The Transportation Security Administration will allow passengers to carry small pocketknives onboard commercial planes for the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the agency announced Tuesday.
Starting April 25, knives with blades that are 2.36 inches or less long and less than half an inch wide will be permitted. Billiard cues, ski poles, and hockey and lacrosse sticks will be allowed as well. Razors, box cutters and knives with a fixed blade will remain prohibited.
TSA spokesman David Castelveter said the decision was made to bring US regulations more in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards and would also help provide a better experience for travellers.
“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,” he said.
The Flight Attendants Union Coalition, which represents nearly 90,000 flight attendants from carriers across the country, called the decision a “poor and shortsighted decision” by the TSA.
“As the last line of defence in the cabin and key aviation partners, we believe that these proposed changes will further endanger the lives of all flight attendants and the passengers we work so hard to keep safe and secure,” the coalition said in a statement.