Friday, March 15, 2013

Knives allowed on planes again

By: Faythe Maston
   How many times have you ever walked into a secure building and forgotten you had your Swiss Army knife on you? For many of us, carrying a pocket knife is just a natural part of our daily lives that we give absolutely no thought too. This leads to many problems when visiting locations or events with high security where no “weapons”, including knives, are allowed. But recently, airports have decided to allow passengers to carry knives in their carry-on bags.
   The change in airport policy was announced March 5 to both joy and outrage at the decision. The Transportation Security Administration, TSA, announced the new change when Administrator John Pistole told the public during an aviation conference.  Many were shocked by this policy, as it will be the first time since the aftermath of September 11, 2001 that knives will be allowed on board. TSA claims the change is to help cause fewer delays at airports, as one airport recounts seizing roughly 47 knives a day over the last three months of 2012. The policy claims that you can carry on a knife with a blade smaller than 2.36 in. in length and .5 in. in width, along with certain sporting equipment such as lacrosse sticks, ski sticks, and small souvenir baseball bats. In contrast, box-cutter knives, razors, and knives with molded grips, locking blades, or fixed blades will still not be allowed on board.
   However, not everyone is so happy about the recent policy changes. Numerous flight attendants have voiced their concern, outrage, and disgust. Attendants claim that TSA is only trying to make their staffs’ lives easier, but allowing knives on planes will do nothing to make flights safer. Pistole says that these new policy changes are to keep up with other international airports, a decision which a large number of pilots have applauded him for. He also claims that plane security has enhanced since 9/11 including things such as reinforced pilot’s door to enter the cockpit. After the attack, numerous items were banned from flights, but the TSA has gradually taken items off the banned list.
   The new policies are set to take effect on April 25 and will be closely followed with international flight rules. Despite some controversy, it appears that the TSA has truly decided to lighten its iron grip on safety. Along with these changes, in January, TSA decided that it would soon abandon the use of its naked body scanners.  This came after information was revealed stating that the photos could be saved and viewed at later dates. TSA’s contract with Rapiscan Systems will end and the scanners will be out of use by June. With a number of new policy changes, who knows what TSA’s newest flight change will be?

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