Though it’s not common, it wouldn’t be strange to find someone knitting on an airplane from Southwest Airlines during the flight. That’s when you know you’re looking at a passionate knitter. If you’re likewise a knitter, then it would make sense if you want to do the same. But then again, you would be curious, are knitting needles allowed on Southwest Airlines, or were they just lucky?
Interestingly enough, yes, knitting needles are allowed on Southwest Airlines, or any other airlines in the US, for that matter, so long as you follow their guidelines relevant to needles.
Unfortunately, though, only SOME knitting needles are allowed. Certain types might be prohibited. In other words, if you want to ensure that you can bring your knitting needles on a Southwest Airlines flight, there are a few things you need to know. Let’s start with the basics first.
Are You Allowed to Take Knitting Needles on a Plane?
You’re allowed to take knitting needles on a plane. This privilege isn’t exclusive to Southwest Airlines. In fact, the majority of airlines in the United States allow knitting needles during flights.
This policy is upheld by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which, as you may already know, is the agency responsible for ensuring the security of the transportation systems of the US. The guidelines or regulations they impose apply to most airlines. However, since airlines do have the right to refuse service, they can add other restrictions in regard to baggage.
These are what they call airline-specific policies, which are outside the jurisdiction of the TSA. Put simply, airlines can prohibit items that even the TSA allows, so it’s not all black and white.
In other words, being given the privilege to bring your knitting needles and other supplies with you on your last flight doesn’t mean your next flight would allow you the same privilege.
The best practice would be to contact the customer support staff of the airlines you intend to fly with and discuss their policies concerning knitting needles. That should save you a lot of time.
It’s also worth noting that TSA’s policies may occasionally change, which begs the question…
How Do I Know if Knitting Needles Are Allowed on a Plane?
In order to figure out which items you can bring in a flight, your best bet would be to look at the official website of TSA, specifically in their What Can I Bring section. You can find a search bar there which you can use to type in the name of items you intend to bring. Then, the page should show you if that item is allowed (indicated by a checkmark) or not (indicated by an X mark).
There should be a separate answer for the two types of baggage: (1) carry-on bags and (2) checked bags. In the case of knitting needles, you’ll see that it’s allowed in both types.
Keep in mind that this platform will only show you what TSA generally allows and what they prohibit. All airlines will prohibit items with an X mark on this page, but some airlines will not allow items even if it has a checkmark on this same page. In other words, you should still inquire about the policies of the airline you intend to fly with, even if the item is allowed by the TSA.
Does Southwest Airlines Allow Knitting Needles?
The majority of airlines in the United States allow passengers to bring knitting needles. Thankfully, Southwest Airlines is part of that majority. So, yes, Southwest Airlines allows knitting needles.
Of course, that won’t always be the case since there are instances where even the crew isn’t aware or knowledgeable about the policy of the airlines they’re working for. So, even if Southwest Airlines allow knitting needles, the crew may confiscate your knitting needles due to their lack of knowledge. Considering how most people don’t knit during a flight, it’s understandable.
Can You Take Knitting Needles in Hand Luggage on a Plane?
There are two types of baggage, as stated earlier. These are carry-on bags and checked bags.
Carry-on bags are essentially bags that you place in the overhead racks on top of your seat. You have access to the items inside this bag during the flight. Examples of items that can be found inside a carry-on bag include electronic devices like tablets and laptops, clothing, books, snacks, wallets, jewelry, and medical devices or medication. Of course, that also includes knitting needles.
Checked bags are bags that contain similar items to carry-on bags. The only difference with their contents is that they’re typically heavier or greater in quantity. Moreover, items that passengers aren’t allowed to carry inside the passenger area are typically stored in these bags.
For example, passengers are usually not allowed to bring large scissors with them on their seats, much less use them during the flight. So, scissors are contained in the checked bags.
Unlike carry-on bags, you don’t have access to checked bags during the flight. They’re located in the cargo—a part of the airplane that passengers and some of the staff normally cannot access.
When you talk about hand luggage, it refers to carry-on bags. Since knitting needles are allowed on both checked and carry-on bags, then yes, you can take knitting needles in hand luggage.
However, that’s assuming you comply with the regulations concerning knitting needles.
What Are the Restrictions Imposed on Needles by Southwest Airlines?
Although knitting needles are generally allowed on Southwest Airlines, there are certain restrictions imposed on these items that you must follow, or else you cannot bring them with you.
Here’s a look at each of these restrictions.
It goes without saying that a metal knitting needle is much more intimidating than a plastic or wooden needle. So, it makes sense that it’ll receive more scrutiny in Southwest Airlines if it’s made of metal. That doesn’t mean it’s prohibited. It simply means there’s a greater chance the crew would refuse to allow you to bring it with you on the carry-on bags and in the overhead racks.
As you may already know, knitting needles come in different types. There are circular knitting needles and straight knitting needles. Each varies in shape, but they may also vary in sharpness.
Certain knitting needles have a rounded tip, while others have a pointy tip. And as one might expect, those with a pointy tip would be subject to more scrutiny, at least more than those with a rounded tip. However, a pointy tip doesn’t immediately make the knitting needle prohibited.
One of the more unique restrictions of Southwest Airlines as far as knitting needles are concerned is the construction. Basically, they don’t want knitting needles that are attached to a blade, as stated on their official website. Of course, no knitter would attach their needles to a blade, so that particular restriction shouldn’t be an issue.
Lastly, Southwest Airlines, and many other airlines, prefer passengers who bring knitting needles to have a case, sheath, or any other method to store the needles safely to avoid accidental injury.
Interestingly enough, Southwest Airlines doesn’t have a restriction when it comes to the needle’s size. Even if a larger needle is more intimidating and threatening and has a greater security risk than a small needle, they allow knitting needles regardless of size. But of course, it should be small enough to fit in the overhead rack. Otherwise, it’s better off stored in checked bags.
What Items Are Not Allowed on a Southwest Flight?
There are a couple of items not allowed on a Southwest Flight, some more obvious than others.
Here are examples of the most obvious items prohibited by airlines:
- Flammable materials or explosives, e.g., dynamite, aerosol sprays, fireworks
- Weapons and firearms
- Illegal drugs and narcotics
- Self-defense items, e.g., stun guns, brass knuckles, pepper spray
- Hazardous materials, e.g., lithium batteries
- Biological materials, e.g., human remains and live animals
- Excessively bulky items
In addition to these, there are items that the TSA and other airlines may allow but are prohibited on Southwest Airlines flights. These include the following:
- Electronic cigarettes
- Smart luggage
- Sports equipment, e.g., golf club, baseball bats
It may still vary according to location. We suggest looking at the TSA’s What Can I Bring page. Any item with an X mark there isn’t allowed on US airlines, including Southwest Flight.
If you happen to bring an item prohibited by the airline, there’s bound to be some commotion as they inspect your luggage. It can escalate quickly and may delay the takeoff, and you most certainly don’t want that. So, it’s best to know about these things beforehand.