Knives, golf clubs and some other currently prohibited items will soon be allowed to be carried on to airplanes, the Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday.
Box cutters, larger blades and knives with molded handles will still be banned from carry-on luggage.
According to the federal agency, the move will help agents better focus on finding higher threat items like explosives.
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.”
Speaking with CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey, security expert Juval Aviv also said the policy is a bad idea.
“Why does a passenger need to carry with him on board a knife?” Aviv said. “A baseball bat, or hockey stick?” (54)
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 two 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 TSA has recently amended its shoes-off policy to allow older travelers to keep their footwear on when going through security.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, many passengers at LaGuardia Airport said Tuesday that they really like the changes. But for Ray, it is a mixed bag.
“I’m a hockey player, so I’d like to bring my hockey stick along, so it’s easier there,” he said. “But I’m not so sure about the knives. Keep the knives out and I’m OK.”
Some said it’s about time the TSA exercised common sense.
“My son had a tiny little toy screwdriver taken away from him, and I think it’s much more sensible to worry about the big things which are easily hidden and really need to be discovered,” said Carol Evans of Chappaqua.
But Michael was boarding a flight with his family, and he didn’t like the changes at all – especially when it comes to the knives.
“Liquids are restricted, still, to 3.4 ounces. You still can’t bring other materials on, so no, I don’t see why they would need to be brought onto the plane,” he said.
Michael was not alone in his doubts about the idea.
“It’s a dangerous proposition given everything in the past. Not if it’s going to change the safety of a flight,” LaGuardia passenger Brian Crumley told CBS 2′s John Slattery.
“I’d prefer not to have knives on an airplane, of any size,” Jeff Miller added.
Indeed, it was the decision to allow knives, even small ones, that had the most heads turning.
“It does not make me feel safer,” he said. “I still think that could intimidate someone.”
“If experts think those knives are alright, I guess that’s all right with me,” said Bruce Lockerbie of Stonybrook.
Despite the change in policy that seems to cater to some, 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.”
“You can take a simple credit card, hone it down like a straight razor,” passenger Craig Hahn said.