Anyone familiar with travel knows that there’s a pretty long list of items not allowed on an airplane. Earlier this month, the TSA made waves when Administrator John Pistole announced upcoming changes to the agency’s ban on knives and other items.
This announcement understandably caused a serious amount of backlash, most notably from the Flight Attendants Union Coalition and other groups that represent airline employees. After a few solid weeks of public criticism, the TSA reversed its decision and announced that the ban would remain in place.
An Unwelcome Announcement on Airline Rules
On March 5th, TSA Administrator John Pistole made an unwelcome announcement at an aviation security conference in Brooklyn, New York.
Pistole announced that, beginning on April 25th, the TSA would allow small knives with retractable blades less than 6 centimeters in length (that’s just under two and a half inches) and narrower than half an inch. They were also going to be allowing golf clubs, hockey sticks, and plastic bats (of the Wiffle Ball variety).
The Flight Attendants Union Coalition criticized the TSA for the announcement, alleging that the decision to repeal the ban would potentially put their union members in serious danger.
The Coalition represents five different flight attendant labor groups, and it released a statement about the announcement, calling it:
“…a poor and shortsighted decision by the TSA. We believe that these proposed changes will further endanger the lives of all flight attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure.”
The TSA Gets the Message
Now, the TSA is reversing its decision. John Pistole has also acknowledged that he didn’t really break the news in the most tactful way.
Earlier this week, they announced that the ban would definitely remain in tact. Currently, there is no official word as to whether or not the ban on knives and other items will remain in place in perpetuity, but it seems unlikely that the TSA’s recent decision will see a second reversal.
The lifting of the ban was been criticized most sharply as a means of simplifying TSA agents’ lives at the cost of airline passengers’ safety. It’s understandable that the TSA wishes to make sure everyone knows that their commitment is to the safety and securityof all air travelers.
Given the response to its earlier announcement, the TSA’s reversal is a wise move. Airline travel needs to be kept as safe as possible, and it’s encouraging to see such an open dialogue taking place between a major regulatory group and the industry it regulates.
Still, what’s most important is that travelers and airline personnel can continue feeling safe when they fly.
What do you think? Do you feel safer with the ban on knives, golf clubs and other items on airplanes? Share your thoughts in the comments.