weeks and was thinking about taking my hook to crochet on the long flight but was unsure of whether they would let me carry it on the way back. I’ll probably take a plastic one just in case.

    Were you able to take scissors on the flight back? I was thinking nail clippers might look less dangerous but I haven’t been able to find whether they are allowed or not.

    • Stacey says:

      Paris (and most of Europe) is a little tricky. They don’t have a statement saying that knitting needles/hooks are allowed, so it’s at the agent’s discretion. I almost had my crochet hooks taken away at De Gaulle, but once I explained (in French) what they were for, he gave me a look and let me slide. I had the feeling, though, that I was very close to having them taken away.

      I would bring nail clippers instead of scissors, just because the rules aren’t as lenient as the US.

  21. missvick says:

    A friend I was traveling with had her crochet hook taken at airport security in Ireland. It was really a bummer because she had purchased a whole lot of wonderful Irish wool yarn which she intended to occupy herself with crocheting on the long return flight. We had no such issue on the way to Ireland from the US.

    • Stacey says:

      Yes, Europe is a different story from the US. According to the regulations in most of Europe, they can take crochet hooks and knitting needles.