TSA to allow small knives on planes

Fight attendant groups upset with partial rollback of post 9/11 rules


by Mike Strehlow

Washington, D.C.--For the first time since the 9/11 attacks, airline passengers will be allowed to carry small knives and certain other previously banned items onto planes. 

The TSA says the relaxed rules will not compromise passenger safety and will bring the United States more in line with international carry-on rules.

"I think maybe we've gone a little too far anyway with security, so I don't see it as a big issue," said one air traveler at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

Beginning April 25th, knives with blades that don't lock and are no more than 2.36 inches long and a half-inch wide, will be allowed on board.  So will previously banned sporting equipment such as hockey and lacrosse sticks, billard cues, ski poles, toy and souvenir baseball bats less than 24 inches long, and two golf clubs.

The TSA says the new rules are "part of an overall risk-based security approach" and will allow officers to "better focus their efforts on finding higher-threat items such as explosives."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said "The metaphor that I use is, if we have to search for a needle in a haystack, we need to make the haystack smaller."

Flight attendant groups say the policy changes will endanger the lives of passengers and crew members outside of the cockpit.

"They're putting the responsibility of the cabin completely on us," said Stacy K. Martin, who represents Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Union.

"Flight attendants, the last line of defense and the first responders on board the aircraft, believe this is a bad idea," said Veda Shook, International President for the Association of Flight Attendants.

Although small knives will be allowed on board, razor blades and boxcutters will continue to be banned from aircraft cabins.










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