The Spectacle Blog

Flight Attendants Panic Over Pocket Knives

By on 3.8.13 | 9:12AM

[Update: I just ordered this:]

For probably 20 years, I carried a very small Swiss Army knife in my pocket. You just never know when it could come in handy for anything from cutting an apple for your child to using the small scissors to get rid of a hangnail.

As far as I know, many thousands of other people were doing exactly the same thing. And yet I never heard of anyone threatening, much less actually hurting, a flight attendant or other passenger with a small pocket knife.

Earlier this week, the TSA announced that in order to more effectively manage the time of security screeners, it would allow small pocket knives (no fixed or locking blades, no molded handles, and with restrictions on blade length and width) back on planes, along with certain sports items like hockey sticks. Box cutters and certain small knives which are primarily designed for use as weapons or for hunting/skinning will remain prohibited

The flight attendants union and air marshalls are up in arms, with one of the latter saying that the former will be "sitting ducks."

Seriously, especially given the heightened vigilance of ordinary Americans to odd or potentially dangerous behavior on airplanes, does anybody actually believe that passengers having small pocket knives is suddenly a mortal threat when even those arguing against the knives don't seem to have any evidence of their use to threaten or harm others on planes? Again, box cutters and knives which could be used effectively as weapons (though I suppose a well-enough trained person could use almost anything effectively as a weapon) will remain banned.

I applaud the TSA for thinking about the convenience of many thousands of passengers and for focusing screeners on truly dangerous items.

And I look forward to being able to carry a small knife with me on a plane. I see that the Original Swiss Army knife company now has a tiny knife with a built-in flash drive!

The new policy is supposed to go into effect in late April, unless the TSA caves in to the hyper-cautious flight attendants and air marshalls.

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