Further to my post on the socks knitted on our plane trip, I thought I'd give some more details on my own experiences of sky-high knitting (and above is my nearly-second pair of socks knitted on the same trip). Obviously I can't speak for all airlines, nor the behaviour one can expect of all airline officials, but only my own experiences here...
When I made my own enquiries with Qantas I was given the guideline "nothing bigger nor thicker than a ballpoint pen". So I presumed that the little double ended needles used to knit socks would be alright, since they are as it happens much smaller and thinner than a ballpoint pen. As a further safeguard, since "metal", and "pointy", and particularly a combination of those two qualities, seems to be the biggest no-no's when boarding a plane, I figured it would be sensible to get hold of some bamboo needles. Eliminate the "metal" factor, at least. And I had absolutely no dramas going through security, nor on the plane.
Can I just digress for one minute to mention how nice bamboo needles are?? Love working with these things... Metal is the best, natch. Plastic is the worst. Just my opinion...
I bought this pack containing 5 needles, the label gives the dimensions of these needles as 20cm long and 2mm thick. And they are flimsy. Man are they flimsy... in the packet there is the fifth needle that I snapped whilst knitting with them... :( You have to be really careful when using these little things. Or it could just be that I am too rough? But thank goodness the manufacturers were kind enough and had the foresight to include the fifth needle...!
If you are a really keen knitter and wish to do some larger scale knitting in the air then it might be worthwhile hunting down and purchasing a kit like this one below...
I bought this set of airline approved needles about seven years ago from a local yarn shop now sadly gone, Cottonfields.
The Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles. This is an American product, and interestingly the instructions give the same guidelines we have ... specifically mentioning the "nothing bigger nor thicker than a ballpoint pen" line in their Airline-Safe blurb.
The set comprises a not-quite-complete-but-adequate range of sizes, and you can join all the bits and pieces together to create knitting needles both single pointed and circular, of various lengths, simply by choosing different lengths of piping to suit whatever you are working on. A big downside; this is an expensive option, one of those purchases that had me sweating and wondering whether I was truly mad even thinking of spending good money on yet more knitting needles when I already have a complete set of ordinary needles, for petes sake... but now I figure it to be a worthwhile purchase. Why? Because I am a really keen knitter. Keen enough to resent sitting on a plane for hours with nothing to do with my hands... And since I got them I have used them to knit two complete jumpers on separate trips. Worth it? Ohhh yeah!
Oh, the website is www.knitdenise.com for those who are as keen as me.
When it comes to snipping the yarn; I have a tiny pair of plastic handled, kindergarten-grade kiddies' scissors that usually live permanently in my knitting bag, and I left these out before we set off for the airport. And good thing too, as I saw lots of these innocent things sitting in the bin of confiscated potential instruments of terror. (insert eye-roll here...) Luckily sock yarn is quite skinny and thin and I managed to break it when I needed to by just yanking it hard. Yeah, not ideal, I know. Can someone invent some plastic scissors, please?