TSA Delays Easing of Knife Restrictions


The TSA has delayed the decision to allow knives of 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) in the cabin of commercial aircraft.

The ruling to ease restrictions on small knives, golf clubs and hockey sticks was announced in March and the change was set to begin April 25. But there has been intense lobbying by airline industry and flight attendant associations to continue the restrictions.

Perhaps the most convincing argument was made in an op-ed piece by Sara Nelson, the international vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants, published March 17 in The New York Times.

Her powerful and convincing 700 words was the most-emailed story at the Times for several days. Airline executives, air marshals and unions representing security screeners also oppose lifting the ban.

News of the reversal of policy surfaced in an email TSA administrator John Pistole sent to employees and leaked to news sources. Pistole refers to it as “a temporary delay.”

Groups opposed to knives on planes, including the 90,000-strong Flight Attendants Union Coalition also cite the sad events in Boston and state “now is not the time to weaken security and let down our guard.”

Much of the initial logic for lifting the ban on small knives was to comply with regulations in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

On March 14, Pistole defended his earlier decision to a House Transportation Security subcommittee in Washington.


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Comments (Showing 4 of 4)

  • Schmurrr at 6:25pm April 24, 2013

    “Her powerful and convincing 700 words…”

    So you are in favor of the knife ban.

  • lobo411 at 6:16pm April 25, 2013

    And our irrational security hysteria rolls on…

  • mountainpost at 11:26pm April 25, 2013

    I’m not in favor of the knife ban. Never was. In fact, just had my little Swiss army knife taken by YYC security. It was in my usual carry-on bag all through the ban but never noticed by security anywhere. I wasn’t trying to deceive, I just chose to forget it was there (until I needed it). Guess I feel if flight attendants feel so strongly about no knives, let them win this battle. They’ve done a lot of heroics when things go bad up there. And will continue to do so. Those “700 words” even played the motherhood card. There are bigger battles in aviation we need to fight. They can have my dang knife.

  • jafrelin at 12:54am April 29, 2013

    The little swiss army knife ban was alway silly. The chances of doing serious damage with these little knives are the same order as all of the oxegen molecules in the plane congrating in the aft lav. The only sensible thing done in all the security theater we have lived with is armoring the cokpit door. If someone wants to injure a FA then can do it with a first class fork.

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