Why the TSA Finally Decided to Allow Pocket Knives on Planes

You may have read that as of April 25, the TSA will allow passengers to carry small pocket knives in their carry-on luggage.

This is a big change for airport security which has banned most items that could be remotely construed as potential weapons for more than a decade. What changed?

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Explosives are a Bigger Threat

According to the TSA’s official statement, it will allow security officers to “better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives.”

FareCompare sought further clarification from TSA spokesman Nico Melendez who told us that these little pocket knives with blades no longer than 6 centimeters (2.36 inches) areunlikely to result in catastrophic destruction of an aircraft.”

Is security that much better since 9/11?

Deterrents: Locked Cockpits, Marshals, Passengers

But should anyone attempt to brandish one on a plane, added Melendez, “Federal Flight Deck Officers, crewmembers with self-defense training and Federal Air Marshals will help to ensure the safety of all crewmembers and passengers.” Not to mention our fellow passengers who have again and again stepped forward to take on bad guys – including the notorious Christmas Day bombing attempt of 2009.

Other Items Now Allowed in Carry-ons

Although the lifting of the ban on pocket knives is getting most of the media attention, the TSA also now allows the following other items “in carry-on baggage”:

  • Novelty-sized and toy bats
  • Billiard cues
  • Ski poles
  • Hockey sticks
  • Lacrosse sticks
  • Two golf clubs

Now whether any airline in existence will allow a passenger to board with a carry-on filled with ski poles and hockey sticks is another question entirely. [Editor’s note: Don’t try it.]


Published: March 6, 2013