© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

TSA Says It Won't Relax Carry-On Ban Of Knives, Other Items

A graphic released by the TSA earlier this year announced coming changes to the agency's Prohibited Items List, which it said would allow small knives. The TSA now says those items will remain banned from carry-on bags.

Small knives, golf clubs, and other items that had been poised to be allowed in air passengers' carry-on luggage will instead remain prohibited, the Transportation Security Administration confirmed Wednesday. The reversal follows a review process in which the agency heard from passenger advocates, law enforcement, and others.

"After extensive engagement with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, law enforcement officials, passenger advocates, and other important stakeholders, TSA will continue to enforce the current prohibited items list," the agency said in a statement.

Update at 4:05 p.m. ET. Flight Attendants, Law Enforcement Welcome News:

"I respect Administrator Pistole's willingness to embrace federal law enforcement stakeholder input," says Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, "and ultimately reverse his decision on the knife carry‐on policy."

The FLEOA had previously voiced its opposition to the change, as had the International Flight Attendants Association, which created a website, NoKnivesOnPlanes.com, to organize opposition to the proposal.

Reacting to Wednesday's news, the IFAA said in a statement that it was "the unity of Flight Attendants throughout the industry on this issue that built momentum and carried us to this outcome." Our original post continues:

Representatives of the airlines and their employees also took part in the review process, in which Bloomberg News reports some people "cited the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers' use of box cutters as weapons."

Box cutters and razor blades, we should note, were not on the list of items to be allowed in carry-on bags. The change was meant to allow pocket knives — 2,000 of which the TSA confiscates every day, according to reports — to be carried onto flights.

The proposed changes to the Prohibited Items List were announced in March, when agency head John Pistole told members of Congress that "security experts worldwide have concluded that small pocket knives and certain sporting equipment do not pose a security risk that would result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft and the loss of all life on board."

Those changes were temporarily delayed in April; they have now been put off indefinitely.

In backtracking on the list of prohibited items, the TSA says it will now focus on "Risk-Based Security," an approach that it says "enhances the travel experience while allowing TSA to continue to keep passengers safe by focusing on those we know less about."

The agency has taken the step of removing pages from its website that had announced the proposed changes to its list of banned items.

But the pages are still available in cached form. One promised the ability to bring certain types of bats, pool cues, and other items onto flights. Another TSA page said its airport security checkpoints would soon allow knives with a blade "no more than 2.36 inches or 6 cm in length – from tip to where it meets the handle or hilt," among other requirements.

Those changes are also summarized in a PDF document that, for now at least, remains available on the TSA site.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.