Flight crews fear looser knife rules
Travellers by air in the US will soon be able to carry small knives with non-fixed blades like the one on the far left. All the others remain illegal. Photo: Reuters
Flight crews, which report confrontations with unruly airline passengers more than 100 times a year, are warning that allowing pocket knives back on planes can make tense situations in the air even more dangerous.
Ian Funderburg, a flight attendant based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said a colleague on a flight confronted a man who would not turn off his phone and who became belligerent, finally lunging at the woman. ''What if you added a knife to that situation?'' he asked.
Travellers can start carrying small knives and sports equipment, such as golf clubs and hockey sticks, aboard passenger planes starting on April 25, the Transportation Security Administration said last week.
TSA administrator John Pistole justified loosening the restrictions, which have been in place since right after the September 11, 2001, terrorist hijackings, as part of a shift to more risk-based security.
''The focus is on what could present catastrophic damage to the aircraft,'' TSA spokesman David Castelveter said.
The move puts US carry-on rules more in line with airline security standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a branch of the UN.
US flight crew members filed 101 complaints with the Federal Aviation Administration last year about unruly passengers. The numbers were higher in previous years, with 140 in 2011, 149 the year before that and 176 in 2009.
But flight attendants say they do not report all incidents.
Mr Funderburg has begun a petition at change.org/TSAknives to keep knives out of aircraft cabins. The Flight Attendants Union Coalition has a petition on the White House website in a bid to overturn the TSA decision.