ATLANTA – Travelers can soon take “small knives” in their carry-on luggage, under a rule change announced this month by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
But, the proposal has seen blowback from flight attendants and the CEO of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.
“Flight Attendants are outraged,” the Flight Attendants Union Coalition, which represents nearly 90,000 Flight Attendants at carriers nationwide, said in a statement. “We are the last line of defense in aviation security and time does not change the fact that we were among the first to die in a war we didn’t know we were fighting on September 11, 2001. At great cost, we know better today. There is no excuse for this.”
Added the coalition, which started a petition to reverse the policy change on The White House’s website: “Our nation’s aviation system is the safest in the world thanks to multi-layered security measures that include prohibition on many items that could pose a threat to the integrity of the aircraft cabin. The continued ban on dangerous objects is an integral layer in aviation security and must remain in place.”
Delta CEO Richard Anderson offered a similar sentiment, writing in a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole knives “will add little value to the customer security process flow in relation to the additional risk for our cabin staff and customers,” The Associated Press reported.
“If the purpose is to increase security checkpoint flow, there are much more effective steps we can take together to streamline the security checkpoints with risk-based screening mechanisms,” he added, according to The Associated Press.
The proposal has also found critics in Congress. U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security said he and two other Congressmen are planning to send a letter to Pistole objecting to the new policy.
“Americans continue to be mystified by TSA and this latest decision is another example of a questionable TSA policy,” Swalwell said in a statement. “Before allowing dangerous potential weapons on planes, TSA should have at least meaningfully consulted with flight attendants, pilots and other stakeholders to ensure public safety.”