Friday, February 19, 2016

@AskTSA Travel Tips In Over 140 Characters: Knitting Needles & Sewing Supplies



a photo of knitted airplane

The @AskTSA team received this tweet earlier today. It’s a common question, so we thought we’d address it this week. 

A screen capture of an @AskTSA message

Let me get directly to the point here. I’m not spinning a yarn when I tell you that knitting needles and needlepoint items, including scissors under four-inches, are allowed in your carry-on bags. This includes and is not limited to circular knitting needles, bamboo, wooden, aluminum, metal, and plastic knitting needles, double pointed knitting needles, knitting hooks, knitting stitch holders, sewing kits, sewing needles, sewing pins, and sewing scissors (blades shorter than 4 in).


However, circular thread cutters, or any thread cutter with a blade must be packed in your checked baggage.



AskTSA icon
If you’re scratching your head and wondering what @AskTSA is, it’s a small team of TSA professionals from various agency offices who answer TSA related questions from the traveling public that are sent via Twitter. You can read more about the program in this recent USA Today article.



You may also wish to consult with your airline about any policies they may have regarding the item (s) you’d like to travel with.



If you have any TSA related travel questions, please send a tweet to our @AskTSA team. They’re available to answer your questions, 8 a.m.- 10 p.m., Eastern time, weekdays; 9 a.m. -7 p.m., weekends/holidays.



Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!





Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why can I bring scissors with a 4-inch blade onto a plane, but not a knife with a 4-inch blade? If I had a screwdriver, I could easily convert those scissors into TWO knives with 4-inch blades.

It's almost like your policies are foolish and inconsistent, and aren't really about protecting anyone or anything other than your misbegotten agency's budget.

Susan Richart said...

You going to address all the comments on AskTSA about bad behavior and attitude on the part of screeners, Bob?

BTW, I know several women who take their circular thread cutters through your checkpoints with no problems at all.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Fix the TSA said...

Is this blog reverting to the bad old days of Bob making what he thinks are jokes?

What's with regurgitating Twitter questions rather than answering questions asked on this very blog?

Bob, you keep repeating that @AskTSA is "...a small team of TSA professionals from various agency offices"?

But the TSA solicited vendors (private contractors) to run the @AskTSA Twitter account:

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=1f531205ba3a331bc6a53fb42d0168e9&tab=core&_cview=0

So are you saying the @AskTSA employees are not contractors, Bob? Some clarification would be helpful to American taxpayers.

Unknown said...

In December 2014, on a flight from Edmonton, Canada to DFW - I was randomly selected for a bag search at the boarding gate. I was carrying a Gerber Curve pocket tool [http://www.gerbergear.com/Activity/Everyday/Curve-Tool_31-000206] in my carry-on backpack. The knife on this tool is only 1.25 inches long.

Can the TSA comment on why it was confiscated, when it has been mentioned that blades up to 4" are, technically, allowed.

I asked the (very polite) TSA officer about blades up to 4" being allowed, and her reply was (something to the effect of) the "FAM's and pilots not liking any blades being allowed".
Are the TSA officials on the ground enforcing their own standard, when the TSA already has other published standards?

Note that I was in no way whatsoever being aggressive or threatening or loud etc., and my bag had already been searched before I boarded the flight in Canada.

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Bob, really? You can't do any better in response to Susan's column?

RB said...

http://m.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/atlanta-airport-gm-tsa-get-your-act-together-or-yo/nqSTT/

A more interesting discussion would have been about the letter Atlanta airport GM sent to Neffenger.

Get your act together TSA! Classic notice for being fired!

GSOLTSO said...

Unknown sez - "The knife on this tool is only 1.25 inches long.

Can the TSA comment on why it was confiscated, when it has been mentioned that blades up to 4" are, technically, allowed."

No knives are allowed, regardless of blade size. The regulations have not changed since before I came to work here in 2005. There was a proposal to make a change to the knife rules, but the proposal was never actually put into place.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

OK, so one comment that adhered to policy has not been published by West. How many others will there be?

Anonymous said...

So I can bring scissors with three inch blades but not a two inch pocket knife? I can bring knitting kneedles made of steel but I can't bring a screwdriver. I can bring seven wee bottles of water but not one big one.... It seems like all your rules were created by committee to sound good but not actually accomplish anything.

Maybe the Atlanta airport is the beginning of you end.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between a knife with a four inch blade and scissors with four inch blades?

tramky said...

The huge inconsistencies that occur at checkpoints have been--and remain--a huge problem for the flying public. Thefts of personal items (oh, that's right, TSA calls it confiscation) by agents, absurd and inconsistent 'regulations' about permitted items. Personal pique of agents and airline crews.

