Out of curiosity I researched this briefly as a cross between procrastination and a reward for starting work at 7 am and working without pause until 1030, when I stopped for hot chocolate. It’s… interesting. In the Chinese sense. There’s no consistent policy, which must be fun for knitters who fly a lot. According to the written regulations (presumably airport security has the final say) the Canadian Air Transport Authority (responsible for all airports) allows all knitting needles (just keep scrolling down until you see ‘yes’ glowing a friendly green). The Canadian airline Zoom refers people to the CATA; on the other hand Air Canada has a cute cartoon of knitting needles (complete with knitting) in company with knives, scalpels and what I think is a Stanley knife (it might be an electric razor or a USB drive, but I’m not going to try to imagine the ways in which those could be used to hijack a plane) as things that have to go in hold baggage. According to this website the US Transport Security Administration allows knitting needles. The British Airports Authority says nothing at all about carry-on baggage on its website; Gatwick is a BAA airport and its list of prohibited items does not include knitting needles (I’m very taken by the notion of a sporting bat. How are they trained? Are there inter-species competitions? I’d be willing to subscribe to a sports channel to watch them). Birmingham isn’t on the BAA list; it doesn’t allow knitting needles. British Airways cheats, saying only “Please note that you cannot carry sharp items in your carry-on bags”. HOW sharp? Do they prohibit pencils? I can put a point on a drawing pencil that you might not believe; I believe it because I’ve got a permanent tattoo-equivalent on a finger where by some incredible sleight-of-hand (that’s what I call it) I managed to embed one and break the lead. Without even trying. I reckon that a properly sharpened pencil of the appropriate length could be a lethal weapon even if it wasn’t used to draft cutting political satire, or blackmail. More to the point (sorry), why so many different policies? Is the head of the TSA married to a knitter? Was the head of Birmingham Airport Security forced to wear scratchy wool sweaters as a child? Whence comes a deep-seated fear of knitting needles? I suspect it’s Freudian. Shouldn’t I be using my time more productively?
I’m just glad I never acquired the habit of always having a hatpin handy for self-defence (my grandmother’s advice).
Sarah, you absolutely can spindle while sitting down. However, it is a little hard to spindle in your standard coach airplane seat, because it’s so crowded.. Ideally, you should try out a top whorl spindle with a weight between 1-2 oz for beginning. Any lighter than 1 oz is for tiny spider web weight yarn. Larger than 2.5 oz will produce very thick yarn,and will hurt when you drop it on your foot. (yes, dropping a spindle is part of learning.) >>In the USA, I recommend people try a Bosworth or a Hatchtown, those are lovely spindles. However, there are many nice spindles out there, I don’t know what’s available near you in the UK. I like smaller ones in terms of length, because I’m short, and a support spindle (good for cotton or silk) might be good for an airplane since you could put it on the tray table. In any case, I think it is a good idea to practice before flying! Hope this helps.