Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Knitting Needles of Terror December 6, 2010

Wednesday I made my final (sob) visit to my LYS, Yarn on the Square, where I snagged the vibrant yarn I’d lusted over countless times – enough to make a hat (please, let it be enough for a hat!).  During discourse over my purchase the proprietor informed me that the UK ban on flying with knitting needles had been lifted.  Rejoice! She said she read it in a magazine about a month ago.

Whew!  No more secreting my needles among other items and holding my breath until I was through security.

Travel day arrived and I shoved my sock project in my hand baggage with a clear conscience.

We received a final tour of London as our cabbie avoided the M25 due to snow and bad drivers.  We watched snowflakes swirl as we passed the London Eye, Parliament, Westminster, Buckingham Palace, and Harrods. It was lovely.  The American Airlines check-in line, however, was not lovely at all.  The announcement that they were closing our flight caused us and a multitude of other impatient travelers to jump to the head of the line.  (Yes, we were the ones that you hate as you wait your turn.)  However, it wasn’t our fault as the service was unaccountably slow with the many jauntily dressed employees doing a stellar job of holding the floor down as they chit chatted.  Once at the front, a brief disagreement ensued with the AA gatekeeper about whether our extra baggage was included in the ticket.  We emerged victorious, in spite of her threats.

We raced to security, stripping as we went, only to be stymied by the inept who insist on waiting until they get to the black buckets to remove every bit of lint from their pockets.  Those of us standing there with shoes, coat, scarf, bagged liquids, laptop, belt and change in hand, glaring at you offer the following bit of traveling wisdom, “You know this is coming so get ready before you get to the front of the line or we are going to start invoking our right to jump ahead of your unprepared self.”  (Not that I’m bitter.)  We arrived at the gate panting, sweating, shins screaming from the 8,000 mile hike and £15 in hand that we were going to spend on breakfast, but instead spent at the vending machine.

Then we settled into our seats with a sigh of relief and I readied for a movie and knitting marathon.

Halfway through Eat, Pray, Love the nice expat Brit living in Tucson leaned over to ask me how I got my knitting needles on board.

“Oh, they lifted that ban,” I answered authoritatively. “Not that I ever let it stop me.  I figured the worst that would happen is that would take my needles and I would cry.” I smiled brightly and returned to my sock and Julia Roberts.

But then I started to wonder.  Did I just lie to that woman?  I envisioned her being escorted to a tiny sterile room by a burly security guard holding her knitting needles of terror in an evidence bag as she cursed my name.  I should never disseminate unverified information.  So, today I checked.

And I sort of lied.

According to the UK government guidelines listed on direct.gov.uk you are allowed knitting needles in your hand baggage.

However, according to the Heathrow website, you are NOT allowed knitting needles in your hand baggage.

Hmmm, which is correct?  What’s a knitter to do?  Well, I, for one, will continue to travel with my needles and hope my fellow traveler never finds herself in trouble for listening to me.  Which reminds me…I need to check up on TSA guidelines.

What’s been your knitting needle travel experience?

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2 Responses to “Knitting Needles of Terror”

  1. Dina Says:

    I’ve traveled from Oregon to Spain and back a dozen times since 9/11. At first it was a “ain’t no way, lady!” kind of deal. Yes, I lost a pair of bamboo circulars. I mean – HELLO?! – what kind of damage could be done with those little things?! And… a wonderful pair of little sewing scissors. My own fault, really, I should have realized they’d not let me pass with them. As things relaxed a bit, I invested in all TSA-approved items and have had no problems traveling with knitting gear ever since. Even the over-the-top security screening (hours-long in the making) in Amsterdam wasn’t a problem. As I waited to get patted down and justify every item on my person I was fully prepared to have to surrender my lovely needles. But no! The security personnel seemed not at all bothered by my knitting or any of the other little bits of needed paraphanelia that it required. PHEW!

    Can you imagine? 27 hours of traveling *without* knitting?! I THINK NOT!


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