Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Knives on planes? Yes, you can

In a surprising announcement, the TSA has said that it's reversing its policy on not allowing knives onto planes. You won't be allowed to carry a machete or a paper cutter, of course, but pen knives will now be fine, as they have blades less than 2.7 inches long, the new maximum that will be allowed on board (they also have to be less than half an inch in width).

The TSA will also allow the following items carried on:
  • Novelty-sized or toy baseball bats
  • Billiard cues
  • Ski poles
  • Hockey sticks
  • Lacrosse sticks
  • Up to 2 golf clubs
The reason for the change? "This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, "says the TSA website "which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives.”

Golfers and other sports enthusiasts will obviously be pleased but flight attendants apparently are not. According to the Associated Press, the Transport Workers Union, which reps attendants at Southwest, has issued a statement calling the new policy "dangerous".

The new regulations were the work of an internal TSA group that's been culling data to determine risk strategies. Frankly, I'm happy to hear that they're taking a research-based approach. This seems like a smart way to take some of the pressure of agents, who must scan thousands of items each day, so that they can concentrate on the really dangerous ones. Like bottles of water. (Kidding, kidding!)

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