TSA to allow small knives on planes

2013-03-08 11:48

kalahari.com

Washington - Airline passengers in the United States will be able to carry small knives, souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes beginning next month under a policy change announced by the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The new policy conforms U.S. security standards to international standards, and allows TSA to concentrate its energies on more serious safety threats, the agency said in a statement.

The announcement, made by TSA Administrator John Pistole at an airline industry gathering in New York, drew an immediate outcry from unions representing flight attendants and other airline workers, who said the items are still dangerous in the hands of the wrong passengers.

The policy change was based on a recommendation from an internal TSA working group, which decided the items represented no real danger, said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the agency.

The presence on flights of gun-carrying pilots traveling as passengers, federal air marshals and airline crew members trained in self-defense provide additional layers of security to protect against misuse of the items, he said. However, not all flights have federal air marshals or armed pilots onboard.

The new policy permits folding knives with blades that are 2.36 inches or less in length and are less than 1/2-inch wide. The policy is aimed at allowing passengers to carry pen knives, corkscrews with small blades and other knives.

Passengers also will be allowed to bring onboard as part of their carry-on luggage novelty-sized baseball bats less than 24 inches long, toy plastic bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs, the agency said. The policy goes into effect on April 25.

Security standards adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, already call for passengers to be able to carry those items. Those standards are non-binding, but many countries follow them.

Box cutters, razor blades and knives that don't fold or that have molded grip handles will still be prohibited, the TSA said.

Douglas Laird, a former security director at Northwest Airlines and now a security consultant, said the change was long overdue. He said security should focus more on profiling passengers and less on what they're carrying.

"After 9/11, TSA did a lot of things pretty fast without thinking it through. They have better things to do than look for a guy who's got a 2-inch knife," he said.

There has been a gradual easing of some of the security measures applied to airline passengers after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

- AP

Check out the images below from the TSA blog, showing exactly what is allowed.

 

Read more on:    travel international
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