Photo by: Nick Conley
The TSA recently lifted the post 9/11 bans of small pocketknives and sports equipment on U.S. planes.
The head of the Transportation Security Administration said last week that knives with blades approximately 2.36 inches (six centimeters) or shorter and less than a half inch wide will be allowed on flights as long as the blade is not fixed or does not lock into place.
The changes, which also include sports equipment such as two golf clubs, ski poles, hockey sticks and pool cues, will go into effect starting on April 25and bring the United States into alignment with international regulations.
After the attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001, the TSA banned a plethora of items from planes due to a paranoia about terrorists; since then, those bans have slowly but surely lifted, and they have reintroduced some banned items such as cigarette lighters and matches. However, due to a liquid bomb scare in 2006, the TSA was forced to expand the list of banned items to include large containers of liquids and gels.
Reasons for the lift on the once-banned items include reinforced cockpit doors, better intelligence and passengers more motivated to act out against potential terrorists.
However, according to CNN.com, there have been 90,000 flight attendants that feel the TSA has made a poor and short-sighted decision. Additionally, a statement released by the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions states that “continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place.”
Along with the flight attendants, Delta Air Lines, the world’s second-largest air carrier, has joined in the opposition to the new regulations set by TSA. According to a Fox News article, Richard Anderson, the chief executive officer for Delta, said the changes will do little to improve checkpoint delays and other customer-service issues, as well as posing an additional risk to cabin staff and the passengers of the aircraft.
“There are much more effective steps we can take together to streamline the security checkpoints with risk-based screening mechanisms,” Anderson said in a letter to the TSA chief John Pistole, as quoted in the article by Fox News.
A large percentage of students at Oklahoma Christian routinely travel by plane to go home for the holidays, spring break and summer. Sophomore Carlie Croxton said that the people themselves are to blame.
“I think it’s sad bringing that stuff is an issue,” Croxton said. “It shouldn’t be, but people have proven otherwise. You never know who is bringing what and what the motive or use is for. People complain about security and that airports invade privacy, but when something goes wrong we want to know why there wasn’t better protection or who is to blame.”
Senior Sarah DeBoard is opposed to the new TSA regulations.
“In the right person’s hands, any of those can be deadly weapons,” DeBoard said. “I’m completely against it. America has not learned their lesson from 9/11. Yes, they’ve got a lot stricter than they were, but this is looking like they’re ‘loosening up’ again. Something bad will happen again soon with these items being allowed on a plane.”
Junior Katie Pfeil also agreed with DeBoard and said there shouldn’t be a lift on the items previously banned.
“I don’t feel comfortable with those certain items as carry-ons,” Pfeil said. “They need to be in checked bags, and if anything, they need to be stored properly away underneath the plane, that way individuals can’t get up during the flight and have access to those items.”
Freshman Kyle Berges didn’t feel that the items unbanned by TSA were considered very dangerous.
“I agree with TSA; pocket knives aren’t really defined as deadly weapons,” Berges said. “Not only that, those items like pocket knives are useful to open the peanuts you get on the planes.”
The changes are effective starting on April 25, 2013. To find out more about the items that are acceptable and which ones are still prohibited, visit www.tsa.gov.