Attention—air travelers: Packing a yogurt in your carry-on is still verboten, but packing a Swiss Army knife is now OK. The federal agency tasked with overseeing airline safety said Tuesday it is changing its policy on some items passengers are allowed to take onboard.
Lemon Grove residents, have you had an item confiscated at the airport by the TSA? Does this policy change make sense to you? Tell us in comments.
The decision by the Transportation Security Administration to ease rules on pocketknives and some sports equipment has sparked opposition from those who work in the airline industry and the families of 9/11 victims.
A spokesman for TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said the decision was made after a committee reviewed the items “based on an overall risk-based security approach.”
Pocketknives with blades less than 2.36 inches long and less than half an inch wide are now permitted in the cabins of commercial flights, as are souvenir bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, and pool cues in carry-on bags.
[What's permitted/prohibited? See the TSA .pdfs in the media box attached to this article.]
The policy change takes affect April 25.
The decision was denounced by the Allied Pilots Association, the union that represents American Airlines pilots.
"It represents a significant step backward in security," spokesman Gregg Overman told the Los Angeles Times.
Stacy K. Martin, president of Southwest Airlines' flight attendants union, TWU Local 556, also opposed the change, telling the LATimes:
“While we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin.”
“It’s as if we didn’t learn anything from 9/11,” said George Randall Taylor, head of the air marshal unit of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. “Flight attendants are going to be sitting ducks.”
It’s a “dreadful mistake to loosen the rules,” said Alice Hoagland, whose son Mark Bingham was a leader of the attempt to take back Flight 93.
“We are increasing the chances of flight attendants and passengers being attacked while in the air,” she said. “This decision was made in order to make the TSA look a little better, to ease up on the standard so they won't have egg on their face.”
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Critics of the move say folding knives are hard to find with X-ray screening, and missing them is lowering the performance testing rates of agency employees.
The TSA says the policy aligns with the standards of international carriers and allows airport security screeners to focus on threats such as bombs.
Have you had an item confiscated by the TSA? Does this policy change make sense to you? Tell us in the comments section below.