I read all the time about how knives have been prohibited since the very origin of the TSA, but I flew several flights with a pocket knife--on 2, perhaps 3, occasions, I've literally had pocket knives with 2 or 2.5-inch blades looked over by TSA checkpoint agents, and given back to me, hand-to-hand. I've also more recently had 2 pocket knives stolen at checkpoints (oops! confiscated) at a combined personal financial loss of ab out $60.

Since airports were mostly rendered obsolete in their utility and design with the post-9/11 security programs, the suggestion to somehow return something that is being blocked at a security checkpoint to your long-gone, in-the-bowels of the terminal checked bag when in the process of making a scheduled flight is absurd and mostly doesn't happen. Can't go--you lose! Not right. I don't like having the Federal government steal my personal property, especially with careless glibness.

RB said...

Anonymous said...What's the difference between a knife with a four inch blade and scissors with four inch blades?February 20, 2016 at 2:53 PM
___________________________________

That's easy. With the scissors you have two 4 inch sharp edged blades while the knife is only one blade.

Just one example of the idiocy of TSA.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of all of the complaints. On a recent flight I was treated with courtesy and respect by all TSA agents even after I failed to correctly follow directions concerning a medical device I was carrying. And it was probably because I was courteous and polite to them. I agree that the regulations are sometimes difficult to understand and don't make sense to me but I am eternally grateful that someone is at least trying to protect me.

Anonymous said...

Tramky, actually it isn't even confiscated. You as a passenger are given the opportunity to do several things with your prohibited items. You can check the bag under the plane in most cases, you can leave the item with someone who is not traveling, you can return it to your car or you can abandon the item to TSA. The choice is entirely up to you. TSA does not, and has not confiscated anything. Yet people still insist they had not choice...

Anonymous said...

tramky said...
It must be pointed out that little bags of cocaine or any other drug have NOTHING to do with aircraft safety. NOTHING. I don't know why TSA deals with that kind of stuff. It is a distraction from the intention and underlying mission of the TSA.

Simply stating that "but it is illegal" still have NOTHING to with the safety of the flying public or flight safety. Focus the mission, TSA.

however, when an officer looks at an xray image and sees that there is a mass of some sort where a battery should be, it requires some investigation. Is it explosives? Who knows. They have to look. Once found it becomes a crime and become the job of law enforcement. Simple solution, don't try to smuggle drugs. But you had to know this already...

Wintermute said...

Then why does too brass, as well as PR folks, use the word "confiscate?" 2nd point, what you are saying is what is SUPPOSED to happen. We all know that isn't always the case.

Fix the TSA said...

Bold TSAnonymous said...
Tramky, actually it isn't even confiscated. You as a passenger are given the opportunity to do several things with your prohibited items. You can check the bag under the plane in most cases, you can leave the item with someone who is not traveling, you can return it to your car or you can abandon the item to TSA. The choice is entirely up to you. TSA does not, and has not confiscated anything. Yet people still insist they had not choice...

Often, TSA screeners do not give the person the option to leave the screening area and check the item. The woman who had her two-inch long sock puppet's toy gun confiscated was not given an option to check it. Was the woman who had her Jimmy Choo perfume confiscated given the option to check it?

Other times, the screening line is so long, there is no way for a person to leave the screening area, find a bag, envelope, or something to put the small item in to check it, stand in line at the baggage check, go through the process of paying $25.00 or more to check said item at the counter, and go back through the screening area, all in time to catch his flight. Remember, if it's less than fifteen minutes before the flight departs, the passenger cannot board the plane.

Leaving the item in your car requires even more time, especially if one parks at a remote lot. Anyone who took mass transit does not have an option to leave the item in his car.

Leaving the item with a person not traveling does not work for business people who travel for work and often are not in their home towns. Plus, it doesn't work for people who go to the airport by themselves.

Taking property from someone under the color of government authority and penalizing them (you will be detained or barred from flying if you insist upon taking the item through) for attempting to keep his own private property is in no way "abandoning" the item. It is confiscated directly by a TSA screener or indirectly through TSA policies.

All to the states' benefit too, who sell such items at state thrift or resale stores.

Susan Richart said...

You really need to do some brain training to improve your memory, Boldy:

"All have been confiscated from travelers screened at TSA checkpoints, Lisa Farbstein, TSA spokeswoman at the airport, said Thursday afternoon."

David Castelveter, spokesperson for the TSA:

"We just keep track of the confiscations,....” Castelveter said.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

How can one knit w/ needles less than 4 inches long? Only if one is knitting a sweater for a Barbie Doll, I suppose.

Katie Gullickson said...

The scissor blades must be less than 4 inches, not the knitting needles.