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January 14, 2005

...When You Pry It Out of My Cold, Dead Hands

Jason and I are New Jersey-bound this weekend, which reminds me of an experience I'd been meaning to ask you all about. The last time we flew to vist my parents, there was terrible weather. There were delays everywhere and while travel delays suck, at least I had my knitting.

And that's where it gets weird -- my knitting. We boarded the plane, and after quite a while we finally got clearance to take off. As we taxied to the runway the flight attendant did her final walk-through, checking that everybody was off their cell phone and seat-belted in. When she got to my row, she looked at me and told me I had to put my knitting away until we had taken off.

Not wanting to be arrested for the federal crime of ignoring the instructions of a flight attendant, I complied despite the fact that it was an absurd request. Knitting isn't an electronic device, and it's not carry-on luggage which must be safely stowed. Was my knitting was somehow considered dangerous in the event of unexpected turbulence during take-off? If so, how come Jason was allowed to keep reading his hard-back book?

I calmed myself with the knowledge that take-off is short, and as soon as we were safely aloft I got back to knitting. Forty-five minutes later I saw the sparkly lights of the Ben Franklin bridge, signalling that our weather-delayed trip was nearly over. Or not. The pilot came on and announced that we would have to circle for a while because Philadelphia was backed up. We were to keep our seat-belts on and our electronic devices off so that we could land with as little delay as possible once he got the go-ahead from the tower.

At the end of his announcement, the flight attendant breezed through the cabin and -- you guessed it -- told me I had to put my knitting away. Before I could even protest she was gone, leaving me with no option except to sit in bored silence while Jason read his hard-cover book as we circled. For an hour.

I fly frequently for work and play, and this had never happened to me before. We were flying Southwest, which we always fly when we visit my parents. It was extremely strange. Has anybody ever experienced anything like this?

Posted by shannon at January 14, 2005 4:18 PM | For related posts:


I was told on a flight to Puerto Rico that it was due to the fact we could crash during take off and landing and the knitting needles would become dangerous projectiles under those circumstances. The lady I changed seats with was not able to knit at all during the flight due to where she was sitting. It would have inconvenienced the flight attendants and passengers while they were trying to negotiate the aisle. I have never been more thankful to trade for the emergency row seat during such a long flight, books just don't cut it when you are flying for hours on end.

I guess it all depends on the fight attendants, as I have knitted during landings and take offs on subsequent flights, even to and from Ireland in Nov. 2001.

Posted by: Heather at January 14, 2005 4:42 PM

Sheesh! I would have had a hard time not making a smark-aleck comment to the flight attendant!

Posted by: Katie O. at January 14, 2005 6:14 PM

Yup, happened to me to, but just for landing. I made some sense at the time, since there were air pockets and the ride was bumpy. I didn't mind since the landing takes just a few minutes. But you're right, other people are holding heavy, pointy object which are potentially harmful!

Posted by: veronique at January 15, 2005 2:18 PM

I haven't encountered this yet. Thanks, however, for the heads up. I'll start being more surreptitious. I usually fly on United - I blogged on the experience today.

Posted by: Laurie at January 16, 2005 11:25 PM

It's happened to me several times on different airlines - once we were up in the air knitting was fair game. Guess they don't want you to impail yourself or your fellow passengers in the event of a crash (which I assume is more likely during take-off and landing)...

Posted by: diane at January 17, 2005 11:18 AM

It's because of the takeoff-landing thing that Heather mentioned above. Planes rarely fall out of the sky - they are more likely to crash near taking off or landing. And of course, pointy bits of metal or wood or plastic flying at you at 100mph or more is NOT a good thing. My dad's a pilot, so I'm not particularly paranoid about flying, but I would say you should put it up even if the steward/ess forgets to tell you to do it.

Posted by: Zabet at January 18, 2005 10:45 AM