LOS ANGELES — For the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, federal airport screeners will allow passengers to carry onto a plane small knives, as well as golf clubs, hockey sticks and pool cues.
The policy change, which will take effect April 25, was immediately criticized by flight attendants, who say the move will create an unnecessary risk and further crowd the already limited space in the overhead bins.
“While we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin,” said Stacy K. Martin, president of Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants union, TWU Local 556.
In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration said the change will help align the list of prohibited items on U.S. flights with those of international carriers and cut the time passengers spend going through security screening.
“This change allows TSA to focus on the threats that can cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft,” the TSA said.
The change will remove from the TSA list of prohibited items small knives — less than 2.36 inches or 6 centimeters long — as well as sporting equipment, including golf clubs, billiard cues, ski poles and hockey and lacrosse sticks.
The TSA pointed out that other security measures are already in place to protect U.S.-based planes, including hardened cockpit doors, armed federal air marshals, armed pilots and crew members with self-defense training.