DENVER (CBS4) – The Transportation Security Administration announced its most significant rollback yet of post-9/11 security measures on Tuesday, and not everyone is happy.
Under the new rules which go into effect April 25, small knives under 6 centimeters long and less than half an inch wide will once again be allowed in aircraft cabins, along with and sports equipment like hockey sticks, golf clubs and ski poles.
Many flight attendants are not happy about the plan. Lesie Mayo, a spokeswoman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told CBS4 by phone that “it’s almost as if we forgot 911 happened.”
“To relax these standards? It’s not necessary,” she said.
Mayo says flight attendants are opposed to the move for storage reasons in addition to security reasons.
“It’s already cramped in the cabin, and now you’re going to be adding larger items as well as allowing knives on board.”
Mike Boyd, an aviation analyst, told CBS4 the move won’t increase or decrease security on planes. He also said allowing these items will not cut down on wait times as the TSA suggests.
“It’s much ado about nothing. You go to first class and they give you a knife bigger than a pocket knife. And how many people have you seen with a ski pole on an airplane?” Boyd said. “This typifies the management of the TSA, telling you that allowing ski poles on airplanes is going to shorten wait times. It’s laughable, I mean these are the people in charge of our security and they tell us a ski pole is not longer an item a terrorist might use to hijack an airplane? Come on.”
Box cutters, razor blades and knives that don’t fold remain banned from carry-on luggage.
The TSA released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“Through TSA’s layered approach to security, and to align more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, effective April 25, 2013 TSA will allow knives that do not lock, and have blades that are 2.36 inches or 6 centimeters or less in length and are less than 1/2 inch in width, novelty-sized and toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs as part of their carry-on baggage. This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives.”
Juval Aviv, a security expert in New York, told CBSNewYork.com he thinks the policy is a bad idea.
“Why does a passenger need to carry a knife, baseball bat or hockey stick with him on board?” Aviv said.
Aviv called the change ridiculous, contradictory, and predicts havoc when an agent tries to exercise discretion over which knives get on board.
“Maybe it’s 2 millimeters longer than you are allowing. Who is going to sit there and measure everything?” he said. “Who’s going to measure those bats? Are they the weight that they are supposed to be?”
The Flight Attendants Union Coalition blasted the decision after a decade-long ban, saying: “To permit knives back into the aircraft cabin is a poor and shortsighted decision by the TSA. Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place.”
WEB EXTRA: View TSA Carry-On Changes (Power Point)