Yesterday the Transportation Security Administration announced that it was tweaking the rules regarding small pocketknives, carry-on golf clubs and other sporting equipment. While travelers sick of losing their Swiss Army knives and other little blades rejoiced over the decision, groups representing Federal Air Marashals and flight attendants are all like, “Wait, hold up — knives on planes? Really?”
The groups are asking the TSA to reconsider the move, which allows small pocketknives that meet certain requirements: Blades can’t lock in place, be longer than 2.36 inches (shorter than the four inches allowed at the time of the 9/11 attacks) or more than a half-inch at the blade’s widest points and can’t have molded grips. The change goes into effect April 25 and both groups are displeased over the policy.
They say that the TSA is forgetting about terrorist attacks, the kind that prompted the agency’s birth in the first place even before 9/11.
“It’s as if we didn’t learn anything from 9/11,” George Randall Taylor, head of the air marshal unit of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association told CNN. “Flight attendants are going to be sitting ducks.”
He adds that air marshals have been sending in complaints to him by the hundreds, saying “They’re very upset” about the decision.
Along with that opposition is the outcry from a union representing 9,000 flight attendants. The Coalition of Flight Attendant unions called it a “poor and short-sighted decision by the TSA.”
“Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place,” the union said in a statement.
In announcing the change to policy yesterday, TSA Administrator John Pistole said it was in line with his “risk-based security” initiative that focus on finding bombs during the screening process.