Monday, April 22, 2013

TSA Caves on Small Pocketknives

TSA Announcement in March. Uh ... never mind

A coalition representing flight attendants unions is hailing a decision by the T.S.A. to postpone its plan to allow passengers to carry small pocketknives with blades smaller than 2.36 inches on planes starting Thursday.

 Acording to a T.S.A. spokesman, “In order to accommodate further input from the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC), which includes representatives from the aviation community, passenger advocates, law enforcement experts, and other stakeholders, TSA will temporarily delay implementation of changes to the Prohibited Items List, originally scheduled to go into effect April 25.  This timing will enable TSA to incorporate the ASAC feedback about the changes to the Prohibited Items List and continue workforce training."
The group, the Flight Attendants Union Coalition said today it would continue efforts to maintain a
permanent ban on knives. The vociferous opposition from unions, which received strong support among some Democrats in Congress, was based on assertions that small knives would constitute dangers to flight crews. The T.S.A., in announcing the decision in March to allow the knives and other items such as hockey sticks, stated at the time that similar items,  such as knitting needles and screwdrivers, have been allowed for years, with no problems.

In caving to union pressure after insisting it would not, the T.S.A. appears to raise questions about its determination to revamp security protocols more toward risk-based intelligence and less on having screeners search for things in carry-ons. At the heart of the T.S.A. rationale about allowing pocketknives (which many travelers use as tools, like small Swiss Army Knives, when on the road) was an assertion by T.S.A. director John Pistole that a small pocketknife poses no danger in the era of reinforced cockpit doors and passenger vigilance about any kind of onboard threatening behavior.

Incidents of unruly or disorderly conduct on board airplanes have fallen sharply in recent years, although many in the media persist in credulously writing about "air rage."

Here's a link to the Web site of the union coalition that argues for continuation of a ban on knives. 


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