TSA to Allow Small Knives, Bats, Clubs on Planes - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

New TSA Rules on Knives Draw Fire From 9/11 Families

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Airline passengers will be allowed to carry small knives, souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment on planes beginning next month.

That announcement Tuesday by John Pistole, head of the federal Transportation Security Administration, drew an immediate outcry from unions representing flight attendants and other airline workers.

The unions said the items can be a danger to airline workers and passengers. They said TSA's decision to drop its prohibition on passengers carrying the items onboard was made for the convenience of the agency's screeners, not the safety of the traveling public.

TSA spokesman David Castelveter said armed pilots, federal air marshals and airline crew members trained in self-defense provide additional layers of security to protect against misuse of the items. 

 The TSA argues the change brings U.S. regulations in line with international safety rules. And it will allow security officers to spend more time, looking for "higher threat items" like explosives.

Former NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker says security officers have to stay focused on the real dangers.

"We've seen underwear that can blow up. We've seen people with shoes they've attempted to blow up. We've seen people with chemicals that could potentially blow up. And they really need to be looking at the kinds of threats that are significantly more lethal than a two-and-a-half-inch blade."


The union representing flight attendants at Southwest Airlines says the new policy is "dangerous" and "shortsighted." 

"They're allowing these items to come through and they're putting the responsibility of the cabin completely on us even though they know coming through security are these items," says Stacy Martin.

But one traveler at Los Angeles International Airport calls it "common sense," saying just about anything can be sharpened into a knife, even a credit card.

Meanwhile, some family members of Sept. 11 terror victims are angry over new flight-safety rules that go into effect next month.

Debra Burlingame says small pocketknives can be just as lethal as the box cutters that are still banned.

Burlingame's brother was the pilot of the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The hijackers wielded box cutters.

Sally Regenhard says she's "flabbergasted" by the new rules. She lost her firefighter son at the World Trade Center. (AP)

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