American airline passengers may now carry previously prohibited items such as knives onto planes, thanks to a new policy announced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in March. The new rules allow passengers to bring knives with nonlocking blades up to six centimeters long and less than half an inch wide into airplane cabins. Sports equipment such as ski poles and golf clubs is newly permitted as well.
Other familiar TSA restrictions remain in place. U.S. air passengers still must discard water bottles, remove their shoes, and take laptops out of their bags during screening.
The new policy did not please Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who pointed out that the items now allowed remain just as dangerous as they were when they were banned. "While it's true that pilots are safe, locked behind cockpit doors, these dangerous items still pose a significant hazard to the flight crew, other passengers, and even the integrity of the plane," said Schumer at a press conference.
At least one airline CEO and the TSA screeners union, along with as some pilots, flight attendants, and air marshals, also have criticized the new policy.
Although some legislators and airline employees may be unhappy, the revised policy brings TSA regulations in line with safety standards in Europe, which has yet to experience an incident involving a terrorist wielding a Swiss Army knife.