As both a frequent flyer and knitter this is a question I get asked a lot!
I cannot speak on behalf of airlines or the airport security policies of different destinations – all of which have their own guidelines. The USA and UK have detailed information online about knitting needles in checked baggage (plus info on all those other less important items you may want to bring on the airplane with you). I generally check with them before flying in any destination as they usually have the most strict guidelines, which seem to be followed by other countries.
This is a great tool that allows you to type in whatever item you want to find out about and it. See below for the current advice on knitting needles onboard, which indicates they can be checked, subject to additional screening.
The TSA site has a search tool with detailed advice on what items are allowed in carry-on baggage in flights departing from US airports.
The Civil Aviation Authority publishes its Hand luggage restrictions at UK airports online here. The current advice on knitting needles is that they are OK for hand luggage.
The UK’s CAA regularly updates their information about hang luggage items allowed.
Ultimately, airport security can use their own discretion to ban any items they deem unsafe from being brought onboard the aircraft, so it is always good to have a back up plan.
Here are a few knitting travel tips
DON’T transport your work on needles. Transport it on a plastic stitch holder so that you aren’t stuck removing it from the needles and potentially transporting it with live stitches hanging!
DO Pick up some bamboo needles – this isn’t a science but they somehow seem less intimidating and often have smoother points.
London to Toronto, finishing up a cable-knit oneise for a friend on the way!
Happy travels and happy knitting!