Opposition builds to new TSA policy allowing knives on planes
Flight attendants: "We are last line of defense in aviation security"
A recent decision by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow small knives on passenger planes is drawing opposition from flight attendants, airlines and politicians as well as the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The TSA announced recently that passengers would be allowed to carry knives with blades up to 2.36 inches on planes. The decision is scheduled to go into effect on April 24.
Outraged flight attendants, citing safety concerns, are planning a series of actions to increase pressure on the TSA to reverse the decision, beginning with an online petition to the White House at www.NoKnivesOnPlanes.com.
“There’s no excuse for reversal on the policy to ban knives from the aircraft cabin,” according to the petition. “Before the morning of September 11, 2001, the threat of using commercial aircraft as a weapon was unknown. At great cost, we know better today. The TSA was created because blades on airplanes were used to cause this deadly attack on U.S. soil.
“Flight Attendants serve as the last line of defense in aviation security - responsible for ensuring the safety, health and security of the passengers in our care. Join us in keeping our aircraft cabin safe. TELL THE TSA TO KEEP KNIVES OUT OF THE CABIN.”
The United Steelworkers (USW) has pledged its support for the Flight Attendants Union Coalition, which represents nearly 90,000 flight attendants.
“The decision to allow knives on planes flies in the face of logic and puts our dedicated flight attendants, as well as countless innocent passengers, needlessly in harm’s way,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard said. “There is simply no good reason to do this, and there are a million reasons not to do it.”
Delta Air Lines' CEO Richard Anderson said in a letter to the TSA that the move would add little value in terms of passenger screening efficiency "in relation to the additional risk for our cabin staff and customers."
Senator Chuck Schumer called the TSA decision “baffling” and accused the agency of putting passengers and crew in danger. Echoing Gerard, he said the policy change would provide few tangible benefits for passengers.
Although box cutters were used by the 9/11 hijackers, one of the planners of the attacktold interrogators that the hijackers each used "a Swiss knife," a brand of pocketknife, in training exercises. The transcript of the 2003 interrogation was part of the 9/11 Commission Report.