Thursday, September 4, 2014

Flying to Orlando?

So you are flying to SAGA Sewcation in Orlando, Florida and want to know what the rules are regarding your precious sewing items and the airport/airplane security.

The TSA has a wonderful website  and on the site you can search under ‘Traveler Information’- ‘What to know before you go’- ‘Permitted and Prohibited Items’. The site lets you type in the item (such as ‘sewing machine’) and then it gives you the answer.

Please note:

It’s important to know that even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.

Here are just a few of the answers from the TSA website regarding some basic sewing items:

Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than 4 inches are allowed, but blades longer than 4 inches are prohibited.*

                  (*This means you need to pack these in your checked luggage).
Yes, these can go on the plane.
    No, these need to be in your checked luggage.

NOTE: Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and Security Officers.

In general, you may place your knitting needles and needlepoint tools* in carry-on or checked baggage.
Circular thread cutters or any other cutter or needlepoint* tools that contain blades must be placed in checked baggage. You are permitted to keep scissors smaller than 4 inches in your carry-on baggage.
(*Note: This refers to any sewing needles and crochet hooks also).
Sewing Machines: You may transport this item in carry-on baggage or in checked baggage. For items you wish to carry-on, you should check with the airline to ensure that the item will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane.
Will it fit under the seat or in the over head bin?
To help officers get a clear look at your bag and reduce the need for additional screening, we suggest you pack your bag in neat layers (layer of clothes, layer of electronics, layer of clothes, layer of shoes, etc.) and wrap cords tightly around electronics items.
Other Electronic Items: Please carefully pack your electronic items, making sure all cords are wrapped and any DVDs, CDs, or cassettes are removed from their devices. While you can pack expensive, fragile electronics items in checked or carry-on bags, we recommend packing them in your carry-on.
Carry this on.
Laptop computers, full-size video game consoles, CPAP machines, full-size DVD players, and video cameras that use video cassettes must be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for x-ray screening. Small and portable electronic items (smart phones, tablets, portable games, etc.) do not need to be removed from their carrying cases or carryon bags.

For items you wish to carry-on, you should check with the airline to ensure that the item will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane.
Some other useful information to know before you go:

The 3-1-1 Liquids Rule

You are allowed to bring one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces or less per container. Consolidating these containers in the small bag separate from your carry-on baggage enables TSA officers to screen them quickly.

3-1-1 for carry-ons. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container; must be in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. The bag limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring.

Be prepared. Each time a TSA officer stops to physically screen a carry-on bag, it slows down the line. Practicing the 3-1-1 rule will facilitate the checkpoint experience.

Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces, and they don’t have to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening.

If in doubt, put your liquids, gels, creams and pastes in checked baggage.

And very importantly, do not forget to have a government issued photo ID with you so you can actually get on your flight! (see the TSA website for accepted forms of ID).

So hopefully this article has helped you to decide what you can carry on to the plane and what needs to be packed. Unfortunately you are on your own regarding what clothes and shoes you will need!



  1. Just to confirm that it is indeed up to the person manning the security booth. I have taken small scissors through airports with no problem only to have them confiscated at another. Don't take any scissor that you will be sad to lose!! Just in case. See you soon!

  2. I have found the same to be true. If I want to sew on the plane, I take along a nail clipper to clip my threads with. It works well enough to get to my destination and do a proper job!