SARASOTA - Almost twelve years after they were banned following 9/11, small pocket knives will soon be allowed back on flights.
The announcement by the Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday is already being criticized by some travelers and flight attendant unions, who say the move makes air travel less safe.
Starting April 25th, security officials will begin allowing passengers to carry small knives onboard airplanes. There are a lot of caveats to the rule, with locking blades being just one of them. The rules will now allow knives less than 2.36 inches in length on board. And the blade has to be less than a half-inch in width -- but it cannot have a molded grip or a locking blade. (See attached images)
Some travellers say the thought of having knives on planes is about as appealing as an in-flight meal.
"I’m not feeling too great about any knives going on airplanes; don't think it's necessary."
"I don’t like that idea at all. I don’t think anyone should be carrying a knife on a plane."
Others say they're not too concerned. "I think that they're small enough that if someone actually tried to use the knife they could probably be overpowered by other people."
Some wonder if all the strings attached to this decision will slow things down at security. “They're going to be looking for knives that are over 2.36 inches and going to have to pull, stop people, this one's three inches, this can't go, it's just going to be a real issue I think."
"The lines are long enough as it is, and it’s hard enough to get through security as it is. And especially now with the sequester, and they're eliminating TSA people…I think that it’s just going to be horrendous."
Also allowed now, is some sporting equipment. Bats less than 24 inches can go, as can up to two golf clubs, hockey sticks and pool cues.
Razor blades and box cutter will remain prohibited in carry-on luggage.
Every month the TSA confiscates four tons of knives. They're hoping these regulations streamline the security process allowing inspectors to search for things like hidden explosives.