TSA to Allow Small Knives, Bats & Clubs on Planes
WASHINGTON (AP)-- Airline passengers will be allowed to carry small knives, souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment on planes beginning next month.
That announcement Tuesday by John Pistole, head of the federal Transportation Security Administration, drew an immediate outcry from unions representing flight attendants and other airline workers.
The unions said the items can be a danger to airline workers and passengers. They said TSA's decision to drop its prohibition on passengers carrying the items onboard was made for the convenience of the agency's screeners, not the safety of the traveling public.
Click here to see what's allowed and what's still banned by the TSA.
TSA spokesman David Castelveter said armed pilots, federal air marshals and airline crew members trained in self-defense provide additional layers of security to protect against misuse of the items.
UPDATE: TSA screeners will have fewer banned items to search for, but some travelers aren't sure about lifting the ban on pocket knives.
"I’m a little bit surprised that they are starting to let knives show up in people’s luggage that they can carry on, “said Tom Adriansen of Green Bay.
"I don't know what anybody needs a small knife on the airplane for, but i don't think it's that threatening either,” said Kathy Arendt of Luxemburg.
So while some travelers worry the changes could create confusion and longer wait times, others say it's a step in the right direction.
"Since we have more sophisticated detection equipment we'll all be able to take a little step back and make travel more comfortable,” said Cheryl Myers of Green Bay.
Knives with fixed blades are still banned. Knives with folding blades about two inches long are permitted.
Sports equipment like hockey sticks, ski poles and up to 2 golf clubs will be allowed.
Screeners will be focusing on what the TSA calls the highest risks.
"That being non-metallic improvised explosive devices and we don't want these small knives pocket knives or the sporting equipment to be a distraction,” said TSA administrator John Pistole.
Unions representing thousands of flight attendants across the country are against the change, saying it puts flight attendants in danger.
"We believe this is a slippery slope, what will be the next weapon that can come on board?” said Veda Shook with the Association of Flight Attendants.
But for a majority of travelers, change is good.