Want to take a small knife on your next plane trip? It'll be OK soon.
The federal Transportation Security Administration has relaxed some of its security rules. People will now be allowed to bring small knives in cabins of commercial jets.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the policy change, which will take effect April 25, was immediately criticized by flight attendants and passenger rights groups. They say the move will create an unnecessary risk and further crowd overhead bins.
"While we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin," said Stacy K. Martin, president of Southwest Airlines' flight attendants union, TWU Local 556.
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The TSA list of prohibited items will no longer include small knives with non-locking blades less than 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) long and 1/2-inch wide, according to the report.
Sporting equipment such as golf clubs, billiard cues, ski poles, toy bats and hockey and lacrosse sticks will also now be allowed.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents attendants for American Airlines, told the Times that the group worries that allowing sporting equipment in the cabin will lead to more problems for passengers and flight attendants.
"There's less space than ever in overhead bins, and on some particular aircraft safely storing these large items will be impossible," said Kelly Skyles, of the flight attendants group. "Add to that the cramped confines of an airplane cabin, and you have the potential for passengers getting hit with these items during boarding and deplaning. It's a recipe for disaster."