Leaders with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing more than 16,000 employees, want Transportation Security Administration officials to rethink the decision to allow small knives and other items, such as golf clubs, on flights.
“The APFA and our colleagues at other flight attendant unions have enjoyed a close working relationship with TSA since its inception,” APFA President Laura Glading said in a prepared statement. “That’s why I’m a little puzzled that such a momentous decision would be made without consulting us. In addition to being industry stakeholders, first responders and Sept. 11 victims, flight attendants are a resource. Nobody knows what it takes to keep passengers safe better than we do.”
Leaders announced this week that—for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks—officials with TSA will soon begin allowing small knives and other previously prohibited items on airplanes.
Other flight attendant unions are speaking out against this decision, according to The Washington Post.
But TSA spokesman John Allen said in an email that removing these items off the prohibited list will allow security officers to focus more on finding greater threats, such as explosives.
"TSA is dedicated to keeping individuals and items that can cause catastrophic damage off planes," Allen said when asked what he would say to anyone who is uneasy about the change.
Other items, such as box cutters, razor blades and knives that don’t fold or that have molded grip handles, will still be prohibited, The Washington Post also reported.
In recent years, restrictions have slowly eased. For example, in 2005, TSA leaders began allowing passengers to carry small scissors, knitting needles, tweezers and nail clippers, according to The Washington Post.
The new regulations are also an effort to align more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, Allen also said.
A spokesperson with the Chattanooga airport deferred to TSA leaders for comment on this issue.
Effective April 25, 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 an inch in width
—Novelty-sized and toy bats
—Two golf clubs as part of carry-on baggage