In one of the most drastic revisions of airline rules since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, federal officials and Travel Safety Administration released a statement on Tuesday, March 5 announcing that airline passengers will be permitted to carry knives and other post 9/11 banned items aboard domestic and international flights.
TSA administrator John Pistole said in a statement, that effective April 25, airline passengers will be able to carry pocketknives with blades less than 2.36 inches long and less than half an inch wide. Souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment such as hockey sticks and pool cues will also be allowed in flight cabins. Flight attendants and baggage personnel decried the move, countering that space aboard a plane is already at a premium and the additional items will impose a hardship on travelers and workers.
The news of relaxed TSA standards and air travel regulations sparked outrage among Sept. 11 terrorist attacks survivors and family members of those who died, as well as unions representing flight attendants and other airline workers.
Deborah Bueller whose brother piloted the plane which crashed in the Pentagon, said “a pocketknife can be just as deadly as a box cutter, like the ones the hijackers used.” Box cutters will still be banned under the new rules.
In other segments of the industry and among some travelers, the move is thought to make ‘common sense,’ citing that the policy aligns the U.S. with international standards and allows the TSA to concentrate on more serious safety threats.
But in a transcript of the 2003 interrogation of the 911 terrorist attacks mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he told interrogators that the hijackers each used "a Swiss knife," a brand of pocketknife, to butcher a sheep and a camel as part of their training.
Those opposing the move on the part of the TSA, claim the agency is just attempting to save face in light of increased criticism for the agencies performance and suspect that TSA decided to allow folding knives because they are hard to spot. Agency's employees admint they have a difficult time seeing the knives on X-ray screening, which lowers their performance testing rates.
But in a side note, this writer attemoted to carry on a container of salad dressing which was confiscated from me in the search, because it was a liquid. I have also been able to not only board with a cork screw on more than one occasion, I have even had TSA do the enhanced search, find the corkscrew and give it back to me.
Do the new TSA rules make sense to you? Please send us your comments.