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TSA Waffles On Knives – Passengers Get Stuck

06/26/2013

Seems the brains at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) walked back their action allowing the carrying of small pocket knives on commercial aircraft in the U.S.

Source: TSA

Source: TSA

Back on April 25, certain retractable knives, novelty bats and sporting sticks (like hockey sticks) were allowed as carry-on items for the first time since 9/11. Fliers, including myself, reacted by saying that the new rule was “common sense.”

The TSA issued the following statement explaining why the change was occurring:  Through TSA’s layered approach to security, and to align more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, effective April 25, 2013 TSA will allow knives that do not lock, and have blades that are 2.36 inches or 6 centimeters or less in length and are less than 1/2 inch in width, novelty-sized and toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs as part of their carry-on baggage. This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives. The whole crux of the policy change was in the last sentence…so they can “focus on higher threat items such as explosives”. A effin’ men!

Media attention on the policy change was significant.

On May 21st I traveled hassle free from DIA to MSP carrying my always present Swiss Army Knife ‘Classic’ model.

Yesterday was a different story. Making the trip between the same two airports I surrendered two of my Classics, aka Weapons of Mass Destruction, to the TSA. I was told by the officer as he took my knives the multi week-old policy “didn’t get off the ground”.

Wait a sec! Upon a little digging I learned where the flip-flopping originated. You know who shot it down? Unions!

In early May, nine groups filed a legal challenge with TSA and the Department of Homeland Security to prevent any return of knives into plane cabins. The groups warned they could potentially challenge the policy in court.

The groups that filed the documents were: the American Federation of Government Employees representing TSA security officers; the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, including air marshals; the consumer group FliersRights.org; the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at 20 airlines; the Association of Professional Flight Attendants at American Airlines; the Allied Pilots Association of American pilots; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Teamsters; and the Transport Workers Union.

This time there was little coverage by the media…so I didn’t know.

Perfect. My already high impression of unions inflicts more suffering on those outside its membership.

Today I lost 2 knives. In the grand scheme of things, a relatively small loss. But I also lost a freedom. A freedom that was taken away once, granted again, then taken away again.

Is this anyway to run a country?

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